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Data science and Lifelong Learning

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Data science and its potential for Actuaries

The world of data science continues to be both a threat and an opportunity for actuaries in traditional and new areas of work. With rapid advancements in technology, we can collect, store and draw insights from data like never before, with the potential to transform both traditional actuarial fields and open up new sectors and industries. We think that ‘Big Data’ is going to change the world and we want to be ready to embrace the opportunities that come along with it.    

Certificate in Data Science

John TaylorAt the AGM in June 2019 John Taylor announced the launch of the IFoA's Certificate in Data Science. This Certificate will be available to our members at all stages of their careers and wherever they are located across the globe. It will, cover topics such as Data Visualisation, Machine Learning, AI and Ethics, and the application of these to actuarial work. We are delighted to be working with the Southampton Data Science Academy (SDSA) to present a certificate in data science jointly accredited by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.
 

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Autumn Lecture

Watch our Autumn Lecture 2017 that explores these issues in detail.

Data science holds huge potential for changing the way in which actuaries work. Explore what data science is from an actuarial viewpoint.

Data science, in all its manifestations, is rarely out of the public eye these days. Why has it become such a hot topic, though, and what role should actuaries play in understanding and explaining it?

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Courses to get you started

These are offered by:

These courses are online, flexible, and sometimes free; allowing you to choose when you start and how much time you spend. Each course is valuable providing a different perspective on Data Science, from Basic R to detailed analysis. Explore the options for an MSc, with a number of full or part time opportunities; for a comprehensive list of the available courses, visit the Study Portals Masters site

Data science course review

We asked some of our members for feedback on the courses they had studied; members of the Modelling Analytics and Insight from Data (MAID) Working Party identified Machine Learning (Andrew Ng, Stanford University) offered by Cousera as a great introduction.  This is what they said:

This course covers a full spectrum of machine learning starting from the basics and there is a practical focus on how to build machine learning solutions (neural networks and others) from scratch to solve real world problems. The course is 11 weeks long and requires circa 3-4 hours a week of study to complete course. The course is free but there is an option to pay for a certificate (for a one off course fee of £58).

The course is taught through a mix of lecture videos, notes, multiple choice questions and programming assignments in Octave (a freeware version of Matlab). This course is both relevant and may be useful to actuaries although it may not be suitable for every actuary because of the hands on programming which will require individuals to get stuck into it to get a lot out of the course. Recommendations are to complete programming assignments to get full benefits of course.

Qualifications provided by Actuarial Associations and other Professional Bodies:

Other learning options which you might wish to consider if you are looking for a qualification in the Data Science area:

The CAS Institute Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA)

The Operational Research Society - Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®)

The Society of Actuaries - Predictive Analytics Certificate Program

Lifelong Learners are motivated to never stop learning

Take time to reflect and plan before you begin any new projects

Reflect: check the competencies against your current role and future ambitions

Plan: identify exactly what skills and knowledge you need and how best to acquire them

Do: take courses, read articles, find a mentor, look online, volunteer

Record: write down everything you do, how far it met your objectives, the impact on your work

More on Data science

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Events calendar

  • Autumn Lecture 2020: Professor Elroy Dimson

    Online webinar
    14 October 2020

    Spaces available

    Many individuals and institutions have a long-term focus, and invest funds for the benefit of future generations. Their strategy should reflect their long horizon. University endowments are one of the oldest classes of institutional investor, and I will present the first study of the management of these endowments over the very long term.

  • GIRO Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Online
    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

  • Spaces available

    The webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities schemes face in evaluating end game options, choosing a target state and understanding the impact this strategic decision could have on member outcomes long after the “end state” is reached. Adolfo, Kevin and Rhian bring over 60 years of experience in the industry and a variety of perspectives as scheme actuary, covenant adviser, trustee, de-risking adviser and insurer.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    Patrick Kennedy, Partner at Gateley Legal and Founding Director of Entrust (a leading professional pensions trustee company), will be delivering an update on the latest legal developments during the course of 2020. With both a pensions legal perspective and over 25 years of trustee service, Patrick will seek to highlight how the letter of the law has continued to evolve against the backdrop of a difficult and challenging year

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report.