Today, SOA announced they are planning to make future changes based on the "critical challenges facing the SOA":
It seems like the Board's biggest takeaway from their research was that actuaries need to have more data science training. Here's the plan to modify the education framework:
We aim for a more flexible education system with multi-purpose, stackable education components:
- Increase the amount of education in data science, AI and machine learning.
- Customizable education with “on” and “off” ramps
- Offering new ways of education and testing with EQ and AQ
- Ensure core and specialized education meets current and future demands
- Educate to prevent unintentional bias in models and data analysis
I tend to agree that actuaries need more data science skills in order to stay relevant as a profession. The challenge the SOA (and CAS) will face is doing it in a way that maximizes the benefit to employers and society for actuaries to apply data science within the risk management context. The insurance and risk management context is not something a traditional data science education provides.
I don't think it makes sense for actuarial organizations to focus on providing data science education. Instead, they should focus on educating people with a data science background how to apply their knowledge to risk management, and occasionally provide deeper data science education in areas that are particularly useful in the actuarial profession. There are currently much better ways to get a data science education than through an actuarial organization (e.g. Data Camp, Kaggle, a university, etc.)
The best actuaries of the future will have a great data science education, and they will also get educated and have experience in finance and risk management applications.
It seems like SOA/CAS will try to provide data science education to make it a one-stop-shop for becoming an actuary. Maybe that will work, but I think the profession is better suited if we rely on data science education from places providing that education in a general business context.