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DoneWithIT
August 3rd 2006, 09:07 PM
Hello to All,

First off I have to say that I am not an actuary, although I think I may want to become one. Which is why I have signed up here, to see what other people's experiences have been and to get a better idea of what may lie ahead for me. First, a brief introduction...

I obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Philosophy and realizing that I'd actually need to find a job, figured that I'd have better prospects if I went into a computer-related field (this was around 1996-97). So after graduation I obtained certification in Java programming, got lucky and got a job working for a major tech firm. While I was hired as a programmer, this quickly morphed into a network IT gig, and I found myself configuring firewalls for a living. At first this was interesting and rewarding work, but as time has gone on, the climate has cooled (unlike the Earth), and my frustration levels have increased. I am well compensated for the work I do, but I am realizing that it's really important to enjoy the kind of work you do - or at least not find yourself despising it on a regular basis. I don't know how many more pages at 3am I can take, because some idiot can't get to the internet....anyway, hopefully you can see where I'm coming from.

I've always had an interest and aptitude in Mathematics, and had a friend who went into the Actuarial field - so I was always familiar with the career, but until recently haven't had a desire to investigate further. In my web searches it appears that being an actuary is both financially rewarding and fairly secure (at least compared to IT, where outsourcing is an actuality). I realize that I'd have to start at the bottom, and take a pretty big pay cut, at least initially (thankfully I now have a significant other who can help pick up the slack). But as mentioned, it's more important to me now to be happy than how much money I make (although obviously there is some relation between the two).

Well that was a long way to get to the question...which is, just how desired are actuaries? I've read some posts here that mention going through 15+ interviews, and I really don't trust the SOA or BeAnActuary sites that say everything is rosey. Especially with all the fuss over pension funds and companies looking to drop them, that's an entire actuarial field that may soon flood the other fields. Another question: Is an IT background helpful? Finally, I've read people here say it's never too late, but as a practical matter, have you seen many mid-30s entry-level actuaries where you work?

Thanks to all who just read through all this, and more thanks to those who respond. If this was an inappropriate place to ask these questions, I'll be happy to repost elsewhere on this forum.

mreevit
August 4th 2006, 12:07 PM
I'm currently in the job search right now. The places I have interviewed have many entry-level analysts at all ages. So don't worry about that. You actually would be an attractive candidate with your computer skills. Register for an exam and start searching. I don't think you'll have a difficult time finding a job, especially in New York. As for the pay cut...yes it would be significant, but actuarial salaries increase rapidly with exams (as opposed to the rest of the work force).

Good luck.