Learn SAS on your own time with these simple steps

SAS Mini MOOC!!! What is MOOC? Yes, this was the big question from attendees who visited our Data Science Skills pod at SAS Forum UK 2016 – If you missed the forum, here are the resources. I also thought: why don’t write about it?

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course - free online learning, open for everyone, which you can use as part of a university course to improve your skills. Apparently, the term was created by Dave Cormier  (the Project Lead for Student Relations Management at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada) in 2008 as a response to a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08), run by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council. Then 2012 became “the year of the MOOC”, when top universities started to implement the model. More about its history can be found in Wikipedia.

Dave Cormier suggests five different steps to success in a MOOC:

  1. Orient: Materials, links and time.
  2. Declare: Have a place for your thoughts, maybe a blog.
  3. Network: Follow other people and make some connections.
  4. Cluster: Find yourself a cluster of people to connect with, a community for sharing.
  5. Focus: in what you want to achieve at the end of the course.

Now, we know what MOOC is, let me tell you about SAS’ Mini-MOOC. To make your journey with SAS simpler, we condensed all the SAS free resources and materials into six simple steps; the perfect route to get started with SAS and learn in your own time.

So, let’s navigate throughout the steps:

Step 1: Download the free SAS University Edition Software


Yes, hit the button: Get free software, and start using world-class analytics software used by more than 80,000 business, government and university sites around the world. That means you'll be using the latest statistical and quantitative methods available, which allow you to build your analytical skills and prepare for gratifying careers across all industries.

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Working with the Hidden Markov Model

Editor's note: This post is part of a series of blogs written by SAS interns. To check out more posts written by our awesome interns, visit our SAS Intern Life blog series webpage.

Making a difference at SAS: My current project

the hidden markov modelI am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the Department of Economics at North Carolina State University and earlier this year I secured a graduate student internship with SAS. For the last several months I've been working as an econometric fellow in the Econometrics Time Series group and have been fortunate enough to work on some very interesting things. One project has been particularly exciting (and it matches my dissertation) - developing the new Hidden Markov model (HMM) procedure for next year’s release.

HMM has been widely applied in engineering and the Artificial Intelligence industry, including signal processing and speech recognition (like Siri and Cortana, or the automatic subtitles in YouTube). Hidden means you can observe a sequence of signals, but do not know the sequence of states the model went through to generate the signals. Markov represents the hidden states or regimes evolve according to the transition probability under some assumptions.

Naturally, the HMM can also be applied in the financial market, since the asset prices are the signals you can observe, and the states of the economy are not known to most people. The one identifies the incoming bull or bear market and can make a fortune or avoid a loss. With the new multivariate HMM model, we can identify the most possible sequence of hidden states producing the combination of signals.

For example, by evaluating the return of the portfolio of 10 different stocks, we can find out the hidden states and how these stocks perform in each state. Then, by predicting the probability of incoming states, we can select the investing strategy accordingly. The following figure demonstrates how we used HMM to break down the stock index returns using S&P 500 data. We assume there are five states of the return process and the number of states also can be totally data driven. From the graph, we can clearly see each state cover a market condition, including positive return, negative return, the one with high volatility or peaceful period, etc.


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Students in analytics: Sara Armandi

Next up in our series, Students in Analytics, we feature a recent graduate – Sara Armandi.

Sara graduated from the University of Copenhagen earlier this year and stayed close to SAS – very close. She’s part of graduate program that SAS offers to help her develop her skills as a data scientist.

Hear more about her experience with the SAS graduate program in her area.

Interested in a career using SAS? Visit the getting started with SAS webpage to find all the resources to help you – it could even lead to your own job at SAS.

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Clinton and Trump take Twitter

Clinton and Trump take Twitter

Clinton vs. Trump 2016: Analyzing and Visualizing Sentiments towards Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s Policies

Oklahoma State University graduate student Siddharth Grover has always been interested in politics, so the idea to analyze the Twitter buzz around the US presidential candidates came naturally to him. He did a similar analysis of the General Election in India, while getting his MBA there in 2014.

For this project, Grover analyzed trending topics, keywords and sentiment of the tweets sent from both candidates’ Twitter accounts @realdonaldtrump and @hillaryclinton plus trending hashtags like #trump2016 and #clinton2016, from April to June 2016.

He also collected information on the number of followers, retweets, and “favorited” tweets for both candidates. As we all know during campaign season, political candidates are prolific, so the volume amounted to about 200,000 tweets. In three months.

Using SAS® Enterprise Miner and SAS® Sentiment Analysis Studio, Grover analyzed the contents of every tweet, examining each candidate’s views on the top issues (immigration, taxes, gun control, etc.) and identifying patterns of sentiment and how they shifted across time and geographic regions. He presented his findings at the Analytics Experience 2016 conference. The results were fascinating.

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Students in analytics: Lucy D’Agostino

As we continue our Student in Analytics series, we chat with Lucy D’Agostino.

Lucy is a PhD student at Vanderbilt University studying biostatistics. She believes SAS is an essential tool to have in your “tool belt” -- and something that will give you an advantage in your career.

Listen to some other tips from Lucy on what SAS resources she finds most helpful.

Another tip for people interested in learning SAS is downloading SAS University Edition. This free version of SAS will allow you to get hands on with the software. If you need some formal training, there’s free e-courses and tutorials to help. Visit the getting started with SAS webpage to find all the resources.

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How interns can be entrepreneurs

#sasinternlifeWhat can interns have in common with Steve Jobs? Their spirit -- an entrepreneurial spirit.

These days, the role of an entrepreneur isn’t just reserved for those launching startups. Drive, passion, and overall entrepreneurial spirit can resonate within all employees, including interns, even at large global companies.

Interning at a leading global tech company is any student’s dream. Filled with great minds and collaborative teams, SAS is an amazing place for interns to gain free knowledge (and college students love free stuff). Since I started as a SAS intern in the summer of 2015, I’ve noticed the great similarities between interns and entrepreneurs. While entrepreneurs utilize their assets, take risks, and seek potential investors, interns make use of valuable SAS resources, tackle projects and new learning opportunities, and network with those who could potentially invest in their future careers.

Anyone can be an entrepreneur and bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the workplace, especially interns who are fresh faces to the company and can bring novel ideas to the table. Here are some ways I think interns can start being an entrepreneur:

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How can we design software to help law enforcement catch the bad guys and avert terrorist activities?

This was one tough question asked of a highly driven group of 30 local teenagers who participated in a challenge event hosted by SAS Scotland in the Glasgow office on Aug. 9.

student program

"The Recruit" is an intensive summerlong challenge programme for 16- and 17-year-olds from the Inverclyde region, near Glasgow. Its objective is “Developing Business Leaders of the Future." The challenges of the programme are loosely based on TV show "The Apprentice," along with a strong education element, and entrepreneurship aimed at raising funds for charity.

The SAS team in Scotland gave an overview of how SAS helps customers solve real-life problems, and gave a detailed presentation on roles in Research & Development and software development. SAS industry specialist and former senior police expert John Gillon presented an overview of the intelligence life cycle, captivating the young students with real-life examples from his experiences within Police Scotland.

The challenge set was in two parts: Firstly, the students were given a real-world task of open-source intelligence gathering, collating, managing, and summarising events from the series of European terrorist attacks in November 2015. They learned that often information can be conflicting and fuzzy, often repeated information made it difficult to find lost nuggets of intelligence quickly, and that accurately and concisely summarising this when briefing others can be challenging.

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SAS and Capella Women in Analytics Scholarship

It’s been called the sexiest job of the 21st century and the most valuable career skill you can add to your resume. Of course, I’m talking about analytics. And whether you call them statisticians, data scientists or business analysts, individuals with analytics skills are in high demand.

SAS is doing its part to help expand the pool of analytics professionals. We offer students and adult learners free access to SAS software and free, full-length courses in statistics and SAS programming to get them started. Our latest effort is the Capella and SAS Women in Analytics Scholarships.

The program helps address what a McKinsey Global Institute says will be a shortage of 200,000 analytical professionals by 2018, while encouraging women to pursue careers in analytics.

Capella and SAS announced the program’s first recipients on August 30. Two full scholarships for Capella’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Data Analytics program and two scholarships for Capella’s Master of Science in Analytics program were awarded.

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Analytics Shootout and Poster Contest Winners Announced

The new Analytics Experience 2016 conference is right around the corner! For students that means opportunities to be recognized for their analytics expertise through two contents associated with the event.

Analytics Shootout

Every year, SAS, along with the Institute for Health and Business Insight at Central Michigan University, team up to bring you the Analytics Shootout.  This is a team competition where students get to solve a hypothetical, real-world business problem.  This year’s problem focuses on the Baby Boomer generation, and the impacts to the health care system as this population ages.  Teams are given tasks, things to consider, and data sets to solve this problem.  The Top 3 teams receive an all-inclusive trip for the faculty advisor and one team member to attend the conference.  Teams also get to present their work during a 15-minute presentation. First, second and third place will be announced at the conference.

analyticssshootoutThe competition was fierce this year, and we are pleased to announce, in no particular order, the Top 3 teams of the 2016 Analytics Shootout!

  • Team 13 - University of Central Florida
  • Team 39 - University of Georgia
  • Team 2 - University of Oregon

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The well-equipped student: Using SAS University Edition, the Jupyter Notebook, and e-Learning

SAS University Edition, the Jupyter Notebook, and e-LearningNot long ago, the well-equipped student entering the job market would only need a degree on their resume. Now, certifications and other advanced skills developed outside of a degree program are becoming essential. In response to growing market demands and the increased importance of analytics, data science, and big data skills at top organizations around the world, students who want to get ahead of the game are wise to include SAS as part of their education. Fortunately, SAS provides learning tools at no cost for individuals who are looking to advance or grow these valuable analytical skills.

The free tools that SAS provides include SAS University Edition, which bundles access to both SAS Studio and Jupyter Notebook, SAS e-Learning courses and complete online tutorials.

SAS e-Learning

You might find yourself asking, “where do I start if I want to gain SAS skills?” Well, in order to learn the knowledge to begin programming in SAS, you can take both the e-Learning Statistics 1 and Programming 1: Essentials courses. Both are available on the SAS website at no cost. The Statistics 1 course focuses on t-tests, ANOVA, linear regression and logistic regression, while the Programming 1: Essentials course focuses on navigating the SAS environment, reading various types of data into SAS data sets, creating SAS variables and subset data and creating and enhancing listing and summary reports.  These courses will give you a good foundation as you begin your journey with SAS programming.

SAS University Edition

If you need access to SAS Software, check out SAS University Edition. Because it runs on your local machine, it is one of the easiest ways to practice SAS on your own.  No internet access is required, making it mobile and convenient. SAS Studio, the web application used with SAS University Edition, is a powerful interface that comes with dozens of built-in tasks including filtering, transposing and sorting data.

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