Free training course: SAS Programming for R Users


Are you ready to expand your programming skills and become a more versatile programmer? Then this new (and free!) course might be for you.

SAS Programming for R Users is a free course aimed at helping R programmers who want to learn SAS. The goal is for you to be comfortable accomplishing both common and specialized tasks in SAS by the end of the course.

I recently had the chance to talk to one of the course developers, Jordan Bakerman. He’s juggling an internship at SAS and working on his PhD in statistics from N.C. State University. He’s a whiz at both SAS and R – which is why he played a big part in helping SAS develop this course.

sas programming for R usersWhat will students learn in this course?

The course is targeted to experienced R users who have little to no experience with SAS programming. You will begin with basic SAS programming skills such as reading in external data, creating new variables and functions, and generating statistical graphics. After mastering the basics you will gain experience working with descriptive and inferential procedures such as linear models, generalized linear models, and mixed models. Finally, the course ends with an in depth look at the Interactive Matrix Language and statistical simulation. Other topics sprinkled throughout the course include the output delivery system to customize results and macro programming for unsupervised scripting.

What will students be surprised to learn in this course?

First, SAS OnDemand for Academics is FREE for students, teachers, and independent learners. It gives users access to Base SAS (the foundation of all SAS software which allows users to easily manage data), SAS/ACCESS (provides several tools to easily access external data), SAS/STAT (a wide variety of statistical methods and techniques), SAS/IML (a matrix language for more specialized analyses), and SAS/ETS (a suite of time series forecasting procedures). Second, SAS/IML is an extensive matrix language which can be used to customize analyses, create complex functions, and conduct a variety of simulations.

Is it difficult for R users to learn SAS?

At first glance, SAS programming looks very different than R. When it comes to preparing your data, which is most of the effort involved in any analysis, the SAS DATA step and procedures can make the process very easy.  R users will find SAS/IML (the matrix language designed for statistical programmers) very familiar and easy to learn. In addition, SAS offers a powerful development environment, award-winning documentation, and a robust user community with members who are eager to help.

Can I use my R code in SAS?

SAS/IML provides a way to reuse R packages within your SAS programs. Even though the SAS language has procedures and functions that cover the features that most R programmers rely on, sometimes you might find a particular algorithm or technique that you want to try from an R package. In that case, SAS/IML allows you to "submit" programs to your instance of R and bring the results back into SAS for further analysis and reporting.

How is this course taught?

This course is taught entirely in SAS Studio. The course will be structured in a seminar style via live web. The instructor will lecture from 1 p.m. to approximately 4 p.m. ET (with breaks and short polls/quizzes) across five days. The instructor will present new ideas, programming concepts, and conduct demonstrations to familiarize you with syntax and results. From approximately 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. you will be able to practice SAS programming concepts from the day with a variety of exercises.

What are students saying about the course?

A recent student, Harry Fuller said, “This was an incredibly useful course. It showed me how to do things both in SAS and in R that I have always wanted to learn how to code. Even if you don't know R, this is a crash course in how to do everything that a graduate student or young professional could ever need.”

Dates are added often. See the latest course dates, learn more and register online. Seats are limited. Did we mention it’s free?!

Outside the US? Contact your country SAS training office and they will help you register.

Prefer a self-paced e-learning option?

SAS Programming for R Users is also offered free as an e-learning course. Simply click "start" under the Self-Paced e-Learning header in the course outline and you're good to go.



About Author

Aubrey Barfield

Product Marketing Manager

Hi, I'm Aubrey Barfield and I have worked in the Education Division at SAS since 2000 helping put a creative spin on all things analytics. I focus on promoting in-person events like SAS Global Forum, virtual learning opportunities and special offers. I enjoy strong coffee, well-balanced wine and good discussions.

Related Posts


  1. Hi there, thanks for creating this very useful course! However, I am not able to download the course package (the zip file). It says the page cannot be found. I am located in Canada by the way. Could someone help out? Many thanks!!

  2. naga dontamsetty on

    Hi Aubrey,

    I am a SAS programmer with more than 11 years of experience. I am really looking for R language and also and its usage in Clinical programing. What is the best course and how much it cost me ? is there an good book to learn that or any course you are offering this month or next month .


  3. This is a great initiative, well done! One point of caution and possible confusion/disappointment though: you talk about the free University Edition, and the fact that it includes SAS/IML. Further on, you say "SAS/IML provides a way to reuse R packages within your SAS programs". That's true for 'regular' SAS/IML, but the University Edition small print explicitly tells that "The integration of SAS/IML with R is not supported" (

    • Aubrey Barfield
      Aubrey Barfield on

      Divyesh, Correct, these are US working hours. We are currently working on producing an e-Learning version of this course that can be completed on demand. We hope to make it available in early 2017. Thanks!

  4. Hi,
    I am from India and not able to select the course as it says 'Not available in your country'. Why this differentiation???

    • Aubrey Barfield
      Aubrey Barfield on

      Hi. Thank you for your question. Due to some system constraints, US Live Web events aren’t available on the global Live Web schedule. We are working on ways to fix that. You can, however register by contacting the SAS India training office and they can help you register for this course.

  5. Hi what's the point of offering free online training if its only available in certain countries. I'm sure that defeats the object of the "internet"

    Far better to state on the page so people are not wasting their time.

    • Aubrey Barfield
      Aubrey Barfield on

      Rahil, thank you for your comment. That's such a great question and point. You absolutely can attend this Live Web session. Although based on time zones, it will be at an odd time for you, it’s still feasible. Simply contact your country SAS training office and they will help you register. We will also alert the regional offices that there is interest, and you may see this course show up on the schedule in your area.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top