What Level of Mathematics Do I Need for Six Sigma?

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    Shafi Ulla Khan

    What level of mathematics is needed for six sigma?



    That’s probably the wrong question since most of the math itself is relatively simple.  What you do need is statistics, which is a particular way of applying the math.  That isn’t often taught in high school, or even college, unless you’re on a track for engineering, medicine, science, or some other field where statistical analysis is important.  I recall taking my first  six sigma training at a former employer and those in the class who hadn’t learned basic statistics really struggled.  Take an introductory statistics course and you should be ready.


    Robert Butler

    I agree with @Straydog – the issue is that of statistics.  If we assume you have a mathematical background that includes algebra and if, for whatever reason,you can’t take a course in basic statistics then I would recommend working your way through the following books:

    1. A Cartoon Guide to Statistics – Gonick and Smith – I’ve recommended this book to a number of my engineers over the years.  It is a well written book and it does a good job of highlighting and explaining many of the basic statistical concepts.

    Given that you have an understanding of algebra I would recommend you learn the basic principles of least-squares regression.  The best short description I know can be found on pages 8-30 of Applied Regression Analysis, 2nd Edition – Draper and Smith.  If you can borrow this book through inter-library loan you could copy these pages for future reference.

    Once you understand the basic idea of simple regression I would recommend you get a copy of

    2. Regression Analysis by Example – Chatterjee and Price

    and work your way through that book.

    The third book I would recommend would be

    3. Statistical Methods – Snedecor and Cochran – whatever the latest edition might be

    This book is statistical boilerplate – it is written in the form of if-you-want-to-do-this-then-you-will-have-to-run-that.

    You don’t have to read all of #3 but it is a good basic how-to book for a lot of statistical techniques. It takes the time to give the reader an understanding of what the methods do and why you might want to use them.


    Fausto Galetto

    After reading some statistics basics, you need intelligence (in order not to be cheated)



    I completely agree with the answers above. It seems to me that there is definitely no one who will tell you what level of mathematics you need, because this already applies to statistics.

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