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  #1  
Old 07-07-2006, 11:35 PM
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jj11188 jj11188 is offline
 
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Question Actuary vs Engineer

Hi everyone.

I will be a senior in high school next year and its time to start looking into colleges and career choices. I have decided that I should either pursue becoming an actuary or an engineer because of my strength in math (34 ACT in the math part, perfect PSAT in the math part). I have already done some exploring in the engineering field through camps at both SDSU and the University of Wyoming but I haven't had the chance to do anything similar to that to find out about what an Actuary does. I would really apreciate it if anyone could give a bit of a comparison or explain what advantages there are to being an actuary as opposed to being an engineer(most likely electrical or computer science field).

Btw, I kinda posted at a bad time because I'll be gone for about 10 days for a church camp, so don't worry if I don't thank you or ask additional questions promptly.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-08-2006, 01:06 AM
Seetec Seetec is offline
 
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Speaking from a sort of experience (computer engineering major, then switched to actuarial science), I can try and give you a basic comparison. As far as school goes, I found the actuarial science degree provided a much more well-rounded experience. I was introduced to finance, economics and the business world in general in actuarial science, whereas in CprE none of those courses were required. As far as mathematical differences, CprE requires some higher level mathematics (differential equations) than does ActSc. However, ActSc requires financial mathematics, while not a higher level, does require a different perspective. For me, it wasn't the mathematics that made the difference (I luckily made it through both DiffEq and FM), but the programming. I found the 8-10 hour programming sessions to be something I didn't enjoy. I have found the auto indications and pricing much more enjoyable and applicable to the business world then anything I encountered in CprE. That is, obviously, an opinion. The one thing I can guarantee you about both fields is that there are going to be tedious and menial tasks you will be assigned and there are going to be tasks which you enjoy. For me, it came down to how much I disliked the former. But, to each his own. Good luck, and I hope this helped.
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Old 07-08-2006, 01:22 AM
sundwarf sundwarf is offline
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First of all it's very encouraging that you are already searching for a career path as a high school senior... I haven't decided what I wanted to do until I was a COLLEGE junior, haha.

Speaking of actuary vs engineer, maybe my experience can help. I graduated with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering but ended up working as an actuarial analyst. As I continued taking advanced level engineering courses, I found that I lost my interest in learning cutting edge technology. I also learned that programming was not my strength too. So I began to look for an alternative path and somehow I ended up taking couple actuarial exams and, well, here I come.

Both engineer and actuary are very good career paths. In order to decide between the two, I would say you should find out what you are really interested in. If you love statistics, economics, finance and specific topics like actuarial mathematics plus the fact that you have no problem stduying hundreds of hours preparing for exams, actuary will be what you want. On the other hand, if you have no problem in communicate with others in languages like MATLAB or JAVA and you love high level technologies like super-scaler processors, to become an engineer is the way to go. I hope my 2 cents helps!
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Old 07-08-2006, 02:41 AM
balvin85 balvin85 is offline
 
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When I was a Senior in High School I was debating the same thing. I almost became an engineer but once I learned about Actuarial Science I decided to go with that. Both are very similar in the broad sense, but I would say with Actuarial Science you are engineering business models to analyze risk while regular engineering you are actually engineering physical things.

If you like the business side as well as the financial side I would recommend Actuarial Science. Specifically if you like financial mathematics then I would say go with Actuarial Science. However if you are still interested in traditional science and the way things work then engineering might be better.

Talk with local insurance and consulting companies to see if you can job shadow someone for the day. I ended up talking with an actuary and they set up a day for me to visit them. Any company you ask will probably be interested to talk with you if you show interest. Also visit colleges and talk with the professors of Actuarial Science to see what they say. This will probably be the biggest part in your decision as well as going with what you feel comfortable in.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:15 AM
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One consideration, you'll probably have to leave Wyoming to practice as an actuary. You'll need to weigh how important loacation is when making the decision.

BTW. You can study engineering and still become an actuary. There are tons of actuaries with engineering degrees.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack
BTW. You can study engineering and still become an actuary. There are tons of actuaries with engineering degrees.
You can go this route if you like school work, otherwise Id highly recommend not going into engineering to become actuary. Liberal arts is such a more comfortable environment than engineering
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Old 07-08-2006, 12:36 PM
balvin85 balvin85 is offline
 
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Quote:
BTW. You can study engineering and still become an actuary. There are tons of actuaries with engineering degrees.
That is a good point. If you start in Engineering but change your mind it is much easier to switch into the college of LAS than it is to do it the other way around. You can also take a few actuarial science classes while in Engineering to see what its like.
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Old 07-08-2006, 12:45 PM
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Bamafan Bamafan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balvin85
That is a good point. If you start in Engineering but change your mind it is much easier to switch into the college of LAS than it is to do it the other way around. You can also take a few actuarial science classes while in Engineering to see what its like.
Your first two years should give you the opportunity to take one or two electives in actuarial science. If you do decide to go into actuarial work, definitely look into the VEE requirements for Economics, Corp Finance and Statistics. Take courses at your school that fulfill these requirements, as the prospect of doing so afterward is more challenging and more of a hassle.
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Old 07-08-2006, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamafan
Your first two years should give you the opportunity to take one or two electives in actuarial science. If you do decide to go into actuarial work, definitely look into the VEE requirements for Economics, Corp Finance and Statistics. Take courses at your school that fulfill these requirements, as the prospect of doing so afterward is more challenging and more of a hassle.
I had 0 electives in engineering up until midway through junior year when i dropped out.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:05 PM
tommie frazier tommie frazier is online now
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engineers at my ugrad school had like 19-21 credits every semester, while I had 15 per for 8 semesters as a math major. they work them dudes hard.
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