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  #11  
Old 06-22-2018, 06:39 AM
almost_there almost_there is offline
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Originally Posted by IroningBoard View Post
I think if you donít yet have a job, R will be more useful.
That's rubbish. Prophet is widely used and not going away anytime soon.
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2018, 01:50 PM
IroningBoard IroningBoard is offline
 
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That's rubbish. Prophet is widely used and not going away anytime soon.

Read the rest of my post. I said that plenty of insurers are still using Prophet. Prophet is still a great skill to have, but I still stand by my statement that R is probably a better language to learn if you don’t yet have a job (or even a more general language like C++ or Python).

If you don’t yet have a job, it can be very difficult to learn Prophet. It’s expensive to get an individual licence and there aren’t really any free resources to learn, or projects that you can work on without understanding a decent amount about insurance products. It’s all well and good learning via a university course, but it’s pretty easy to learn Prophet on the job if you have a good programming background.

R is open source, free to use and there are plenty of free resources to teach you how to use it.

If you learn R (or any programming language) then Prophet is easy. Learning Prophet doesn’t necessarily make learning other languages easy.

Prophet will be around for a while, but transferable skills are much more future proof than knowing a lot about a piece of niche modelling software.

Some big insurers are gradually moving away from Prophet. I know Aviva and Scottish Widows are replacing some of their prophet models with bespoke applications (using combinations of VBA, C++ and R) and there is talk amongst other insurers about doing the same. Royal London have recently moved from Prophet to MG-Alfa. That’s 3 of the biggest employers of life actuaries in the UK, moving away from Prophet.

Edit: to be fair, if you have the chance to learn Prophet than university, it could be a good opportunity to learn a skill that would otherwise cost. You can learn R in your own time.

Last edited by IroningBoard; 06-24-2018 at 09:38 AM..
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2018, 10:46 PM
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El Actuario El Actuario is offline
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The comparison is apples and oranges. One is a programming language, the other is financial projection software (with relatively light coding from the user).

I agree that learning R is easier and more accessible while you’re in college, and programming skills are always a plus for EL jobs. However, I disagree that it’s more valuable than Prophet (or something similar, like MG-ALFA). In the life industry, those skills are in high demand, and I see them requested much more frequently than R / Python / any specific programming language.
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  #14  
Old 06-23-2018, 11:52 PM
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Maphisto's Sidekick Maphisto's Sidekick is offline
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Originally Posted by El Actuario View Post
The comparison is apples and oranges. One is a programming language, the other is financial projection software (with relatively light coding from the user).

I agree that learning R is easier and more accessible while you’re in college, and programming skills are always a plus for EL jobs. However, I disagree that it’s more valuable than Prophet (or something similar, like MG-ALFA). In the life industry, those skills are in high demand, and I see them requested much more frequently than R / Python / any specific programming language.
...with a caveat.

I work in P&C in the US. Until this thread, I don't believe I had never heard of Prophet.

Looking through the information available online, I can see where such a tool (or its competitors) would be of high value in life insurance. Skills you pick up in mastering Prophet can presumably be carried over to other tools that employers might use.

However, for P&C work, I'm familiar with a couple of other tools that do some of the things Prophet claims to do, and I'm acquainted with several other competing tools. Most of them are limited to use by a specific subset of P&C actuaries.

At least in US P&C work, I would have to say that it would be more useful to pick up R in school, as the tools I reference can be picked up relatively easily once you have a basic understanding of the business, and R can be quite useful in preparing the data to drive these tools....or for a myriad of other tasks...or for analytic/modeling work outside the actuarial profession, if your interests take you that way.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2018, 09:47 AM
IroningBoard IroningBoard is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Actuario View Post
The comparison is apples and oranges. One is a programming language, the other is financial projection software (with relatively light coding from the user).

I agree that learning R is easier and more accessible while you’re in college, and programming skills are always a plus for EL jobs. However, I disagree that it’s more valuable than Prophet (or something similar, like MG-ALFA). In the life industry, those skills are in high demand, and I see them requested much more frequently than R / Python / any specific programming language.
Edit: UK perspective:


Prophet skills are in high demand yes, but not really at entry level. Most of the big UK life insurers rely on experienced Prophet developers to code their Prophet models. The closest a student will typically get is setting the models up, pressing “go” and extracting results. The big companies use contractors to do their big development work. Might be more useful to have those skills at a smaller life insurer. At the end of the day, coding in Prophet is not rocket science and would easily be picked up by a competent developer. The more valuable skill is an understanding of how life insurance products are modelled and valued, which would probably be a difficult understanding to convey as a student with no work experience.
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