So, you are interested in statistics as a profession.
The first thing you should do is join the American Statistical Association (ASA). If you don't join, you should at least explore what this organization can do for you. In fact, if you go to the ASA Career Center you can find out what statisticians do, how to get a job as a statistician, what kinds of companies hire statisticians, and many other useful facts. One of the ASA's associated magazines is Chance, which presents a variety of interesting statistical results in easy to understand language so that we can see how statistics is used all around us all of the time.
I would be happy to discuss with you some of the statistical consulting projects that I have been involved with, working for such organizations as the New York State Attorney General, the City of New York, The Port Authority of Philadelphia, Public Television, car dealerships, European manufacturing companies, NASA Ames Research Center,... the list goes on and on and on...
Of course, we all know that William Gossett was the inventor/discoverer of the t-statistic, and that his full time job was in quality control at the Guinness Brewing Company. So we see that not only is statistics important to our everyday life, it is also very important down at the local pub.
Here is a sampling of some local and/or more interesting companies that hire statisticians. Exponent is a consulting firm in Menlo Park that is involved in many very exciting projects; if I didn't have a job I would love to work for them! Fair Isaac is a local company does a variety of statistical consulting, but they are probably most famous as the creator of the FICO (Fair Isaac Company) score, which most banks and lending institutions use in order to determine if clients are credit worthy. Household and Providian are other local companies that do a variety of statistical research, mostly in finance. Venturi Technology Partners is a local company that does statistical consulting in a variety of areas. Volt is a company that has a multiplicity of businesses all over the country, many of which involve statistics. The NASA Ames Research Center works on many interesting projects, e.g., atmospheric research, computer software and hardware engineering, rocket technology, etc., all of which involve statistics (they also have internships). Lockheed Martin has many opportunities for statisticians. Management consulting companies such as Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, and many similar companies are always hiring statisticians. Rand is the original think tank. The United Nations hires statisticians! Many other government agencies hire statisticians, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Bureau of Labor Statistics The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does a lot of VERY interesting work. The National Center for Statistics & Analysis (NCSA) does statistical analysis on traffic safety data. Many Pharmaceutical, health and other biological related companies with local offices hire statisticians, including various branches of the National Institutes of Health, Amgen, Merck, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, the Mayo Clinic (OK, so this one doesn't have a California office). Of course, this is just a sampling of businesses I have noticed over the years. Check some of the job opportunities listed below to find more opportunities or businesses that may be more suited to your interest.
Actuarial Science is another field in which many statisticians find employment. Most actuaries work for insurance companies setting rates. Eventually, many people who start out as actuaries become executives in insurance or related finance companies. To become an actuary, you have to pass a series of exams. The good news is that we have classes right here at SJSU that can help you pass the first set of exams before you graduate. The even better news is that after passing one or two exams you can get an entry level position which usually pays about $45,000 plus a signing bonus, and can then continue to take these exams while a full time employee, getting raises and promotions for each exam passed. The current average salary for Fellows in the Society of Actuaries (actuaries who have passed all of the exams, which usually takes about 10 years) is about $200,000. To learn more about the field, check out the "Be an Actuary" website, the Society of Actuaries, and the Casualty Actuarial Society.
Here are some sites that describe available statistical internships.
If you are ready to look for a job, here are some links (in no particular order) to sites that may be able to help you. You should note that a variety of positions are described, including many at all levels of educational requirements, including B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. level positions.
America's Job Bank, Dice.com, and Monster.com are some general job search web sites. Searching on things like "statistics", "data analysis", "data mining" and similar phrases will bring up many jobs. Search the Bloomberg web site for positions as a statistician in business and finance industries.
Some other useful sites include:
If anyone has suggestions for improvements to this page, please let me know.