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Data science and its potential for Actuaries

The world of data science continues to be both a threat and an opportunity for actuaries in traditional and new areas of work. With rapid advancements in technology, we can collect, store and draw insights from data like never before, with the potential to transform both traditional actuarial fields and open up new sectors and industries. We think that ‘Big Data’ is going to change the world and we want to be ready to embrace the opportunities that come along with it.

Data science holds huge potential for changing the way in which actuaries work. Watch our Autumn Lecture 2017 that explores these issues in detail.

Data science news and articles

Taking the lead in data science

In an article for The Actuary magazine, IFoA President Elect John Taylor reflects on the growth of data science, its implications for the future of the actuarial science and society more broadly, and why the profession should be at the heart of it. 

 

Data science, in all its manifestations, is rarely out of the public eye these days. Why has it become such a hot topic, though, and what role should actuaries play in understanding and explaining it?

 

Read more


Courses to get you started

These are offered by:

These courses are online, flexible, and sometimes free; allowing you to choose when you start and how much time you spend. Each course is valuable providing a different perspective on Data Science, from Basic R to detailed analysis. Explore the options for an MSc, with a number of full or part time opportunities; for a comprehensive list of the available courses, visit the Study Portals Masters site

Data science course review

We asked some of our members for feedback on the courses they had studied; members of the Modelling Analytics and Insight from Data (MAID) Working Party identified Machine Learning (Andrew Ng, Stanford University) offered by Cousera as a great introduction.  This is what they said:

This course covers a full spectrum of machine learning starting from the basics and there is a practical focus on how to build machine learning solutions (neural networks and others) from scratch to solve real world problems. The course is 11 weeks long and requires circa 3-4 hours a week of study to complete course. The course is free but there is an option to pay for a certificate (for a one off course fee of £58).

The course is taught through a mix of lecture videos, notes, multiple choice questions and programming assignments in Octave (a freeware version of Matlab). This course is both relevant and may be useful to actuaries although it may not be suitable for every actuary because of the hands on programming which will require individuals to get stuck into it to get a lot out of the course. Recommendations are to complete programming assignments to get full benefits of course.

Qualifications provided by Actuarial Associations and other Professional Bodies:

Other learning options which you might wish to consider if you are looking for a qualification in the Data Science area:

The CAS Institute Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA)

The Operational Research Society - Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®)

Lifelong Learners are motivated to never stop learning

Take time to reflect and plan before you begin any new projects

Reflect: check the competencies against your current role and future ambitions

Plan: identify exactly what skills and knowledge you need and how best to acquire them

Do: take courses, read articles, find a mentor, look online, volunteer

Record: write down everything you do, how far it met your objectives, the impact on your work

More on Data science

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Events calendar

  • Webinar Series: Risk and Investment Conference 2019, 26 June

    These are online webinar events.
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA’s Risk Management and Finance and Investment Boards are delighted to host a series of webinars covering a range of topical and trending topics ranging from climate related risks to Brexit.

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019 + Volunteer and Member Drinks Reception

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • IFAM event - Actuarial Teachers’ & Researchers’ Conference 2019

    Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics Department of Mathematical  Sciences The University of Liverpool Mathematical Sciences Building Peach Street Liverpool, L69 7ZL
    27 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (IFAM) at the University of Liverpool is pleased to host the 2019 Actuarial Teachers’ and Researchers’ Conference from 27-28 June 2019. This annual two-day event has been running annually now for many years, each time hosted by a different university, and provides all those interested in actuarial research and education a great opportunity to share their ideas and catch up on the latest developments.

  • IFoA/ASM Joint Professional Skills Training – Kuala Lumpur

    Menara AIA, Auditorium, 99 Jalan Ampang, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
    28 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Actuarial Society of Malaysia (ASM) are organising a joint Professional Skills Training (PST) in Kuala Lumpur. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • Spaces available

    The actuarial profession has much to offer the world of banking. In this webinar actuaries with experience in various fields of banking will talk about the opportunities there are in banking; describing the actuarial aspects of the work they do as well as other roles within their area of banking.

  • Implications of 2019 IFRS 17 Exposure Draft

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    24 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Towards the end of June, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is expected to publish an Exposure Draft (ED) of limited changes to its insurance contracts standard IFRS 17, effective date 2022. To help IFoA members, the IFoA’s cross-practice Financial Reporting Group (FRG) is hosting an event at Staple Inn covering these developments. 

    For more information on the FRG please visit this webpage

  • KSS event – The Regulatory Perspective

    Deloitte Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    5 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk, presented by the FCA Head of Department in Scotland, will focus on the following 3 main areas:

    • FCA business plan priorities
    • The future of regulation
    • FCA Engagement in Scotland
  • Sessional Research Event - Risk Margin Working Party

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 September 2019

    Spaces available

    For life insurers in the UK, the risk margin is one of the most controversial aspects of the Solvency II regime. Following its implementation, the risk margin came under considerable criticism for being too large and too sensitive to interest rate movements. These criticisms are particularly valid for annuity business – such business is of great significance to the national system for retirement provision. This criticism has led to political interest, and the risk margin was a major element of the Treasury Committee inquiry into Solvency II.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year. 

     

  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Spaces available

    The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.