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I recently received a newsletter from 80,000 Hours noting that new career profile pages had been posted on the 80,000 Hours site. Since I've explored a couple of the careers mentioned there, I wanted to share some thoughts and ask some questions:

Data Science:

  • The career profile mentions that Zipfian Academy is a high-quality bootcamp which accepts people who don't have a science PhD. I know that lots of people from LW and EA have gone through App Academy's program and have recommended it; has anyone here attended Zipfian Academy?
  • Has anyone gone to one of the other data science bootcamps?


Actuarial Science:

I'm going to play devil's advocate here, rather than being balanced; I think that becoming an actuary could be a great choice for some effective altruists. Still, there are a few issues that weren't explicitly covered in the 80,000 Hours post on actuaries:

  • Lots of the work that entry-level actuaries do could be automated in the future. Re-computing insurance rates for a given policy in a given state is sometimes just an issue of plugging new numbers into an old excel spreadsheet.
  • I've read a couple posts on actuarial forms complaining that there is a surplus of trainee actuary candidates. Posters sometimes complain that this is because of e.g. recent news articles which have (correctly) claimed that actuaries have high job satisfaction and high salaries.
  • Actuaries typically spend about a fourth of their first 4-8 years of work obtaining a professional certification. If the field becomes deregulated, salaries for upper-level actuaries could drop substantially.







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Hopefully we'll have comments available on the career profiles soon so you'll be able to drop your thoughts on there. :)

Thank you for the feedback! We'll take these points into account when we next update the profiles.

I think the difficulty with going to a data science bootcamp without a science PHD or partial PHD is that you are then entering a job market competing with other bootcamp graduates who do have a PHD as an additional qualification. If you have already impressive other qualifications thats probably fine but otherwise you seem at a non-trivial disadvantage all other things being equal

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