I am currently in the insurance field as a 'product analyst.' My main duties include using SQL to run reports, update reports, create ad hoc reports, and connecting said reports to excel for 'data analysis'(pivot tables etc). My tenure in SQL is around 6 months but I've been in insurance in a non technical field for 8 years. My first thought is of course the actuarial field. I passed the first exam last year, but I've been struggling with blocking out time to study for the second exam. My issue is that i sometimes work long hours for my product role, and it's really hard to focus on one role while studying for exams to plan for a potential future role. Plus, I'm still new in SQL so sometimes I question if I should just develop extra time towards my current role before I try to jump ship that hasn't even arrived yet (make sense?). Oh and I have a child arriving in a couple months. So with that in mind, I start to question what I want to do. I KNOW that I want to develop in the analytics area. Modeling, forecasting, 'building' stuff. The actuarial path is a way to get there hence the reason I chose actuarial route. Suppose I give up on actuarial and want to look for analytics/data science jobs, is it still possible? Even the entry level or 'JR' jobs I see requires ph.D or lots of experience. My experience is 6 months of SQL and excel, and a bachelors in math 10 years ago. I do not see myself going back to school. Is it worth my effort to buy a couple of books on R or SAS and get beginner level experience? Will that help me at all in getting a job? The reason I'm thinking of utilizing my time to study R and SAS over actuarial is that I feel the actuarial does drain too much energy out of me where the software I can choose to study more 'casually'. (I.e no need to do math problems every day, no pressure of exams, etc) The reason I'm looking for a new job is because the company itself is disorganized, bad benefits, and the 'data' analysis work is very limited. It's not a place that I can grow and develop my skills.