The main skill necessary to be an actuary is a high level of mathematics ability. A lot of statistics is needed as a lot of the time you are looking at the probability of a certain event happening in the future.Strong written and oral communication are also important as you may have to convey your results to team members and outside clients.
The daily work would usually be done by computer with a lot of time spent on packages such as Microsoft Excel. You should be competent with a computer and able to pick things up as you go along. You will most likely be dealing with quite large spreadsheets that go on for thousands and thousands of rows.
Also if you’re lucky, you may get the opportunity to use Superval software. I have had a bad experience with Superval after a project at university. After spending several weeks trying to get it to run successfully, it then provided my group with an answer that was only slightly outside of the desired value (by about £180,000,000). We followed our lecturer’s video tutorial exactly time and again, but had to abandon Superval and do everything over again in Excel. In the last week we realised the lecturer had made a mistake in his own tutorial. Ugh. Even writing about it now makes me feel pissed off. Ok enough of me complaining, lets move on…
A strong work ethic is also vital. This is especially important due to the exams you have to undertake to become qualified as an actuary. Some universities provide exemptions to a number of these exams but not all of them. Each exam requires several hours of studying every day. Only a small percentage of entrants pass them and very few pass all of them at the first time of trying. You need to have the self-discipline to sit down and study for quite a long period of time. The amount of studying will pay off in the future with your career and salary.
It is a challenging job and you must be dedicated and work hard to achieve your goals. so the main skills necessary are good maths, communication and computer skills, a good work ethic and the ability to keep striving for your goals, even if you are severely frustrated by certain events. (Curse you Superval!)