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Things to consider before you jump into actuarial science

In this blog, Chloe Hung, Amazon best-selling author, talks about things you should consider before pursuing an actuarial career.

Are you currently unsure whether actuarial science is really your thing? Here are some things to help you decide whether actuarial science is the right choice for you. First, let’s take a look at reasons why you might want to pursue this field of study.

A) You’re passionate about numbers

There’s a big difference between being passionate vs being interested. Being passionate about numbers means you’ll never get tired of them. You love everything about numbers and feel excited when you see them.

B) You’re willing to learn programming

Actuaries use various programming languages to help them organise and analyse data. Microsoft Excel and VBA are a must if you want to be an actuary. You may be required to learn additional programming languages such as SQL, SAS, R and so forth but as a start you need to have good Excel and VBA skills.

C) You must be a long-term thinker

Actuaries are always considering the future, making forecasts and developing strategies to reduce the risks associated with future events. You must be able to apply your skills to develop a long-term strategy to get your company from Point A (now) , to Point Z (the future).

D) You’re a good problem solver

Are you someone who is open to problems or do you try to avoid them in general? You must learn how to break down large and complex problems into smaller elements. Start with the smaller pieces first because this helps you reach a solution faster.

E) You must always be professional and ethical in your work

Only give advice to the extent that your training, qualification and experience allow you to. If someone asks you for an opinion, always tell them that your results and advice are only a best estimate.

Now that we’ve gone through the reasons why you might want to pursue actuarial science, let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t pursue this field of study.

A) You want to earn lots of money

Using money as a motivation to do well in this field will not work. Dedication, passion and motivation are what you need to succeed as an actuary. The big salary only comes after years of hard work and commitment. Ask yourself whether you’re able to remain committed despite the obstacles you may face in your actuarial journey.

B) Actuarial science is a top-rated profession which means you’ll have a bright career path

The actuarial profession may be highly rated, but there’s stiff competition out there in the job market. This is a profession that requires you to understand the market you work in and apply your knowledge to solve problems and manage risks. Get an actuarial internship to learn and experience what an actuary does. This will help you decide whether you’ll enjoy working as an actuary.

C) You get to pursue your passion for maths

Actuarial science may be a numerically driven field but it’s not all about maths. This is an area that encompasses several different areas. You must have an interest in finance, economics, programming, statistics, and so forth. Be prepared to study these subjects in your actuarial courses and actuarial exams.