My background (bachelor + part of my master degree) was in mathematics. I then completed my PhD in developing statistical models. My study did not focus on a a specific area (for example, finance, sport, health, etc) — instead, I am a generalist model developer. Because I did not focus on a specific area, I have found it hard to find a job at a university as they require a specific field of study. Now, I am thinking to improve myself in a specific area such as finance. However, I really do not know how to start or even stay in my way (developing statistical models) is better for me? any advice or help, please?

  • I don't understand your comment that "they require a specific field of study". That doesn't seem true to me. Maybe it is just a tough job market. Where is this happening? Maybe Australia as your profile indicates. Is it special there in some way?
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2019 at 10:47
  • @Buffy Hi and thank you for your comment. I mean that the university offers some jobs for biological, health, spatial, finance and so on. For me, I did not have a specific area. My models help the researcher in a different field. Do you advise me to stay as a model developer or try to write in a specific area?
    – Mary
    Jun 24, 2019 at 11:06
  • I don't have a good understanding of academia in Australia. Model building seems like a good thing to me. Is it enough just to find some collaborators in an area of application and work with them for a while? A question, not a statement.
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2019 at 11:09
  • @Buffy It is a good idea to find someone to work with. I tried this, however, as I am not employed in any university, the role is that I cannot use their data and hence I need to work on general data (open source) and for some filed this is not a good option for journals.
    – Mary
    Jun 24, 2019 at 11:12
  • Is it possible to get employed as a researcher on someone's grant? If so, you could work out co-authorship at the start so as to build a CV. Or a postdoc?
    – Buffy
    Jun 24, 2019 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


It seems to me that you have all the tools needed to either stay is your area or develop models in any of the sub-areas mentioned above. You just need to learn the "state of the art" in each of them (or finance, as you've specified). My advice for you is to build a portfolio with some personal projects, as this counts a lot more than just having a diploma on the specific area. Access some databases and create some financial models by your own and host your work on GitHub or something like this, then you can bring this up on any upcoming interview and show the company/university you know what you're doing.


Although you alude to looking for a job at a university, it is not clear to me what kind of job you are looking for --- e.g., an academic research position, teaching position, non-academic statistical modelling role?

If you are trying to get an academic position then there is a heavy emphasis on research (or at least research potential for some entry-level positions) and so the best thing you can do is to do research projects and use these to publish papers in scholarly journals. If you are trying to get a non-academic statistical modelling role then probably the best thing you can do is to learn (and possibly become accredited in) one or more common statistical modelling languages (e.g., R, Python, SAS, etc.). For the latter I highly recommend DataCamp.

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