I am a partially fledged pension actuary. I took several of the tests but did not finish.
There is another user on here called MikeTheActuary. He is a full-fledged Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
I have steered more toward the technology side, but still use my actuarial background. I really enjoyed what I learned in school and I especially enjoyed the co-op opportunities at the University of Waterloo. While I was still in university I worked for the Canadian government, an insurance company, and a consulting firm. This convinced me that I really liked consulting best.
I can't speak for the other branches of actuarial science but pension actuarial work is diminishing. Pension actuarial work focuses on defined benefit plans and there are fewer and fewer of those now.
NOT underestimate how hard the exams are. I was a very good student and didn't have to study much in university (and I went to the best Math program in North America). The exams floored me. I had never failed anything before I took SOA exams. You have to study, study, study. Studying 200 - 300 hours for an exam is normal - more than normal, NECESSARY. If you don't do that, you fail. It can get very difficult to be studying for exams when it's nice outside and you want to go do something but you can't because you haven't done your 3h of studying for the day yet. In the end, this is why I did not finish the exams. But once you pass the exams and get your designations, it is up to you whether you want to write more exams and get more designations. You can stop after ASA or FSA (ACAS or FCAS for casualty actuaries).
Now I realize that I didn't say anything about how I *like* my job. I really do like it. It can be stressful (imagine going to your client, an airline already in trouble, and telling them that they MUST, by law, put $100 million into their pension plan this year) but it is also very rewarding.
Do realize that actuaries no longer have 100% job security. The company I work for was bought by a competitor and all 75 of us in Seattle lost our jobs, plus another 150 in Atlanta. Several actuaries were included in that number. Another company here also closed their Seattle office recently. 10 years ago this would have been unheard of.
Hope that helps. Feel free to email me with any questions.