Careers in the Digital Age: Actuary vs. Data Scientist
What Does an Actuary Do?
Actuaries’ Essential Skills
- Problem-Solving: Risk management is a complex field, and the data sets are never the same. While this makes each job unique, it requires a high degree of problem-solving. Using external knowledge to extract relevant insights is a critical skill.
- Computing Knowledge: Actuaries must have strong computer skills, both to understand how software processes data and to share results across different platforms.
- Mathematics and Statistics: To effectively analyze data, an actuary must be familiar with statistics, probability, calculus, and accounting, as well as recognizing and interpreting trends within a data set.
The Present and Future of the Profession
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
Necessary Skills for Data Scientists
- Critical Thinking: Thinking critically about a problem helps data scientists formulate hypotheses and narrow down data sets to offer accurate insights.
- Programming: While generalized computer skills still form part of a data scientist’s qualifications, they need to know far more about computers than other professions. Learning the syntax and forms for languages such as R, Python, and C# offers data scientists the ability to automate data processing. With the sheer size of the data pools these scientists deal with, programming is a core skill.
- Mathematics: Data scientists should have a strong background in linear algebra, calculus, and statistics. Many companies require data scientists to have an advanced degree in mathematics or a related field.