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Professional Development: What Does the ASA Offer?

1 September 2017 74 views No Comment
Rick Peterson, ASA Professional Development and Chapters & Sections Manager

    You have an idea for a website. You spend hours upon hours on design, navigation, and content. Finally, after all your work, you think the website is ready for public consumption and it goes live. What happens shortly thereafter? The website starts becoming obsolete. Unless the content of the website is consistently updated, people will no longer return because they see no reason to.

    The same is true of your career in statistics. Unless you are keeping up to date with new knowledge, skills, and personal qualities to be successful in the practice of statistics through professional development (PD), you will become obsolete, too. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.

    The ASA offers many PD programs to help advance your career. The most prominent of these are the conferences the ASA sponsors. The Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) is one of the largest statistical events in the world, featuring 3,000 individual presentations on just about any topic one can think of. In addition to the technical sessions, there are around 30 continuing education short courses and a dozen computer technology workshops. Short courses are also offered at the Conference on Statistical Practice (CSP), the ASA Biopharmaceutical Section Regulatory-Industry Statistics Workshop, the Women in Statistics and Data Science Conference, and the International Conference on Establishment Surveys.

    If you prefer that PD comes to you, ASA chapters organize conferences and workshops all over North America, including the Council of Chapters’ traveling courses. Don’t want to leave the house or office? The ASA hosts 20–30 web-based seminars each year on a variety of topics.

    An often overlooked component of professional development are personal skills related to being a professional statistician. Effective communication, collaboration, leadership, and influence can be as vital as technical skills to one’s career. Since 2014, the ASA has offered personal skills development courses and workshops at the Joint Statistical Meetings and Conference on Statistical Practice. Emphasis is placed on interacting and communicating with nonstatisticians such as clients and decisionmakers in an organization. As ASA President Barry Nussbaum likes to say, “It’s not what we said, it’s not what they heard, it’s what they say they heard.”

    For a more personalized approach, don’t forget about the ASA’s mentoring programs. There are mentoring programs at conferences such as JSM and CSP and through ASA sections and chapters.

    Professional development details can be found under the “Your Career” tab of the ASA website.

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