View Full Version : Entering the Actuarial profession after graduating
02-02-2002, 03:09 AM
I am a 31 year old Computer Programmer. I worked alot with programming languages including web development programming tools. Since the slowdown in the technology sector, I decided to make a career change.
I currently hold a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree.
I have registered to sit for the May 2002 exam in Dallas, Texas.
I noticed that most actuarial employers only hire individuals with at least one exam passed. Do employers prefer college seniors and recent graduates for entry-level positions?
How does a veterean with system (programming) experience enter the Actuarial profession? Should I considered a lower position, such as a Defined Benefits Analyst or Actuarial technician while studying for an exam? Is this an effective way to enter this profession at my level? If so, do you know any employers in the Dallas area that have Defined Benefits Analysts or Actuarial technicians? Any input would be helpful
02-02-2002, 10:19 AM
your gonna have to come in as an analyst or technician of some sort. You have no experience and dont know what your doing.. did you think they would bring you in and make you the chief actuary?
02-02-2002, 10:55 AM
I entered the profession at about your age and with a similar background considering the time.
The professions are very different. Your programming skills will be extraordinarily useful in a few ways; totally useless in many others. The essence of beginning actuarial work is "checking for reasonableness and accuracy", eventually becoming "do whatever it takes to figure it out and get it done. Yesterday if possible."
The MBA will be worthless in the field per se ;MBA courses are a walk in the park compared to actuarial exams on the same topic. Mine were, anyway. When people talk on these boards about studying for hundreds of hours and failing exams, believe them.
On the plus side, the work is a lot of fun and you will get to do a lot of programming. You will also get to meet a lot of people who will respect you.
Just don't clue them in.
02-02-2002, 10:58 AM
Here's my take:
First, you need to pass that first exam. But you seem like you know that.
Coming in with a computer background is very practical for the actual work standpoint, but matters very little to exams. If I were you, I would look for a primary company with LOTS of data to work with. Your computer skills will come in handy. You may be able to work as a technician, or something similar. Where I work, we have a few IT liasons that sit with the actuaries. They don't take exams, and are there as support staff to the students for data and computer management. They are fairly high level positions. You may be able to convince an employer that you could do a job similar to that, but that you would take exams as well and move into the division slowly.
Just my two cents. Good luck.
02-02-2002, 02:47 PM
I am also a 31 year old programmer planning to do the same thing.
However, I already have one exam in the bag but that was from 1995. I am planning to do one or two more before applying for an actuarial position, just to show them (and myself) that I still "have it", and to reduce the pay cut I'd have to take when I make the switch.
Yes, I said pay cut. When you start you'll be described as an "actuarial student" (not a technician) and you'll have to be prepared to take a $15,000 or more pay cut until you work your way up and pass more exams.
The vast majority of people who start in this profession drop out after a few years because they just can't cut it. Only about 40% of exam takers actually pass each exam. That is why most employers don't want you without at least one exam.
Unless you did a heap of calculus and statistics in your business degree program (such as I did in my computer science program) or as part of your job, you may want to consider attempting the November sitting instead of May. These exams are not a joke like most of the software certification exams (MCSD, SCJP, etc) that we are used to.
02-04-2002, 08:13 AM
I started studying for exams in my late 20s when I decided my current field was not something that would work for me long term. I had one exam (old system) before I started thinking about interviewing and I had 3 before I was hired. There are companies who only want recent grads from X actuarial program who did an internship. There are also lots of other companies who will look at "older" candidates. Some companies value the life experience and maturity that, presumably, "older" candidates bring to the job. Getting at least one exam passed is a must to be considered a serious candidate.
02-15-2002, 09:16 AM
Consider looking at all the actuarial software companies.
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