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Many a times I have considered Actuary as a career, since many things are always throwing propaganda in order for people to go and become one. It is praised as one of the best jobs with great pay. However, for whatever reasons, I've always pushed it aside, probably because my family always hints out this anti-"anything that looks boring" jobs. i.e. My dad thinks Pharmacy is stupid because all you do is sit behind the counter (and yet he's blissfully ignorant of the enormous pay they receive). Therefore, I kinda steered away from that. Throughout high school, I always found I excelled in math. It was always my strong point but even more than that, it is something I love. I love just working on Calculus problems or Number Theory problems, AMC type problems, etc. Granted, I'm not a math genius, I'd do terrible in AIME for example. Regardless, I knew that a career based in math was for me. Of course, being the ignorant kid that I was (and still am, I guess), I didn't know of many careers that could employ math, despite my math teachers always claiming it was useful. My parents quickly pushed me towards Engineering, something they deemed "worthy of my intellect". When I noticed I excelled in Chemistry (and developed a liking for the subject), I immediately added two and two together and ended up with Chemical Engineering. Of course, I researched to get some insight and all, and it sounded great.
Now, what's the problem?
Lately, I have been talking to some people who have had experience with other engineers, as well as uncle of mine who IS an engineer. I was more than disappointed when I heard that many of these engineers had gotten to a point where they couldn't even do basic calculus. My uncle himself could only do basic differentiation. So, I'm unsure of just how much /math/ is there really on Engineering. Also, certain threads on the Engineering forums have been less than stellar regarding Engineering pay and what they tend to do (that is, get an MBA and become consultants). Of course, to be honest, I'm not expert with hands-on type of things (I have always been more fond of theoretical things) so perhaps that is to my advantage. Regardless, it has sparked doubt in me as to whether I'm doing the right thing.
The other day, a group of friends and I were heading to an engineering competition with the club's sponsor, and a conversation about jobs came up. Of course, the teaching talked great things about engineering, but when we started talking about the best jobs in the market (aside from Software and Computer Engineering), Actuary came up. Now, I'm not too trusty of his source (he claimed that Mathematicians will be in high demand in the near future which sounds shaky imo), but bringing up Actuary brought back the same thoughts of considering it. Through an unrelated series of events, I also ended up in here in the "Other College Majors", researching stuff about Math majors when I noticed a few threads on being an Actuary. I was surprised to hear they used a lot of "math", but of course, after finding out the math used by engineers, I don't even know how much to trust it. I'm also unclear as to what Actuaries DO exactly (kinda in the same boat about engineering). I know they do "risk assessment" and all that, but I have yet to hear exactly a day in the life of an actuary (or in that of a Chemical Engineer).
So, my question is, what do I do exactly? I'm not saying tell me a career to choose but rather discuss one career vs. the other. Which one would someone who love math prefer? Technical vs theoretical? Which is more exciting? How true are most of the myths over Actuary(or are they just propaganda)?