Study confirms: SAS most valuable career skill


young man at laptop in libraryIf you're looking for higher pay and better opportunities, what career skills should you seek? You might think leadership or communication skills would top the list, but a recent study says otherwise.

A massive study from MONEY and found SAS analytics skills to be the most valuable. The study “analyzed 54 million employee profiles, across 350 industries, with 15,000 job titles—from entry-level workers to top execs."

SAS skills top a list of top 21 traits considered most valuable by employers. The study attributes this to the rise of big data, adding, “…companies can use this information to do things like target new customers, improve service, and offer more personalized products—as long as they employ folks who understand how to organize, analyze, and apply it.”

SAS skill = higher pay

Tech jobs, including front end engineer, data scientist and data engineer, dominate a recent Glassdoor ranking of the 50 Best Jobs in America. In a career advice article, the lead analyst for's salary database characterized data modeling as "highly valuable," that bigger paychecks result from growing your knowledge and aptitude in such a specialized skill. For an aspiring data analyst, for example, having SAS in their toolkit can mean a 17% larger paycheck than offered to a candidate without SAS know-how.

Career opportunities abound as demand for SAS talent soars at more than 80,000 customer sites around the world.

The study isolated “the specific skills (from a universe of about 2,300) correlated with higher pay, advancement, and career opportunity.” With an average pay boost of 6.1 percent, SAS was most valuable. Data mining and data modeling were also highly valuable skills, both of which are done with SAS.

Learn SAS for free

The good news? If you're not already a SAS user, you can learn SAS for free. There are options for adult learners, college students and professors...even high schoolers. In addition, colleges and universities around the world offer more than 150 degree or certificate programs with SAS. And SAS offers a slew of training options and internship opportunities. All these can lead to SAS certifications that are like catnip to employers.

If you just began your journey to learn SAS:

  • Explore the SAS Starter Kit where 5 quick steps start you on the right path.
  • Post your SAS software usage questions in the New SAS User Community, a place in the SAS Support Communities where we encourage newbies to ask anything.
  • Visit the SAS User YouTube channel for tutorials:

So, what path will you choose to the most valuable career skill?

(Editor's note: Since this post continues to receive traffic from search, we updated it to provide you with additional facts about the value of SAS skills and new resources to sharpen your SAS know-how.)


About Author

Trent Smith

Trent handles government and education communications for SAS. Opinions shared are his own...or someone else's...he's not much for original thought. But they definitely don't represent SAS.


  1. I need to know where can I get this course done, the duration of course and its fees. I am QA Auditor and I will even like to know SAS application in Healthcare, Clinical and Pharmaceutical Industry.

  2. Complete list of the top skills and their average pay boost:

    SAS (Statistical Analysis System): +6.1%
    Data Mining/Data Warehousing: +5.1%
    Search Engine Marketing: +5%
    Data Modeling: +5%
    Contract Negotiation: +5%
    Software development: +4.9
    Strategic Project Management: +4.4%
    Strategic Planning: +4.3%
    Technical Sales: +4.3%
    Customer Service Metrics: +4.3%
    Financial Analysis: +4%
    Risk Management / Risk Control: +3.9%
    SAP Material Management: +3.9%
    Business Analysis: +3.8%
    IT Security and Infrastructure: +3.7%
    Lean Manufacturing: +3.6%
    Forecasting: +3.5
    Clinical Education: +3.4%
    Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing: +3.4%
    Systems Troubleshooting: +3.3%
    Net Business Development: 3.0%

    • Trent Smith

      Thanks for sharing the full list. In addition to the pure data skills, many of the others would be supported by analytics. No surprise there!

  3. Sadqiue Hassan on

    I am AS400 developer with 7 years of experience , Is this SAS with help to boost my career as well as salary.

    What is starting packing in SAS.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Hello, Sadique.

      I'm not sure I understand your question, but the blog post contains links to several training options, including the no cost SAS University Edition, that can get you started learning SAS. Thanks.



    I am quality and regulatory professional , Which course best for SAS application in Healthcare, Clinical and Pharmaceutical Industry.

    • Trent Smith

      Hello, please use the links in the blog to explore the different options, some of which cost money, but many are free. Good luck!

  5. I feel a bit vindicated by this news! I got sucked in to a lot of debates on the Internet about which packages to learn for someone starting out in stats and data science. I went with SAS first for the simple reason that just about every job listing I looked at for the jobs I am interested in was looking for people certified or knowledgeable in SAS.

  6. Hi... I know that there are so many modules of sas... I have the good knowledge of sas basic and advance. But I am confused that which module should I opt for career growth. Please guide me to choose the right path

    • Trent Smith

      With your experience, it sounds like the next step would be for you to be SAS certified, or to add certifications. You can review all the certifications we offer on our main certification web page:

      But how do you decide on the right certification? To some extent, it depends on your job or future career that you want. If you have already earned the Base SAS Programmer and Advanced Programmer certifications, then you may want to consider one of our more advanced certifications. For example, if you have a background in statistics and want to perform modeling and data mining, then we have our Predictive Modeler using SAS Enterprise Miner and our Certified Statistical Business Analyst certifications. Both would be appropriate certifications to explore.

      On the other hand, if you are working with data and data warehouses, then the Data Integration Developer or the Data Quality certifications might be right for you.

      We recently awarded our 100,000th SAS certification credential. To celebrate this milestone, we’re offering a special discount on certification exams taken between August 1 – September 18. You can learn more about this offer on our web site:

      If you are ready to help your organization make sound forecasts and build analytical models that tackle larger and more complex data, you might want to explore our SAS Academy for Data Science

      The SAS Academy program is designed to prepare a Data Scientist who is competent in all of the following areas:
      --Statistics and machine learning
      --Coding languages, such as SAS, R or Python
      --Databases such as MySQL and Postgres
      --Data visualization and reporting technologies
      --Hadoop and MapReduce

      If you would like one-on-one consultation with one of our Curriculum Consultants, please send mail to or call our toll-free number: 800-727-0025 and ask for a Curriculum Consultant.

  7. I am oracle peoplesoft consultant(MBA) with less than 6 months of experience.Which sas module will be best for me.

  8. Hi all, I am wondering where in SAS world I would fit in. I did 20 years of IT 12 years of which was spent on SAP Basis but now I like to switch to SAS. I would like to get the training and go for the certificate. Is the training in depth or just an overview and get a feel for kind?

  9. Pablo Orosco Jerger on

    SAS knowledge is great and boosts a career at several business levels.
    Anyhow it is not only an issue to have SAS knowledge but also the correspondindig business / process know-how in the corresponding area, eg: Pharmaceutical Industry, Finance, etc. to use SAS appropriately.

  10. I am an internal audit professional in real estate business, I would like to learn how SAS could be used in this context. Is there any suggestions on the course or certificate to take?


    i'm a science student i:e pursued bachelor in pharmacy. i just want to know what SASam i eligible to apply .which one is good to opt? and howz the scope

    • Trent Smith

      Hello, Sharath.
      We do not have any certifications specific to pharmacy students or pharmacists. However, if you are interested in gaining SAS skills that you can apply in any industry, the Base SAS Certification and the Statistical Business Analyst Certification are the best places to start because:
      1) They can be practice with the free SAS University Edition software
      2) They are applicable to many different industries
      3) Two of the classes recommended as preparation for those two certifications are free self-paced e-learning (Programming 1 and Statistics 1)

  12. Hi my name is ugo. Have my first degree in maths/statistics. I would like to kno which training would best fit me in for the SAS

  13. Respected actually i am working as PHP developer with having 2 years of exp but i want to switch the technology. Please suggest me , Will SAS be good and understandable for new learners like me?

  14. Hi I had >5 years of experience in pharma R&D and would like switch to SAS. Could you please suggest how to move further?career opportunities?

  15. I am finding it bit hard to find which SAS product will be best option to get into better oppurtunity for my profile being as Project Manager for software product and have exp on Data analysis stuffs like BI tool and MSSQL Query based reports etc. Please guide to choose right SAS Product to do certification.

    • Trent Smith

      Hi Antony,
      This information should be useful to you, as well as some of the other recent commenters.

      You can review all our certifications on the main certification web site here: However, we typically recommend that you research job requirements in your target field to see whether you need SAS certification, and if so, what certification you need or whether you need SAS skills. For example, working in a DNA research lab, you might need SAS skills, and not necessarily a certification; but working at a retail business or a financial institution, you might be asked for either a Base SAS Programmer certification, an Advanced SAS Programmer certification or a Statistical Business Analyst certification. For a different job role, such as working on Clinical Trials, you might need a Clinical Trials Programmer certification. For all of the certifications I’ve mentioned, you would still start with Programming 1. Rather than think of learning SAS from a "product" approach, think of what you need/want to do in the future.

      In general, if you will be performing data analysis and predictive modeling then start with Programming 1 and Statistics 1 classes. If you will be doing reporting and data management then look at Programming 1 and Programming 2 classes. Either way, you would start with Programming 1 which is available for free as self-paced e-learning.

      I hope that helps, and good luck!


  16. I wonder if there's a Market for SAS in Japan, I wanna move there so I'm trying to sharpen my skills in the most common requirements for Jobs there (Java, PHP, Ruby)...

    But I have some experience with SAS and Business Intelligence, I just don't know how much they use such things in Japan

  17. Hello
    I am Senior Systems Analyst from last 17 years. I developed web and desktop applications using Microsoft technologies (.Net, C#, ASP.Net, MVC, SQL server). I am interested in learning in SAS and not sure which track is good for me and good based on my programming experience. I am very good on database design and data modeling/reports.
    While you please guide me on this.


  18. Hi, I have 4years of work experience,3years in SAS Programming and 1year in SAS ADMIN. Also I have cleared BASE SAS Certification and planning to write A02400 Modeling certification in few days. Please suggest me the next step to boost up my career.

  19. hi, I have sound knowledge of base sas , sas sql sas macros, I knew sas di studio, sas eg,sas web reporting studio, sas information map studio. but I didn't get any opportunity explore my skills, I update my cv in job portal .my education is I have two years of experience in bpo sector. I expect some guidance from this site for my career growth. below is my Emil id .

    Srikanth mj

  20. Hi, Did you find any opportunities yet? Did you get the certificates of the above products and programs?

  21. Sanjna Girdhar on

    Hi, I am about to take the SAS base certification exam soon. What job title should I use to look for a job? I have no prior experience in coding. Thanks!

Back to Top