R vs STATA which is more valuable to an actuary?

I’m going to school to be an actuary and I am just now starting to learn the basics of different statistical software packages. I have used both STATA and R, and I’m not sure which I like better. If there are any actuaries out there reading this what do you prefer? I currently use STATA for my econometrics class, and I have used R in my previous statistics class, and I must say I’m not sure which I like better. However I am very interested in improving my knowledge about whichever is most commonly used for the field I’m looking to go into. So any advice?

And I appologize to anyone that doesn’t like my question because of the topic but I don’t know where else to post it to get real advice.


I passed a few of the actuarial exams before deciding that I did not want to be an actuary, so I don’t work as an actuary, but as a statistician (and I hire statisticians). I use R, but Stata is a good program as well (I like R in that for the same low price I can have it installed on my work computer, my laptop, my home computer, the computer at church, etc.).

My sister who is an FSA (retired now) primarily used Excel for her work, but we get along despite this.

Why do you feel the need to focus on only one? When I interview prospective employees, if they only know one program (even if it is my favorite) I don’t know if they can learn another if needed (or learn different parts of that one that they don’t know yet). But, if they know 3 programs (I don’t expect full expertise in all) even if my favorite is not included, then I am fairly confident that they can learn another if needed and learn more about the ones that they do know. So when I look at job candidates (granted not actuaries, but statisticians) I am more impressed by bredth in knowing multiple packages than depth in only 1 package. So I would recommend rather than choosing one to focus on that you develope your skills in both and probably add some basic knowledge in a 3rd (SAS would be good based on its history and wide spread use, but others could fill the 3rd slot as well).

Source : Link , Question Author : Kyle , Answer Author : Greg Snow

Leave a Comment