CAS Student Central sat down with Amy Brener, director of The CAS Institute (iCAS), to get responses to some of your frequently asked questions about iCAS and the Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA) credential.
What is The CAS Institute?
The CAS Institute – or iCAS for short – is a subsidiary of the CAS. It was formed in 2015 to provide new specialty credentials for both actuaries and non-actuaries in the insurance industry.
What is the CSPA credential?
“CSPA” stands for Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics. It’s the first credential being offered by The CAS Institute. The CSPA provides evidence of practical knowledge in applied predictive analytics and data science. Professionals who pursue the CSPA do not need to be actuaries.
How does the CSPA differ from actuarial credentials?
All iCAS credentials, including the CSPA, are designed for any professional seeking recognition in specialized quantitative practice areas related to traditional actuarial work, such as predictive analytics, data science and catastrophe model analytics. The credentials are intended to stand on their own for data analytics professionals, but they also serve as a complement to actuarial training for actuaries working in more technical analytics roles.
iCAS actually recently released a short video that outlines details about the credential, including the story behind its creation and the basic requirements. The video also features interviews with data science professionals talking about the CSPA. Details about the CSPA requirements are available on our website.
Should I, as a university student, consider pursuing and earning an iCAS credential?
iCAS programs are not designed to be “entry-level” credentials. These credentials are designed for experienced professionals already working in specialized quantitative practice areas in the insurance sector or closely related sectors such as banking, risk management and capital markets. Professional experience provides the necessary on-the-job training and applied knowledge required to become credentialed by The CAS Institute. After obtaining experience through an industry position, iCAS credentials can help you stand out in a competitive job market by demonstrating mastery of the technical skills needed for success in a rapidly-changing field. A professional credentialing program provides benefits over graduate programs or boot camps in these complementary specialty areas because you can gain experience applying skills outside the classroom environment, which could include developing practical, real-world examples for your portfolio.
Should actuarial majors pursue iCAS credentials?
Actuarial students are not a target population for iCAS credentials, so I wouldn’t necessarily encourage actuarial majors to pursue iCAS credentials while in school. The credentialed actuary pathway is very specific and rigorous. It requires students to complete actuarial-related coursework and pass actuarial exams while gaining work experience through actuarial internships and training programs. Once you’re in a professional role and credentialed as an actuary, then you’ll get the experience and knowledge you’ll need to earn an iCAS credential.
How should I prepare to become certified by iCAS in data science and predictive analytics?
If you’re studying data science, computer science, statistics, and predictive analytics, you’ll be able to get a job in a specialized quantitative practice area upon graduation. What you’ve learned in school, coupled with on-the-job experience, will help position you to earn iCAS credentials down the road.