We’re all about numbers here at SAS. So when the Global Certification program hit its 75,000th credential – we had to make it a big deal.
We tracked down the 75,000th credential holder to Susan Langan, a research analyst in Maryland, and what’s even more special than Langan holding the 75,000th credential holder title is how she’s using SAS to make the world a better place.
Langan analyzes HIV research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The information she discovers could save lives or even lead to a cure for the disease.
During our phone conversation, she told me how she started working with SAS about 15 years ago. Over time, she started using different capabilities of SAS in her job, so she decided to get certified as a Base Programmer. She had no idea it would lead to such a light-bulb moment.
“During the process of studying for the exam, I started to understand all of the programming stages like I never had before,” said Langan. “I learned how the data are read into SAS, gets processed through the program data vector and finally written to the new data set. After years of concentrating on code writing, it has been refreshing to now really know the behind-the-scenes process. This knowledge helps quickly pinpoint any problems encountered, and allows for quickly fixing and not repeating that error.”
With a full-time job and a six year-old daughter, Langan is like many other professionals I’ve interviewed who must prepare for a challenging exam while juggling a busy life. She devoted several weeks to intensively studying the SAS Certification Prep Guide and taking all of the quizzes and practice exams. “I think it’s helpful to be able to go through the prep guide and practice tests,” said Langan. “Preparing with SAS allowed me to work on catching errors in programs written by others – a nice perspective, since you don’t always get the luxury of writing all the programs on a project yourself. The exam was a good mix of memorization and applying my experiences with programming in SAS.”
Langan qualified for the academic discount, which gave her 50 percent off the exam. That discount is available to most employees, educators, students and staff in the field of academia.
Besides getting to learn a lot more about SAS through the certification prep, Langan also thinks the credentials are an important benchmark to show employers your proficiency.
“It’s a great way to show your level of competency,” said Langan. “It’s helpful if you want to move forward in your career. The credential is verifiable, which is reassuring for employers, and having the credential in hand clarifies your confidence as a SAS programmer.”
The next step for Langan is getting her Advanced Programmer certification. She’s already started studying and plans to devote much time and effort into learning more about Macros and SQL processing. With her renewed confidence, Langan is excited about learning even more about the power of SAS and sharing her knowledge with her team at work.
We congratulate Langan on earning her first SAS Certification and wish her continued success. Thank you for sharing your story and celebrating the big 75k.