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  #1  
Old 01-03-2020, 02:04 PM
EatSleepPLO EatSleepPLO is offline
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Default What to put in my toolbox?

Hello new e-friends,

First I wanna say that you guys have put together a very nice anthology of information on this site and I've found a lot of helpful stuff already. Special thanks to Westley for the stickies. But I still have some questions and obv crave personal attention so I figured a new thread was appropriate . Apologies for the tl;dr.

I'm a newborn baby on the actuarial path (not young tho- I'm 32). Most of the info I've found on here starts with "How do I write a resume/land my first internship/job". I'm not even at that stage yet. I'm in my 2nd semester back in college, about to take things like calc 1 and intro to programming. The main thing I would like to ask is basically- What should I be doing right now with my time to become the most valuable and profitable person i can in a couple years and for the future?

Right now I have the dustiest resume possible. Any employer would 100% assume I have been on the couch eating potato chips for 10 years. Now I admit that is actually pretty true, I do enjoy a good potato chip. I guess what separates me from the average memed about 'neckbeard' is that I have financially supported myself as a self employed professional gambler my whole life until moving back with my folks a year ago to cut down on costs while I go back to school. So this leaves me in an unenviable spot wrt gaining employment and climbing corporate ladder.

So to break down my question into specific parts-

Do I need to get a job and/or internship asap? I've never had a real job but I'm 95% sure I can get one as a math tutor at my school whenever I want. So yea I'll probably do that. Fwiw as far as my timeline for things, the earliest I could take the 1st exam is summer 2021. I have plenty of credits from a previous bachelor but gotta take the maths sequentially and all. So i can say I did have a job for like 1.5 years when resume time comes. I have no clue how to get an internship.

What about improving my social skills for being in the corporate world? I'm not a complete aspy hermit, but I am probably below average on things like charisma and am wary about the toll a decade as a professional degenerate has had on my personality. Would something like Toastmasters be a good idea? Or any other advice in this regard?

And lastly, what technical skills should I be learning that can benefit me in a few years? Is the recommended reading list from 2013 still up to date? And while I know there is split opinion on whether actuaries will be replaced by computers in the future, I'm definitely on the side of yes this will happen. I mean being an actuary is just calculating expected values right? To me that seems like the perfect job for a computer, but what do I know. Also, I can appreciate the cliche that being first is more important than being best. I am pretty happy with the actuarial path, but maybe I should pivot due to future concerns? I really don't want to do a ton of coding fwiw even though that might be the inevitable answer here.

Again sorry for the tl;dr and thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2020, 02:12 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Seems like your toolbox is empty.
Wait, it does have some ill-determined preconceived notions about the profession.

"Career Changer Advice" sticky thread is for you.

You will need to pass some exams. Then, hope some hiring actuary has very few candidates to choose from.
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Last edited by Dr T Non-Fan; 01-03-2020 at 02:22 PM..
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatSleepPLO View Post
I mean being an actuary is just calculating expected values right? To me that seems like the perfect job for a computer, but what do I know.
While on the one hand looking at the material for the first couple exams might lead you to this conclusion, this is very far from what an actuary actually does.

First thing I'd do is set up a LinkedIn, connect with everyone you know and hopefully you can find a connection of a connection who is an actuary and is willing to get coffee with you. I'd then pick their brain to figure out whether you'd really like to do this because it's a really long path to start at 32 and not something to start lightly, particularly not if it's just based on some notion of progressing via exam passage.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:22 PM
EatSleepPLO EatSleepPLO is offline
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Right, ty. DR T I will check that out. I feel like with such an empty toolbox I should be doing more things between now and taking some exams no?
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:24 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Calculating expected values is not difficult. Interpreting the variance (risk, thus insuring against it) in financial terms to people who never took, say, Calc 1, is something a computer has trouble doing.
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"45 es un titere" -- Seal of The President of The United States of America protest art

“That is reminiscent of Harry Truman’s famous saying, ‘The buck stops, uh, somewhere over there, maybe?' That is a level of dodging responsibility that Trump has been perfecting ever since he was very much not in Vietnam.” -- LWTwJO
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:29 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatSleepPLO View Post
Right, ty. DR T I will check that out. I feel like with such an empty toolbox I should be doing more things between now and taking some exams no?
No, not really. Just don't fill it with crap, like what you think an actuary does.



Creating a time machine, maybe?

You might have to do some coding (SQL or SAS), if only to get data that you want in the format you want. I've been doing that for 30+ years, as well as interpreting that data for people who never took Calc.
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"45 es un titere" -- Seal of The President of The United States of America protest art

“That is reminiscent of Harry Truman’s famous saying, ‘The buck stops, uh, somewhere over there, maybe?' That is a level of dodging responsibility that Trump has been perfecting ever since he was very much not in Vietnam.” -- LWTwJO
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:32 PM
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Right, ty. DR T I will check that out. I feel like with such an empty toolbox I should be doing more things between now and taking some exams no?
Naw. Studying for an exam is relevant. Taking an exam will give you a sense of whether you are willing to go through with all this. (But be forewarned, the first ones are smaller and "mathier" than the later ones.) Passing an exam is something to put on that resume.

NormalDan gave some good advice, too. You should try to meet some actuaries IRL and chat with them about what they do and whether the field is a good fit for you.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:33 PM
EatSleepPLO EatSleepPLO is offline
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If a computer program can be proven to be better at interpreting the variance than a human, why wouldn't the non-calculus guy take the computer's word for the answers? I know I should take YOUR word for it but I'm still not getting what the human is needed for..
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:34 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Best thing to put in your toolbox is a few passed Exams.

Next best thing is some good problem-solving skills. Not working word problems; but figuring out how to approach a business problem, analyze available information, create and test potential solutions, then communicate your recommended solution and potential alternatives.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:35 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatSleepPLO View Post
If a computer program can be proven to be better at interpreting the variance than a human, why wouldn't the non-calculus guy take the computer's word for the answers? I know I should take YOUR word for it but I'm still not getting what the human is needed for..
I have yet to see any computer program "interpret" new quirks in data.

Many novices think that ML will "solve all your problems" until someone asks, "so, what's driving the changes we're seeing from the model" . . . *crickets*.
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