Carlos Grajales
Carlos Grajales
Statistician and Business Analytics Consultant

As Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month continues, Carlos Grajales shares his journey into the world of statistics.  Carlos is a Mexican Statistician and Business Analytics Consultant. He runs his own consulting and polling company, where he has followed Mexican elections since 2010. He is also currently an Analytics consultant for PepsiCo Latin America and member of the Significance Magazine Editorial Board.


statistics.jpgTen years after graduating with a degree in Statistics, it’s fun to remember how it all started: how I made it into the Stats world. At the outset I had almost no idea about what statistics was, yet I enjoyed math and was looking for some fun way to use numbers inmy career. With that premise in mind, I began researching the different careers available to me. Engineering seemed appealing but I wanted something more diverse and broad. Economics also looked cool, but not “mathy” enough. In the midst of this research, I heard of one of the only two Statistics degrees offered in Mexico and after some digging intothe University, I realized that statistics was just what I dreamed of: a chance to apply deep numeric analysis to almost any field you could think of. Statistics are everywhere, which is what I love most about what I do. It is inspiring to learn about new research, methods and models where statistics are used in exciting and somewhat surprising new ways. After just a few months in college I realized I could use my knowledge in Statistics to work on Industry related topics, psychological research or political science. I could work in the agroindustry or fora pharmaceutical company. Moreover, back when I was in college, using models to improve AI programs or image recognition software was something that seemedout of reach, yet currently these are areas of development where a statistician can employ his/her skills today. Almost any question a firm, a political party or a researcher has can be solved with stats and only a statistician can answer them.


You never get bored as a statistician. If modeling starts to become burdensome for you, you can simply change fields.. For instance, I love politics, which is why most of my work is related to polling, political studies and social science research. But in non-election seasons, I get to collaborate with private companies to develop financial models, marketing research studies and Visualizations. This allows me a change of pace for a while and ensures I’m not stuck doing the same thing over and over. Few careers offer that much flexibility.


Another thing I love about my job, which is something not many statisticians talk about, is that in this career, you get to give your personal touch to everything you do. Consider that statistics is a career with no absolutes. By this I mean that there are not necessarily “right” or “wrong” solutions. It is fairly common to have two different approaches to the same problem, two different models and two different outputs. Many more, actually! Once you become experienced, the software you use, the decisions you make and the methodologies you employ will allow you to produce some very original analyses: something truly yours. The joy of feeling you created something unique when your job is complete can’t be overstated.. We get that feeling often.


All this is why I have some important advice for anyone considering a career path in Statistics: Do It. I can’t stress enough how fun and diverse it is to work in this field. But beware, it’snot easy. You really need a solid math background to be a good statistician and these days it is becoming more and more important to have good programming skills. Be humble and always be ready to learn from someone else. It is great to collaborate with other statisticians who bring their own vision and ideas. Being a statistician is truly a collaborative endeavor and you will learn about  many different topics and fields. A few years back I was lucky enough to learn about the process of producing coffee, the effects of family on addiction prevention and what factors drive voters toward a political option. And these are the just the topics I worked on while in college!


I could talk about the many job opportunities statisticians have (Polling is an area where we are in high demand-a great opportunity for anyone interested) or how it is considered among the fastest-growing and most profitable careers. But your career choice should be based on what you love, on what you dream about  and what you aspire to. What you must really know is that, by joining our profession, you’ll be entering one of the most rewarding and exciting fields there is. I’ll be more than happy to welcome you.


Carlos is a Mexican Statistician and Business Analytics Consultant. He runs his own consulting and polling company, where he has followed Mexican elections since 2010. He is also currently an Analytics consultant for PepsiCo Latin America and member of the Significance Magazine Editorial Board.


How do you maintain your well-being as a postgraduate student? Let us know in the comments below.


Image Source: Pexels.com/NegativeSpace


     Chloe Wenborn
Chloe Wenborn
Wiley, Library Services

Continuing from our previous blog post ‘What Will Libraries of the Future Look Like?’ we look in more depth at the changes you may see in your academic library.laptop and coffee.jpg


Technology continues to evolve, and as it does it is becoming more and more integrated with society.. Smart appliances and voice controlled assistants are just two examples of how technology is evolving to make people’s lives easier. As technology changes the way we manage our lives, will it also affect the way libraries are managed?


Spurring innovation in the library


One of the major changes we expect to see in academic libraries is the use of new innovating technologies. The NMC Horizon Report Summary 2017 Library Edition suggests that in the very near future we will be seeing “libraries adapting to accommodate new applications of technology for learning, research, and information”. This is certainly not something new for academic libraries - they have had to be adaptive and flexible with new innovations in learning and research for some time now – but the report specifically references new applications of technology.


Adopting these new applications will allow institutions to “unite across international borders and work towards common goals”. This means we could be seeing further collaboration across the globe, enabling libraries in providing improved access to scholarly material and resources. These innovations could also “help libraries to more effectively preserve and mine their collections online”, therebyimproving and redefining access for researchers.


This growing focus on the accessibility of digital resources will undoubtedly impact the role of library professionals. Librarians will be challenged to “learn new skills to be able to implement the new technologies for learning, research and information for their patrons”. This could lead to an increased focus on learning and development within libraries, a shift in what is taught in Library & Information Science courses or perhaps simply an expectation of librarians to extend their professional development.


Innovations will also lead to advancements in digital data management that will result in more accurate subject search results and citations while enabling libraries to more effectively curate and display relevant resources.


These new innovations will significantly improve the way patrons discovercontent, making it more accessible and relevant for them.


Re-thinking library spaces


The Horizon Report also identifies a shift in how students now use their libraries.


It explains that “students are relying less on libraries as the sole source for accessing information and more for finding a place to be productive”. Students now expect to be able to learn and work everywhere, with continuousaccess to learning materials and oneanother for collaborative learning. Their changing expectations, likelydue to the always accessible Internet,, places more demand on the library. Students seek out immediate and constant access to materials and libraries are having to explore new ways of accommodating this.


This demand for collaborative learning will also challenge institutional leaders to reflect on how the design of library spaces can better facilitate the face-to-face interactions that take place there. As a result, we are beginning to see the architecture of libraries change significantly. As we move forward, we may begin to see libraries implement new and innovative technology that allows room for active learning spaces, media productions, virtual meeting spaces and other areas conducive to collaborative and hands-on work. For some institutions this may mean a complete overhaul of the library space, while others may explore less costly solutions that work with their existing space.


What is clear, with technology innovations and the evolution of library spaces, is that if we see these changes in academic libraries they will change the way libraries are used forever. Libraries are adapting to fit with a world that is increasingly digital and although we can explore trends, as with the Horizon report, there is no guarantee as tohow this will evolve. In 10, 20 or even 30 years from now we could see libraries with completely paperless reading areas, touchscreen information portals and robotic assistants as guides. The real innovations remain to be seen.  


What changes have you seen in the library already? Let us know in the comments below.


Image Source: Pexels.com/George Becker


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