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Questions for actuaries (or aspiring ones): relevant 'software skills'

  1. Dec 3, 2013 #1
    So i'm trying to career change over to the actuarial field and I'm trying to prepare myself as best as I can to get that entry level job.

    I know about the exams and am already working on that. If all goes well, I hope to pass my first exam in January. As I know the actuarial profession is not easy to get in to and quite a few companies require 2+ exams, I want to at least try applying anyways because 1) I'll be looking for a job anyways, 2) I'm hoping with my previous background in Insurance, and small networking circle, that will help me, and 3)I'm completely mobile within the U.S and there are some companies which require '1 or 2' exams.

    My question is regarding the software and functions that actuaries use daily. I've done some research on my own and it looks like a lot of actuaries use SAS, Excel (and VBA), and some Access. However, I'm interested in specifically which functions and commands are the most relevant to learn. That way, if I want to improve my excel skills, I want to center my learning around these set of tasks and commands.

    I know I can pick up an excel book and learn excel, but for a specific job and for my CV, if I write down "proficient in Excel,' I want to be able to elaborate on it and what I can do with it.

    The only thing I can find online right now is "Actuwaiters" which claims to teach these software with actuarial profession in mind. I'm still deciding whether the cost is worth it, but I want to get some insight from actuarial members here about their job.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2013 #2
    Excel functions you should be comfortable with include: VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, SUMIF, SUMPRODUCT, AVERAGE, COUNT, COUNTA, among others.

    Add SQL to your list of languages to be familiar with. 10% of SQL is understanding the syntax and 90% is understanding the database you're working with, so just try to get the basics down and then you'll learn the rest on the job.

    I strongly agree with starting your job search now. Make some friends in companies if you can. Get to know a few people. Apply to hundreds of jobs. Your geographic mobility will help a great deal.
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