Teaching SAS coding is fun. The best part of teaching is hearing success stories from candidates who earn a SAS certification after taking SAS training.
Suiru Jiang is an MBA candidate who successfully passed her SAS certification exam. She took my five-day SAS programming fast track course at Goodman School of Business at Brock University.
Question 1: Why did you want to get SAS certified? What do you think are the benefits to certification?
Suiru: SAS is a powerful statistical platform which can access a variety of data. SAS is derived from the English language which makes understanding as well as application of this programming language easy.
Big data is the future trend. Data analysts have bright prospects. The biggest benefits of getting SAS certified is how it opens doors to employment. SAS certification demonstrates that you can learn your job more quickly.
Question 2: What SAS courses did you take? How did SAS training help you? Could you have learned SAS without structured training?
I took your five-day long SAS programming course. As the instructor, you explained logic connections between all the chapters very clearly, otherwise we would hardly be able to understand why we need to choose a certain statement or option to reach our analysis goal.
Can we learn SAS by ourselves? This is a question I have been asked many times by friends. Instead of giving you a vague definition, I’ll just use myself as a benchmark for you to measure your own situation.
I am a computer science major. I got scholarships every year. I learned C, assembly language and a bit of Java during my bachelor’s degree studies. In the beginning, while learning SAS, I found the similarity of all programming languages because it deals with computers which is still a machine that just processes your orders.
But my friends who have no programming background had difficulty in understanding why we need to build a library each time we reopen SAS software, the logic to access data, or how to create new data in libraries, etc. All these problems were based on zero knowledge of the programming environment. But after understanding the computing environment, they were able to better grasp the main idea and logic of programming.
When you are learning by yourself, especially at the very beginning, the most difficult part of programming is not remembering hundreds of programming statements but to set a foundation for your programming. Logic is vital and it is the foundation of all the activities you do over software. The book may not be enough for you to visualize concepts, although textbooks can illustrate theories to you, can show you examples and quiz you, but the depth of understanding varies from person to person. If the programming world is an uncultivated field for you, you do not have the basic idea and benchmark, how do you know which level you reached?
So, unless you are super smart, you would be better off to take at least some level of basic training to ensure you enter the programming world with the right foot.
Finally, I still took time to go through all the materials in the book and in notes to ensure I passed the exam. This year in my class, only three out of 36 passed the SAS certification exam.
Question 3: What did you do after SAS training? Any specific links that you found helpful that you might like to share to help others looking to get certified?
Suiru: Because of my busy study program, I only read the textbook and my class notes to prepare for the exam. I know Charu has a blog where she shares SAS tips and answers to business problems. I think I’ll start from her blog and do some data mining to find some shortcuts.
Question 4: What are your next steps?
Suiru: I plan to prepare for the advanced level of SAS programming. After all, I chose to be a data analyst in the future. The more I learn today, the better I will get repaid in the future.
Question 5: Tell me something you do outside of your SAS learning in your MBA program. What suggestions do you have for others to do in addition to learning SAS? Any advice that may help them expand their horizon and make them well rounded for an effective job search.
Suiru: The study load to finish an MBA program is heavy, but I still manage to squeeze time for extra-curricular activities. I am now the secretary of the International Student Association in Brock University. I volunteer in various events like the ice wine festival. I am learning to play guitar. I hosted and performed in the festival celebration party in my church. I also got a certification for success in Brock University provided by the international center. Lastly, as you know, I earned a SAS Certification.
As an international student, if your main goal is to find work and get yourself integrated into the society, extra-curricular activities count. Do not make excuses to stop learning. Also, learn some basic programming that can equip you for the changeable future. Treat your programming course as an investment that will pay off in the future in the form of your job.