Rohan Shirali | Statistical Analyst
Boston Children’s Hospital
Department: Computational Health Informatics Program
Education: B.S. Mathematics, minor in Music, 2015, M.A. Statistics, 2016, Washington University in St. Louis
Career stage: Early—2 years post Bachelor’s
What He Does
Rohan’s main responsibilities involve doing analysis on pediatric clinical data in various fields, and working with a team of software developers to make healthcare data more usable and exchangeable. There’s a lot of data in disparate systems and formats, and Rohan and his colleagues are trying to bring it together and make it compatible to improve data analytics and forecasting capabilities across the industry.
Necessary Job Skills
Rohan regularly applies statistical knowledge and analytic techniques, knowledge of experimental designs, and understanding of various computer programs and software and how they interact. He says soft and social skills are also important for fitting into a team. The heart of what the informatics department does is mathematical and computational.
Pros and Cons of His Job
Rohan is most excited about continuing to learn from all the people around him, who constantly inspire him and show him new ways to think about problems. He’s energized by people and hopes his role grows to have more face-to-face interaction. The least enjoyable part of his job right now is spending a lot of time at the computer.
This is not an issue. He is still able to pursue music on the side, performing a few times each month at local venues, spending plenty of time with friends, staying physically active, attending concerts, and traveling to see old friends and new places.
After graduating from WashU with a Bachelor’s degree, Rohan was hoping to take a year to have some fun—maybe learn to bartend or pursue his hobby of writing and performing music as a singer-songwriter—until he found out about an accelerated Master’s program offered to recent grads. Through the program, he was able to get his Masters in Statistics just a year later, and was excited to continue learning and better prepare himself for the job market.
I knew I wanted a position in healthcare, especially having grappled with the decision of whether to follow the pre-medical track, and I just applied to as many relevant jobs as I could find. Eventually, I landed this job at Boston Children’s Hospital, and it’s pretty much exactly what I was hoping for.
Rohan says his career “has absolutely been falling into place without much forethought.” He gets excited about a lot of different ideas, but also struggles to commit to them individually. In college, he didn’t know if he wanted to focus on business and follow an actuarial path, or apply to medical school, or apply his statistical knowledge otherwise, or just commit more to pursuing music. So far, not committing to a set path has worked out, and Rohan has been happy to seize opportunities as they presented themselves.
Career Expectations and Advice
“Soft and social skills are important for fitting into a team.”
The most important thing is to keep an open mind. Even things that you feel sure about might end up changing. Rohan enjoys his current job, but is open to the idea that he might find something else more gratifying at some point in the future. Planning is important, but staying present and keeping an open mind about how plans can change is key.
For someone with the title “Statistical Analyst” probably $60k–$90k. At a largely academic institution or hospital, with entry-level or a few years of experience, probably $50–$75k.
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