Landing a SAS Certification

Lauren Guevara
Lauren Guevara

After working as a flight attendant for more than 20 years, Lauren Guevara was ready for a new adventure.

The inspiration for her journey came from an article she read in CNN’s Money magazine that highlighted the earning potential of a SAS Certification. Also having earned a Master of Science in e-commerce years earlier, she naturally gravitated toward the computer industry.

“My mom was the one who encouraged me to read Money magazine,” said Guevara. “The article mentioned career advancements you can make by becoming a data miner and getting certified in SAS.”

After reading the article Guevara started researching SAS online and also purchased the book, Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide. That book started traveling the world with her. She devoted her downtime during layovers and breaks to reading. What she learned led her to a unique decision: become a SAS programmer.

Her first step was signing up for online e-learning courses in SAS Programming 1 and Programming 2. “I worked through both e-lessons and tried to learn everything before setting foot in a classroom,” said Guevara.

Eventually she felt ready for the classroom and attended SAS Programming 1 in the Charlotte, NC training center. The classroom training reinforced what she was introduced to in the e-courses and gave her an opportunity to ask more detailed questions. “Coming into this with no experience, classroom and e-learning together was the best way for me to learn it,” said Guevara. “I did a lot of fine tuning in the classroom.”

Guevara wanted to earn the SAS Certified Base Programmer Credential as a way to boost her credibility to potential employers.

“I noticed in the classroom that everyone had computer jobs or worked in the industry,” said Guevara. “Since I didn’t have that same experience, I felt it was necessary to have the credentials to back up my skills. SAS certifications are respected in the industry.”

Guevara purchased the base programming certification package offered by SAS, which included a training course, prep exam and certification exam voucher at a discounted price to help her prepare.

Another study tip she shared was reading the SAS Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS 9.

Guevara was a bit embarrassed to share that she didn’t pass the exam on her first attempt. However, she realized that it might be inspiring for others to know that it’s possible to fail and still achieve your goals. “The first time I took the exam, I wasn’t ready,” said Guevara, “but I wasn’t giving up. I went back and really started to understand the language better. You really have to know this stuff. It’s hard, but it’s possible.”

With her relentless determination, Guevara passed the base programmer exam and is working to earn the SAS Certified Advanced Programmer Credential by the end of the year. In the meantime, she’s going to attend the annual PharmaSUG event in Orlando to network with other SAS programmers.

Guevara eventually sees herself doing part-time contract work as a programmer, while still flying part time for the airline.

Who knew some simple motherly advice would lead Guevara on this life-changing path? Mom, of course! And she couldn’t be prouder of her daughter. “She sang a song when I finally passed the exam. She’s so happy.”

Learn more and start your SAS Certification journey.


About Author

Maggie Miller

Education and Training

+ Maggie Miller was formerly a communications specialist at SAS. You'll likely find her writing blogs, shooting videos and sharing it all on social media. She has nearly ten years of journalism experience that she brings to her writing to help you learn and grow with SAS. Follow on Twitter @maggiemiller0

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  1. Michael A Raithel on


    Wow; what an amazing story! Kudos to you for such gumption and drive; and welcome to the wonderful world of SAS programming; you will go far!

    aka Michael A Raithel

  2. Beverly Brown on

    What an inspiring story! Hat tip to Lauren for traveling outside her comfort zone to gain a recession-proof skill.

    • Maggie Miller
      Maggie Miller on

      Hi Prashant,
      Thank you for your comment. I have passed this along to our content creators for review. -Maggie

    • Cynthia Zender on

      If you run the Prep Guide program in SAS University Edition or in SAS OnDemand for Academics, there will be errors because the program was written before either of those methods of using SAS was available. To get a copy of the program that will work in either SAS University Edition or SAS OnDemand for Academics, please send mail to and ask for the revised data file.

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