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  #1  
Old 09-17-2019, 01:03 PM
lolz lolz is offline
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Default Should I Pursue Actuarial Science? If so, CAS or SOA?

I liked probability last year in high school, and googled jobs that use a lot of probability, Actuarial Science was at the top of list. So I researched the major a bit and realized that I need to take exams.

I looked at Exam P, and tried to solve the problems, I managed to solve some. Iím currently studying for Exam FM and think that I can pass. However, I realized that I have to choose between CAS and SOA. I also realized that although the job is expected to grow 22% in 10 years, the worker pool might grow almost 100% in that span according to CAS and SOA membership statistics.

Do CAS actuaries use more probability and statistics than SOA ones? Also, are there any other careers that use probability? How do the job outlook for CAS and SOA compare?

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Old 09-17-2019, 04:01 PM
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I would recommend doing a major in stats with an emphasis in "data science" and minor in actuarial science if that is still your goal.

Don't worry about CAS vs. SOA now. Rather, seek out an internship based on your interest in the types of products each generally produces:
  • CAS ==> Auto insurance, homeowner insurance, commercial general liability, commercial property; basically insurance with a short-term time horizon.
  • SOA ==> Life/health insurance products; basically insurance where investment vehicles are a very important part of the pricing

And the world on both sides of this fence is changing with regards to predictive modeling; so the question of "which side uses more" isn't really relevant. Both sides uses "probability distributions," it's just a matter of what data they're analyzing; so figuring out what material you're more interested in will be a better predictor of where you'll be most successful.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:30 AM
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You will get a better response if you move this to the Careers section.

The near universal view is that majoring in Actuarial Science is not a good idea. If you ever decide not to be an actuary - which is fairly likely - your major will have you pigeon holed and struggling when looking for other jobs. OTOH, if you do become an actuary and you have majored in something else, that's fine.

VA had good advice. Major in stats or applied math or computer science or economics (with solid math). That will set you up well for actuarial and also serve you well if you go a different direction.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:38 AM
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Note that some of the newer Exams on both the SOA and CAS sides are doing more of what you'd find in that stats major with a data science emphasis.

The bottom line on getting an actuarial job is going to be Exam progression far more than having an act sci major.

In fact, the data science major might actually give you a better advantage, especially if you're passing Exams.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:40 AM
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Iím majoring in Financial Mathematics right now, should I switch to statistics?


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Old 09-18-2019, 11:55 AM
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Iím majoring in Financial Mathematics right now, should I switch to statistics?


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Not necessarily. But you're not likely to find all that much "probability work" in that major.

Do some research about what sorts of careers that will feed into (note that on the actuarial side, that major will primarily feed into Life/Health type work far more than P&C work).

If you're liking the material, then look to add a stats minor to strengthen your position for SOA related jobs.

If you find that you like the stats stuff more than the financial math, then major in stats and get a financial math minor (if its not available, then look to act sci or a general math minor).
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
The bottom line on getting an actuarial job is going to be Exam progression far more than having an act sci major
Think of it this way:

Actuarial science classes are frequently geared towards specific actuarial exams...but you can study for those same exams on your own (self-study is a skill that is necessary to survive the full exam process), or perhaps such classes could be available to a college student as electives.

A non-actuarial degree gives you more flexibility for that first real job and career options, and having a "rounder"/broader education can be useful later on in an actuarial career. But, if you go into college with your heart set on becoming an actuary, the actuarial science degree may give a competitive advantage (by virtue of probably having more exams passed/prepped) on the EL job.


And to answer one other element from the OP's questions: I agree with the idea that when just starting out, identifying products that are interesting to the would-be actuary is probably the best way to decide the path. It's unfortunate that the way the exams have evolved, actuarial students are now pressured to make the decision earlier in their careers / in school. I would encourage folks interested in actuarial careers to get a summer internship as early as possible, so they can get their hands dirty with semi-practical knowledge and have a better-informed opinion.

But if you're looking at numbers/stats to decide "the best" side:
  • Traditionally, there have been more SOA-oriented employers than CAS-oriented employers
  • Traditionally, SOA-oriented jobs are available in more locations in the country. CAS-oriented jobs tend to be easily available in only a few regions of the US, so actuaries who are geographically-limited may have less flexibility in their career path
  • In the past couple of decades,, the supply/demand ratio for casualty actuaries has been better for job-seekers than for life actuaries...but that could evolve.
  • I think that P&C products tend to be more dynamic than "life" products
  • But 20-40 years from now, if/when autonomous vehicles become more widespread, P&C companies' top-lines will face challenges, and there will be pressure on P&C-oriented actuarial employment that may not exist on the Life side
  • The rise of big data / data science poses a significant potential challenge to future demand for actuaries. We're not a doomed profession, but the job is changing. This could impact future demand for actuaries...but it could also open doors to new/different opportunities for folks with actuarial training.

But since actuaries with good business skills can and do move into other roles within the insurance industry...deciding which kinds of products interest you is probably the best guide for students.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maphisto's Sidekick View Post
T

But if you're looking at numbers/stats to decide "the best" side:
  • I think that P&C products tend to be more dynamic than "life" products

  • The rise of big data / data science poses a significant potential challenge to future demand for actuaries. We're not a doomed profession, but the job is changing. This could impact future demand for actuaries...but it could also open doors to new/different opportunities for folks with actuarial training.
I agree with all that you posted, but wanted to add a few additional comments:

I think that P&C products tend to *evolve* more dynamically than many "life" products due to the fact that most are short term contracts (1 year or less) whereas most "life" products (barring lapse due to non-payment of premiums) are contracts with a much longer term (10 years or more).

And the rise of big data & data science is happening on "both sides" (SOA & CAS) and the actuary of the future with a solid working knowledge (if not expertise) in data science is going to be far ahead of others lacking that knowledge.
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lolz View Post
I’m majoring in Financial Mathematics right now, should I switch to statistics?


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Employers are more interested in hiring smart people. Your major will give one (but certainly not the only) indication on how smart you are.

Probably want to pass some exams, and then get back to us. (This is a well-used cliche here, meant for others to chuckle to themselves at.)

Also, I'm moving this to careers. Please note the following that is posted at the top of the General Actuarial Forum:

Quote:
Originally Posted by posted at the top of the General Actuarial Forum
General Actuarial Non-Specific Actuarial Topics - Before posting a thread, please browse over our other sections to see if there is a better fit, such as Careers - Employment, Actuarial Science Universities Forum or any of our other 100+ forums.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2019, 11:58 AM
lolz lolz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
Not necessarily. But you're not likely to find all that much "probability work" in that major.



Do some research about what sorts of careers that will feed into (note that on the actuarial side, that major will primarily feed into Life/Health type work far more than P&C work).



If you're liking the material, then look to add a stats minor to strengthen your position for SOA related jobs.



If you find that you like the stats stuff more than the financial math, then major in stats and get a financial math minor (if its not available, then look to act sci or a general math minor).
The Financial Mathematics major at my school is more of Quantitative Finance and includes stochastic and computer stuff, would that suffice?




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