Career Corner: Actuaries

The first time I heard about actuaries I thought they were people who did some stuff with birds. Maybe I was confused with an aviary, a place where they keep birds? Nonetheless, I was wrong.

Actuaries deal with numbers, not birds. They may deal with birds, if they are calculating financial risk for an aviary.

And that, is primarily what actuaries do. They calculate, using mathematical models, financial risks for companies and help the companies minimize the cost of risks. They mathematically calculate the chance of future events occurring and then plan ways to prevent unwanted events. If these undesirables end up occurring, actuaries figure out to reduce their impact. I guess you could think of actuaries as financial superheroes, they predict the problems, try to stop the problems, and then if they can’t stop the problem, do everything in their power to alleviate the consequences of the problem. Actuaries do a lot of business with insurance agencies, though their expertise is also used in many other areas.

Actuaries need to be strong in business, statistics, and most importantly mathematics. I personally love math. Calculus is currently my favorite class of the ones I am taking. The fact that math is not up for debate, there is an answer or there is not, draws me to it. There is always a way to either find a solution or admit there is no solution.

Alas, this is not a math appreciation post but a post about actuaries. Time to get back to business (no pun intended). My calculus teacher recommended to my mom that I be an actuary, as did my dentist and a few others.

It takes a lot to become an actuary, however, but the rewards are fruitful. Actuaries are in high demand and always needed. They never have to worry about losing their job because companies always need someone to determine risk. Actuary science is also a very lucrative job. My dentist said his son’s friend entered with a starting salary of $80,000 with no internship experience under his belt.

All these benefits come at an initial price, though, because there are a lot of tests needed to become certified. Many people give up because the math gets too complicated or the stress becomes too high. It takes a special kind of person, but maybe that person is YOU.

Actuary science is often a forgotten career path, but one not to be understated. If you love math, it could be an option for you; I know I am looking at it as an option for me. Who knows, maybe one day we will be crunching numbers together (at an aviary, of course).

 

To learn more about actuaries:

http://www.actuary.org/

http://beanactuary.org/what/

http://www.math.purdue.edu/academic/actuary/what.php?p=what

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Math/Actuaries.htm

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Career Corner: Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering: What is it? How do I get involved? Why is it so popular? If these questions have been on your mind lately about the field referred to as BME, you are not alone. I have the same questions and so do a lot of other people.  So, why not have a blog post to discuss it?images-2

Biomedical engineering combines engineering with biological sciences to create devices, software, and equipment to use in medicine. For example, pacemakers and joint replacements are products of biomedical engineering, as well as different systems used to deliver drugs. Biomedical engineers are responsible for researching, testing, and implementing new tools and devices to combat health issues.

What makes BME different than other engineering disciplines is that it puts a big emphasis on life sciences. It is a true combination of science and mathematics, therefore, you need to be strong in those fields. For success in the BME field, you need to truly love both science and math and be adept in both.

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Many schools have started to offer BME programs for undergraduates. Unlike other majors, most colleges have BME students apply for the BME program at the same time as applying for the school itself, because the program is so rigorous and students need all four years (or even more) to get everything done. Also, because BME has become so popular, it is difficult to transfer into a program.

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BME is an engineering field dedicated to improving human health. Biomedical engineers work every day testing and implementing new procedures and medical equipment for use in labs, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare places. The field is continuing to grow each day with new advancement. Who knows? Maybe you or I will be the next BME superstar.

Sources:

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm

http://biomedical.cua.edu/overview/whatdo.cfm

http://www.engr.iupui.edu/departments/bme/about/is-biomedical-engineering-right-for-me.php

http://www.mtu.edu/biomedical/department/what-is/

Career Corner: Materials Engineer

Have you wondered who makes all the things you use – utensils, remotes, cars, golf clubs, rubber bands? Who sits there and comes up with the designs and knows what materials work best for the products? The answer is materials engineers.

Materials engineers not only come up with ideas for materials to use for products, but they also develop and test them. Materials engineers go through extensive research to determine the best materials for the product. They are experts in ceramics, metals, plastics, and other types of substances.

Some materials engineers work in office, while other work in laboratories. It depends if the materials engineer is more focused on the design and research, or the development and testing.

Materials engineering is a great field to enter because not many people receive materials engineering degrees allowing many open job positions. Materials engineers are also always in demand because they make everything we use. Every product around us has had its materials researched, chosen, developed, and tested by a materials engineer. Additionally, people are always looking for a new, cool, and innovative product to use. If you become a materials engineer, you might just have a hand in making the “next big thing.”

If you are interested in materials engineering, check out:

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/materials-engineers.htm

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/architecture-engineeringand-drafting-materials-engineers

https://engineering.purdue.edu/MSE/aboutus/whatsmaterials

http://www.engineergirl.org/cms/6075.aspx