Can a humanities major learn to program in SAS?


Before I started my internship with SAS, my only experience with data or analysis came from an “Introduction to Statistics” course I took freshman year to satisfy my math requirement. If I’d known then that statistics and knowing SAS programming would be the #1 skill for a bigger paycheck, or an “unemployment immunity card,” I would’ve taken notice!

As it turns out, I chose to study Spanish and intern here at SAS in External Communications. But I always wondered if someone like me, who really had no programming experience, could ever learn SAS. I got my chance this past summer when all the SAS interns were invited to a half-day training session with SAS® University Edition, the new free software from SAS for noncommercial use.

Sitting next to the experienced CompSci interns, I wondered if I’d be able to hack it. Then a marvelous thing happened: I actually wrote my first SAS program.

Sure, it was only four lines long. But it worked.

Some of the interns were experienced programmers and could probably code circles around the rest of us, but the fantastic thing about SAS University Edition is that anyone can work with it. Anyone can write a short program and play around with the data sets.

Even better, if you feel comfortable wading out of the kiddie pool, you can upload your own data. With all the treasure troves of data out there, you can use SAS to answer interesting questions. I always wanted to look at the published data from my university and see what the most dropped class is. (So I can avoid it, clearly).

While my SAS skills aren’t quite polished enough to tackle that question, I reached out to programming whiz and fellow intern Meredith Bailey to see what we could do with a new data set. Looks like what all my professors have been repeating is true: grade inflation is real. Hey, it never hurts to double-check!

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Whether you’re a computer genius or a novice—SAS University Edition is a great way to get your feet wet. It’s free, fun to play around with, and a great way to see if programming is something you’re interested in pursuing.

Download the software today!

What questions would you like to answer with SAS? (For example: I’d be thrilled with some empirical, SAS-based evidence that UNC is the best school in the universe.) Have you uncovered any interesting insights on your own? Comment below!


About Author

Natalie Meyer

Administrative Support Student

1 Comment

  1. Hi

    I wanted to know if I can learn sas programmer for free at home.because I got a
    call from company as they are providing me job as a analyst but I am nor sure if this company is a registered company or not in india and us.Hope to hear from you soon.

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