Is Actuarial Science Right Profession For Me?

Everybody has the above question in mind, in one or the other way, after knowing about Actuarial Science.

But, you will truly never know if Actuarial Science is really your thing until you try it. Despite saying this, let’s consider some points on the basis of which you’ll get to decide whether it is a right choice for you or not.

Science v/s Commerce
“Actuarial Science”, as the word depicts, has nothing to do much with the subjects from the science background. Rather, it is a profession which can be pursued by both commerce as well as science students. Though students who are savvy with subjects like mathematics, statistics, economics, finance, probability and so on, find it pretty much easier to grasp the basics of Actuarial Science.

Actuarial Science is all about Mathematics
“Are you passionate about Mathematics?”

Even though you may be passionate about Math, it does not mean actuarial science would be the right fit for you. Being good at Math is just a requirement to study actuarial science. If you hate Math, actuarial science is not for you.

Actuarial science focuses on the practical side of Math instead of the theoretical side. If you are someone who just wants to derive formulae and prove mathematical solutions, actuarial science will not be a good fit for you. Practical Math is completely different from theoretical Math because practical Math is all about applying mathematical concepts to solve problems.

Actuarial Science is the application of mathematical and technical skills to solve problems. Actuaries not only have strong Math skills, they are also able to apply them well in the business context and communicate their results to both actuaries and non-actuaries.

Passion about Numbers
“Are you passionate about numbers or are you just interested in numbers?”

There is a big difference between being passionate and being interested. Being interested means you are good at numbers, you are comfortable with them and you do well in your Math courses, but you get tired of it when you do too much Math. Someone who is truly passionate about numbers never gets tired of it. They treat it as a hobby. Which one are you?

Learning Programming Languages
“Are you a computer geek?”

Being good at programming is an essential part of actuarial science. Programming languages are very helpful in analyzing and organizing data. Some of the commonly used programming languages are SQL, SAS, R, and Python.

Long-term Thinker
“Can you adapt a long-term view when making decisions? Or are you more prone towards making impulsive decisions?”

You might be familiar with the work of actuaries. They are always looking at the future, making forecasts of future events and developing strategies to reduce the risks associated with these future events. They ask questions such as “What are the potential risks the company may encounter within the next five years?”; “Which project would be more profitable?” and so on. To answer these questions, you must be a long-term thinker.

Problem Solver
“Are you someone who is open to problems or do you try to avoid problems in general?”

As an actuarial student, you’ll learn how to break down large and complex problems into smaller pieces. Attack the smaller pieces and you’ll reach a solution much faster. It’s ok if you are not good at it. This skill comes with experience and practice.

Discipline – A long-term commitment
“Are you willing to devote the time and effort required to become a qualified actuary? Can you remain disciplined in the long run?”

You must understand that the actuarial journey requires a lot of commitment from your end. Self-studying is crucial in actuarial science. That is why you have to be much disciplined to stick to your study schedule.

Insurance and financial concepts
“Do you have an interest in finance or economics or insurance in general?”

Actuarial students must have a good foundation in insurance and financial concepts. That is why students are required to take insurance related and finance courses during the actuarial course.

“Are you pursuing actuarial science just because you think that you can make more money as an actuary?” Yes, it’s true that you can make more money as an actuary. But, the reward or recognition will only come after years and years of hard work, dedication, and commitment. Using money as a motivation to do well in this field will not work. Never decide to study actuarial science solely with the thought of “I can make more money as an actuary” in mind.

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