Learn from the past, look to the future

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately”
—Benjamin Franklin

Burlington, Vermont, 14 September—Here I sit in my room in the Burlington Hilton, damp from getting lost in a rainstorm walking around a small college town. I reflect: Why am I watching Monday Night Football instead of studying for the Certification Exam? Oh, yes, now I remember. It was the previous Saturday night and I was packing for NESUG, standing on my bathroom scale while holding my enormous airline-approved one bag. Hmmm. Forty-seven pounds. I bet that Certification Prep Guide weighs at least five pounds. Decision made. Prep Guide stays at home. More Vanity Fair magazines are added to carry-on luggage.

Cary, North Carolina, 24 September—Second blog post due for PROC CERTIFY; When I first began this challenge, I predicted that each blog post would include lamentations about procrastination and not having time to study. I’m pleased to report that this is not quite true, but I haven’t gotten as far as I’d hoped. I’ve completed Chapter 1: Basic Concepts of the Certification Prep Guide. I scored 90% on the quiz (the one I missed was tricky, trust me). Fortunately much of the material was familiar from the Programming I course I took last year, and once I got past mentally correcting “informats” to “informants” every time I read it, it was smooth sailing.

Back to NESUG. At the conference, the education division set up an area where people could take the practice exam, either Base or Advanced. Not wanting to destroy any vestige of self-confidence I had left, I didn’t try it, but I talked to many who did. Some aced the practice exam, but other people, some of whom used SAS in their day jobs, didn’t do as well as they expected and headed over to the Publications booth to buy a copy of the Certification Prep Guide.

Inspired by talking to all those at the conference who are the same boat as me (as well as a conversation I had with Mark Hendricks, a project manager with SAS who is also studying to become certified), my partner in martyrdom Christine and I have decided to set up biweekly study groups for anyone on the SAS campus or in the local area who wants to study with us. The idea is that we’ll assign ourselves a topic or a section in the Prep Guide to study and then come together every other week to discuss problems or issues that arise. If you are interested in joining us, either post a comment or send me an e-mail at stacey.hamilton@sas.com. I’ll send an Outlook invite for the organizational meeting, which I’ll schedule for the week of 5 October.

As always, we welcome your feedback and support!

tags: certification, nesug, PROC CERTIFY, sas press, stacey hamilton

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