The term actuary may seem like a very archaic word from a period in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. However, in reality, actuaries serve a very real and functional purpose, and they are often the heaviest career path for those who love statistics, big data and math aside from a professorship. No surprise, being an actuary has just about everything to do with data measurement and math. As a result, many of the career paths for this discipline ends up using these skills extensively. Here are five career paths that will definitely keep an actuary busy right through to retirement:
It used to be that the accounting field was heavily focused on certified public accountants and related training, putting more emphasis on form and reporting as well as compliance than the nature of the data itself. As long as there was a receipt, the number was the number. However, today’s accounting is a deep exercise in big data management, and actuaries can easily see numerous trends and statistical patterns with the assistance of computers and digital modeling.
Similar to accounting, budgets was traditional an exercise in reporting and summarizing for decades. However, the field is leaning more and more to quantification of data. That relies heavily on statistics and data trending. A derivative of the budget analyst, the financial analyst, has seen huge success in recent years with quant-based work, especially with investments and public market trading. Government budget analysts are also beginning to see more capability with actuarial sciences applied to digital data trending as well.
A time-tested area for actuaries, cost estimation is easily married to data and the analysis of it, especially in determining what the potential impact will be of a decision. The process of mapping out resource needs, expenses, consumption, materials, and time are all the basic bread and butter of an actuary, so this field is probably one of the oldest career paths for actuaries. Most applicants will quickly find there is no general area; positions are specific to companies and industries, which inevitably creates specialization in a given estimating area.
Economists and Mathematicians
The two fields of economics and math generally create career paths in academia and think tanks. These positions are few and far between, so the competition can be pretty fierce to get into one. Further, applicants have to be the best of the best and usually have to have an education level up to a doctorate degree level. So it is a career path possible, but the odds are bit like trying to make it to a professional sports team.
One of the biggest employers of actuaries has been and continues to be the insurance industry. The primary reason is that insurance is a business of risk. Actuaries are critical in mapping out potential risk costs and the likelihood of it occurring based on statistics and probability. The results of actuary work regularly dictates thousands upon thousands of premium charges for insurance purchasers, and it provides the objective basis for insurance rates and quotes in a competitive market. It may seem like a lot of paperwork, but when the wrong rate can bankrupt an insurance pool very quickly, actuary science really matters.
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