New AI offerings highlight many free ways to learn SAS


Remember when it seemed like the only way to explain analytics to a layperson was to reference "Moneyball"? My how things have changed. Analytics and big data went mainstream and, more recently, AI and algorithms grace the headlines of national news pieces.

As analytics has moved from the backroom to front page, the related careers and learning options have exploded. I don’t need to tell readers of this blog about the high demand for analytics and data science talent.

I have worked in the training and education groups at SAS for 22 years. For SAS, a stalwart in higher education and the commercial world, the last decade has been a time of change. With so many choices for statistics, programming and analytics, we introduced many free options for learning and using SAS.

On April 28, we announced our latest investments in analytics education, headlined by SAS Viya for Learners, which offers free access to AI and machine learning software for higher education teaching and learning.

Introducing SAS Viya for Learners

SAS Viya for Learners is a full suite of cloud-based software that supports the entire analytics life cycle – from data, to discovery, to deployment. It makes it easy for educators to incorporate AI and machine learning into coursework, including the ability to integrate R & Python with SAS through Jupyter notebooks.

SAS Viya for Learners users get access to a suite of integrated machine learning, text analytics, forecasting, data mining and visualization tools.

People with expertise in an industry-standard like SAS, plus open source skills, will stand out in such a competitive job market.

SAS Viya for Learners provides support tools like online chat, web tutorials, e-learning opportunities, documentation, communities and technical support, freeing educators to teach creative applications of analytics, and critical thinking skills. To support the successful use of SAS Viya for Learners at academic institutions, we offer free educator workshops and teaching materials.

Students learn to explore data, discover insights and deploy AI and machine learning models. They gain real-world experience through true business use cases and showcase their skills with badges and certification opportunities.

Educators can apply for access to SAS Viya for Learners via its home page. Students sign up through their instructors.

For a minimal investment of $79 learners can get started on the path to become a SAS Certified Specialist in Machine Learning with the prerequisite e-course Machine Learning with SAS Viya.  They will have access to SAS Viya software for the duration of the 90-day license. Learners can also soon gain AI and machine learning skills via two new Coursera courses that will offer access to SAS Viya for Learners.

SAS Viya for Learners is just the latest free offering to help people teach and learn SAS.

I also encourage educators to check out Cortex, a new analytics simulation game co-developed by SAS and Canadian business school HEC Montreal.  Cortex teaches analytics and predictive modeling skills through a competitive game. Educators can bring real-world experience into the classroom by having students compete to create the best model to support a fictional charitable foundation’s fundraising efforts. The game provides students with information on the nonprofit and a data set of potential donors, as well as access to SAS data mining tools. Students are ranked on a leaderboard based on the quality of their model and its results.

You DO need stinking badges!

I know, I’m dating myself with that reference, but it’s critical that professionals and students be able to stand out from the pack. Digital credentials that validate expertise enhance degrees and carry significant weight with savvy employers seeking people who can get the job done.

An AI, big data, advanced analytics or data science credential fosters lucrative opportunities across industries. The SAS Global Certification program has long been the standard for industries like banking and life sciences, having awarded more than 142,000 SAS credentials to individuals in 112 countries.

 This week, we launched three new specialist-level SAS certifications in machine learning, natural language and computer vision, and forecasting and optimization. The learners who pursue the certification automatically earn the professional-level credential, SAS Certified Professional: AI and Machine Learning. An immersive two-week classroom experience or flexible, online option taken over 12 months are available. Both options include certification exams.

In addition, we partnered with Acclaim to create digital badges for SAS credentials. Professionals can add badges to online resumes, social media and email signatures to showcase expertise in a variety of analytical skills.

These new programs were announced at SAS Global Forum 2019. Like every year, the event is an amazing gathering of thousands of SAS users which gives educators and students their time to shine. We hope the attendees and SAS users around the world are as excited about these new offerings as we are. We look forward to helping more people learn, grow and succeed.


About Author

Sean O'Brien

Senior Vice President of Global Customer Success

As Senior Vice President of Global Customer Success, O’Brien assembled a SAS®-savvy team dedicated to creating value and building long-term customer relationships. O’Brien and his organization are focused on what’s important to our customers and helping them achieve business outcomes with SAS. Sean also leads the Education division, which is focused on building SAS competency and closing the analytics skills gap for everyone.

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