2 days. 2 exams. 2 SAS certifications.

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Shang_Hua_Wu.newIn just one weekend Shang-Hua Wu went from a SAS user to a super SAS user by getting not just one, but two SAS certifications – SAS Certified Base Programmer and SAS Certified Advanced Programmer.

Wu wanted to earn his certifications to position himself for new career opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. “I wanted to prove myself,” said Wu. “I knew I could do that after I got the certifications.”

Wu is currently a statistician at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research where he uses SAS software to evaluate health policy programs. He’s proud to say he’s the first employee in his office to earn a SAS credential.

Preparing for the exams

Wu is the type of person who attempts to take two certification exams in two days, so his way of studying would, of course, be unorthodox.

He spent just one month prior to the tests reading the certification prep guides for both the base and advanced programmer exams. He read about two or three chapters a day. And don’t forget he also has a full-time job.

“I think it was helpful that I use SAS daily in my job,” said Wu. “I believe practice is more important than reading. If you have the experience, it’s easier to understand the logic behind it.”

Exam weekend

Wu registered to take both exams during SAS Global Forum 2015 in Dallas. Did everything go smoothly during the tests? Of course not -- that’s not how Wu does things.

He got to Dallas on a Saturday afternoon and sat for the base programmer exam soon after he landed. That first day was pretty smooth – by Wu standards.

On Sunday, he forgot the exam started at 9 a.m. and showed up late. “I couldn’t believe that I forgot the time,” said Wu. “I told them I came from Los Angeles and that I wanted to take the exam so badly.” The proctor finally agreed to let him take the exam as long as he finished by the deadline. Wu completed it in less than two hours.

After the exams, Wu spent the next few days attending the conference where he was recognized as a Junior Professional award winner. “It was a wonderful journey for me,” said Wu. “I learned a lot and now I can see how SAS is used in many different industries. It really broadened my eyes.”

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Advice for others

Practice. Practice. Practice. Wu says hands-on experience with SAS software is key to passing the exams. “When you run a code you will see the errors,” said Wu. He also suggests reading the certification prep guides. “My other piece of advice is to be on time for the exam,” joked Wu.

What’s next?

By the end of the year, Wu hopes to have his credential as a SAS Certified Clinical Trials Programmer.

I have no doubt someone as motivated and fearless as Wu will be successful in achieving his next goal. And if I learned anything from interviewing him, it’s that he’ll also have a crazy story to go along with his new credential.

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Get your SAS certification

You can take SAS certification exams at the following:

  • Any business day at more than 4,500 Pearson VUE test centers located around the world.
  • SAS events such as SAS Global Forum, the Analytics series and many others.
  • Regional users conferences.
  • SAS country offices and training facilities.
  • Select universities (Don’t forget - students and faculty receive a 50 percent discount).

Interested in challenging yourself like Wu? Our Analytics 2015 conference in Las Vegas is the perfect setting. Exams will be held prior to the conference on Oct. 24 and 25. Attendees receive a 50 percent discount on the exams.

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About Author

Maggie Miller

Education and Training

+ Maggie Miller is 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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