Non-traditional paths for actuaries – data science and analytics
The actuarial degree, qualification and skills can and are taking actuaries into new and exciting areas. While traditional actuarial fields are continuing to be a strong source of interest for candidates, we are seeing more and more actuaries wanting to explore non-traditional paths along the lines of data analytics/science.
So, if you’re an actuarial student wanting to pursue a career in data science/analytics, where do you look for these opportunities and what skills are required?
How actuarial skills transfer across to data analytics
Many of the skills that actuaries possess are applicable and transferable to data science/analytics-focused roles. Programming skills in SQL, Python, R, etc., modelling techniques as well as the ability to cleanse, interpret data and turn these into actionable outcomes for businesses are all skills actuaries develop throughout their studies and career. These skills are highly valuable in many industries ranging from traditional actuarial employers such as insurers, consulting firms, and government agencies, to non-traditional industries outside of the typical actuarial focus across broader financial services, retail, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and technology.
What paths should actuaries take to get into the data science field?
If you are an aspiring actuary looking to move into data analytics/science, there are a number of avenues available. You could approach your current employer and express your interest in these roles and see if there is an internal role that you could apply for or ask if more data science/analytics-focused tasks could be incorporated into your current role. Also, conduct your research on which industries you would like to move into, whether they are traditional actuarial or elsewhere, and investigate what opportunities are available.
We are also seeing many actuaries with an interest in this space pursuing a Master in Data Science, Statistics or Computer Science to enhance their credentials and knowledge. To be regarded as a data science/analytics practitioner by majority of peers, completing studies related to this discipline should be not discounted. The optimal route is to start with a short course but further personal investment in studies will be required to give yourself the best chance in transitioning into this new space. Being an actuary by qualification and trade still helps because the skills you develop carry over well into this area.
When applying for and pursuing opportunities in this space, highlight your actuarial credentials as well as the programming, modelling and other data skills in addition to the experience you have accumulated to date. Actuarial credentials are generally highly sought after and apply very well to data science/analytics focused areas, so make sure to highlight these as much as you can.
As aspiring actuaries, you will be thinking about where you want to take your career. If you are thinking of branching out from the traditional actuarial field, pursuing a career in data science/analytics may be the way to go.
- Written by SKL Actuarial
If you’re interested to know more about this space, SKL have specialists in this area who can talk you through making this transition. Please visit our website for contact details.