I am frequently contacted by students who are nearing graduation, have SAS skills, and are interested in working here at SAS or for one of our customers. In my conversations with these students, they are eager to point out any SAS certifications they have earned. Likewise, I am often contacted by students who have not yet learned SAS but know that it will help them get a job. They want to know how to get started and whether or not they should get certified. I know that I am a bit biased, so I’ve made it a point to find out why students seek out SAS Certification. I recently had the pleasure of talking about this very question with Laura Ladrie, Academic Program Coordinator for the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University. The students graduating from that program are in high demand and their job placement is exceptional. One aspect of the program, is that they have made SAS certification an optional part of the program. Laura was kind enough to contribute a blog about the program, why it includes SAS certification, and some of the students have also shared their perspective as well. Here is what Laura shared.
The Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University has been offering optional certification opportunities to its students since launching in 2007. The program, which concentrates on educating the whole individual and on practical, applied use of analysis to solve real world problems, has found SAS certifications to be very popular with students and employers alike. Since the first Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) class graduated in 2008, at least three quarters of our students in each class have earned Base SAS Certification. Class of 2012 was the first to achieve 100% Base SAS Certification. What’s more, up to 50% of the students will be Advance SAS Certified upon graduation and 75% will be Predictive Modeler certified as well. Is it any wonder that last year’s MSA graduates enjoyed a 100% placement rate within 60 days of graduation?
Brand recognition for SAS Certification by employers is well acknowledged and I have observed that certification helps MSA students distinguish themselves from other analysts in the field. These certifications affirm the abilities of MSA students to competently use SAS software as well as to apply analytical techniques to solve problems facing all industries that accumulate data. Certification also allows students to benchmark their abilities with other programmers around the world. What’s more, it opens doors to positions that would otherwise be unavailable, especially for the younger analysts who do not have years of industry experience.
Working at the Institute for Advanced Analytics I have found SAS Certifications to be very beneficial all the way around and well worth the training and investment necessary. It is one of the characteristics that sets the MSA program above its peers and allows its graduates to be highly sought after in these challenging economic times. Thank you SAS!
Academic Program Coordinator
Institute for Advanced Analytics
North Carolina State University
Here’s what the students in the program have to say….
My initial reasoning behind pursuing these SAS certifications was to boost my resume. It has been commented on many times, that for a technical career there are few greater eye-catchers on a resume than a SAS certification. Interestingly enough, I think the greatest gain I have had the pleasure of benefiting from, is the actual process of preparing for the certification exams. The rigorous learning required during the preparation process has been of as much a benefit to me as the actual certifications themselves.
I was interested in earning a SAS certification because these certifications are recognized everywhere. I have asked several alumni from my program for career advice and almost all of them indicated that knowing SAS has helped them be a more versatile analyst in their new careers. During the process of preparing for these certification exams, I found that I learned a lot of important techniques that I might have not necessarily learned had I not been pursuing the certification. I feel I am now a much better analyst and have a broader skill set. My SAS certifications give me an edge over other job candidates. The job market is flooded with well-qualified applicants, and having a SAS certification is an effective way for me to let the employers know that I can start working and contribute from day one.