Mission: SAS certification in 25 days

Damir Olejar isn’t a superhero, but he accomplished quite a feat -- passing the SAS Certified Base Programmer credential in 25 days.

Olejar was on the fast track because he needed the credential to satisfy a prerequisite for a job offer. However, he wishes he would have spent more time taking in the material.

I asked him a few questions about how he used just 25 days to prepare.

Did you have any prior programming knowledge that helped?

I had no prior SAS knowledge, however, knowing JAVA, SQL, C and even some old ZX-Basic (for example, use of a DIM) helped me a lot. (He also has an educational background in Cognitive Science, AI, and Data-Mining.)

How many hours/days did you devote to studying?

Between 4-8 hours on a daily basis. However, I made sure to relax a lot whenever I felt tired, and not to overload myself. Approximately, I relaxed every third day while I studied about 8 hours every other day. I made no exceptions for holidays or weekends. SAS-Base is overloaded with many details, so it should be studied slowly.

What are your best test tips?

There are two books that I would recommend:

- SAS Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS 9

- Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer's Guide

These two books cover the same material, and I would recommend studying from a second one while using the Certification Prep Guide for exercises. Get as many questions and exercises from as many books as possible.

SAS is to be understood, while every single detail matters. Take as much time as you need while studying and try to understand all details. Choose the books that ask questions that look like the SAS Certification Prep Guide's questions. Although you should find the author that suits you more, this does not hold while doing the exercises. Do everything, until you know them blindfolded.

Do spend time understanding the questions and answers, instead of learning it all by the heart. Learning the answers by heart will not help; it may have the opposite effect.

There is a plenty of time, and timing is not something to be concerned about. Instead, being honest about knowing (or not knowing) the answer will save you time for completing the other questions.

Organizing yourself will help you speed up the studying. Although organizing information may look like a waste of time, it is a form of a passive studying.

What advice would you give to others thinking about getting certified?

I truly wish I did not panic for being timed. I was so nervous that I finished early.

There will be plenty of time while taking this exam. Furthermore, I wish I had more time to prepare for an exam (instead of having a certificate as the means to satisfy the job offer), since it is worth acing such a nicely-developed challenge. It really feels great having a first certificate (ever) in your hands, while I can now only imagine how amusing it would feel obtaining a much higher mark.

Are you considering any more SAS certifications?

Indeed, I am considering doing the SAS Certified Advanced Programmer for SAS 9 Credential ASAP, should my career include the SAS programming.

 

There’s more information online about the SAS Global Certification program and how to get started. You can also email your questions to certification@sas.com.

tags: certification, sas books

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