Posted by Willy Franzen on February 10, 2008. Jobs updated daily.
Statistics in college is painful. It’s dry. It’s long. It pretty much sucks. Because of our high sample size, we can say that, with a high p-value, about most college stats courses. It’s really a shame, because statistical literacy is one of the most useful things you can pick up in your undergraduate years. It’ll change the way you think about politics and sports. It’ll change the way you read a newspaper. It will even make you question whether the prescription that your campus health clinic gave you is worth filling. By the way, when will they learn their statistics and stop asking guys whether they might be pregnant? If someone could figure out a way to bring statistics to life – to present even the driest data in an entertaining way – they’d be a millionaire. Or they’d start a non-profit organization called Gapminder.
Before we go any further and get your hopes up, Gapminder doesn’t have job listings of any sort; however, we’re so in awe of what they do that we’re going to talk about them anyway. Whatever! We do what we want. At this point you’re thinking that either we are huge nerds, or Gapminder must be the second coming of Facebook. Both are probably true. So what are we so excited about? This presentation by Hans Rosling at TED (Technology, Entertainment Design) – you have to watch this! This guy not only combines humor with the amazing features of Gapminder created software Trendalyzer to put together a truly entertaining presentation, but he also breaks down misconceptions about world demographic data faster than Chuck Norris would with a roundhouse kick.
Now, Gapminder doesn’t own Trendalyzer anymore (they sold it and the developers that worked on it to Google), but they are continuing their mission to promote a fact-based world view. There’s no political agenda behind what they do, just a desire to align perceptions with the data.
Gapminder work serves a purpose of filling a gap. There has been a market failure in distributing global data. A lot of people are interested in the data, but don’t get access to it (and if they manage to access the data, they need to be advanced skilled statisticians to analyze it). Gapminder wants to make data more accessible and easier to use for instant visual analysis. We believe decision makers, politicians as well as education at almost all levels lack adequate tools.
To really full enjoy what Gapminder is doing, watch that presentation and then play around with Gapminder World. You can also watch more presentations on their site or watch Gapcasts on their YouTube channel. Like we said before, Gapminder doesn’t have entry-level career opportunities. They don’t even have any jobs listed, but we really wish they did. Maybe if we wish hard enough (or you try cold calling), they’ll see the need to hire one of our talented readers. They’ve got the money from the Google purchase of Trendalyzer and grants they’ve received, why wouldn’t they want to invest it in entry-level talent? If you can get new college grads interested in stats, you can get anyone interested – and that’s the goal, isn’t it?
You should also take note that Gapminder’s FAQ says that they are looking for people to contribute. You can apply by sending along an e-mail detailing what you would like to do for Gapminder through their contact form. It’s not a job listing, but it might be a way to build a relationship towards future employment.
Note: On April 27th we revisited entry-level jobs at Gapminder.
Links to Help You Begin Your Research
Please leave a comment and tell us that you think Gapminder is as cool as we do, otherwise we’re going to feel like major geeks.
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