Be an actuary?
August 2, 2007 12:35 PM Subscribe
Attn: Actuaries! I've got some questions about professions in actuarial science...
posted by yohko to Work & Money (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Since becoming aware that you don't actually need what I would consider to be all that much math to become an actuary, I've become curious about the profession. I have some questions:
1) Is it really as easy to get a job after passing the first exam as they make it sound at beanactuary.org? I get the impression that at this point one can make $40-45k/yr -- if there is that much demand for actuaries, wouldn't the compensation be higher?
2) Will having flunked a 400 level math course in solving systems of nonlinear equations be a big negative to getting an interview?
3) Does one have to live in a large city to work in this field, or is employment available in smaller cities?
4) Can one telecommute or work from home? Is this a job that would be vulnerable to international outsourcing in the future?
5) I'm unskilled in office politics - will this hamstring me in this career? I tend to assume others are honest, and don't deal well with environments where there is a lot of backstabbing and political stuff, but have OK social skills otherwise.
6) Environment -- Cubicle or office? Travel? High pressure/stress? Sudden need to stay late or work weekends? Do actuaries get out their geek toys when no one else is watching? Cooperation or competition in studying for further exams?
7) What programming languages are good to know these days? I keep hearing about visual basic, but I've had CS classes and wonder if I should brush up on any of these.
8) Any negatives to actuarial careers? Most of the web sites I've found take the tone that it's all wonderful and perfect, now take your exam so we can get some more bodies.
I'm in the US, graduated college with an unrelated bachelor's degree some years back. I've taken most of the courses recommended for college students, except for third semester calculus. I'd welcome any firsthand accounts of experiences, and I'll be checking on this thread in the future, so please add to it even if some time has gone by.