How to Learn SAS

Statistical data analysis is a complex field that reaps big benefits for businesses. Under data analysis, organizations can use qualitative techniques and processes to enhance productivity and profits. SAS is a technology that is used to carry out analysis of large amounts of data easily. If you need to carry out advanced analytics like business intelligence predictive analysis, the software is just the tool for you.

In this guide, we’re going to talk about how to learn SAS and what resources you can use to master it.

What You Need to Know About SAS

According to the books, SAS is a command-driven statistical software suite used for data analysis and visualization. Pronounced as “SaaS”, the suite helps in analyzing and drawing insights on business data for a wide number of applications. This includes advanced operations like predictive analysis and criminal investigation.

SAS stands for Statistical Analysis Software. Like other Business Intelligence tools, SAS provides powerful support to programmatically manipulate and analyze data, apart from the conventional graphical interface. This provides very fine control over data manipulation and analysis which is its primary feature. 

SAS is a collection of tools that aims to solve the age-long problem of expensive data analysis. Some of the concepts that you will need to go through in your journey of learning SAS are:

  • Base SAS. Base SAS is a fourth-gen programming language that is used for data access, transformation, analysis, and reporting. It is the foundation for further advanced topics in SAS.
  • SQL. SQL is a querying language for tabular data. SQL helps in querying and manipulating large collections of data easily. With SQL, organizing and searching through your data is as easy as running a single command on the terminal.
  • Descriptive Statistics. Descriptive Statistics refers to a set of brief coefficients that can easily summarize a data set. This is a mathematical concept and is largely used in the sampling and representation of data.
  • Inferential Statistics. Inferential statistics operate on the samples of data summarized by descriptive statistics to draw useful insights and make predictions. This is again a mathematical concept and is used right after carrying out descriptive analysis to draw insights on the available data.
  • Decision Trees. Decision trees help in making predictive decisions based on records of a certain event. They are applied to huge dumps of data to forecast the best possible decisions for a business.
  • Clustering and Segmentation. Clustering and segmentation are processes used to group similar data to provide better processing metrics. Clustering refers to finding similarities between groups of data, after which segmentation is used to segregate the groups altogether

These are only a few of the many things that this technology is built around. As you explore more about SAS, you’ll become aware of more things you can use to help speed up your learning process.

Skills Needed to Learn SAS

To learn SAS, you must have a basic understanding of how data processing works. You do not need to be an expert in data analysis to understand SAS, but having a preliminary understanding of the concept will help you easily get started. 

This is so because SAS utilizes a lot of theoretical data processing techniques. Knowledge of SQL and Decision Trees will help you focus more on learning the specifics of the software. This prior understanding saves you the time that you would otherwise spend learning the math behind the technology.

Why You Should Learn SAS

There are multiple reasons why one should learn SAS. If you are looking to make a career in data-driven decision-making, SAS is one of the hottest skills in the market. SAS is diverse enough to read data files created by other statistical tools and software like SPSS, Excel, and Minitab. You can easily incorporate a number of database software like SQL, Oracle, and DB2 so you are not forced to change your database skills to adapt to SAS. All these features make SAS a great alternative for analyzing data.

How Long Does It Take to Learn SAS?

Learning SAS is no tough job. Some of the most advanced SAS programming specializations can be completed in less than 20 weeks. If you are looking to learn well enough to be able to work on professional SAS-based projects, a month of learning is more than enough to get you started.

On average, six to eight weeks is a good amount of time to gain the best professional expertise needed for real-time jobs in SAS.

Learning SAS: A Study Guide

You can easily find plenty of SAS learning resources online. With so much information available, you may be wondering where exactly you should start. We have compiled a list of five learning resources to help you learn what you need to know about SAS.

SAS Tutorials by SAS India

  • Resource Type: Video Tutorial
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

SAS Tutorials are a descriptive collection of video resources that explain the various moving parts in the SAS suite of tools. While these might not be a curated series of videos to help you along in your learning journey, these still serve as a great point of reference when you need the makers’ take on how a certain activity should be carried out using the software.

SAS Tutorial for Beginners by Listen Data

  • Resource Type: Written Tutorial
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

The SAS Tutorial for Beginners website is a one-pager guide to the various aspects of the software. It begins by explaining the meaning, purpose and composition of the suite. Once the reader is well-versed with the basics of the tools, the guide settles down into the most common actions that you can perform using the software. Toward the end, a series of interview tips and questions are discussed which help readers quickly prepare for any career opportunities that the software may bring for them.

SAS Tutorial by TutorialsPoint

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  • Resource Type: Written Tutorial
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

The SAS Tutorial by TutorialsPoint is a great point of reference for beginners and experienced SAS professionals. The tutorial provides a handy table of contents using which you can easily navigate around the articles that explain the tiniest concepts of SAS in detail. When looking for help, the same table proves to be a point of fast search throughout the tutorial. All in all, this one is a good resource to go through once you have understood the basics of the tool as well as set it up on your system.

‘The Little SAS Book’

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  • Resource Type: Book
  • Price: $31.95 (Amazon)
  • Prerequisites: None

This one is a handbook for all those who are learning SAS at the moment. The Little SAS Book provides concise yet well-explained content on every little SAS concept. The writers have ensured to follow a uniform format throughout, in which each concept is explained in a maximum of two pages only. This makes the book a great resource to refer back to once you have gained some experience in using SAS.

‘Base Sas Programming Black Book’

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  • Resource Type: Book
  • Price: Around $8
  • Prerequisites: None

Base SAS Programming Black Book is a one-step reference to Base SAS programming, written from a programmer’s perspective. This book covers the hidden areas of SAS programming, from basic to advanced level. The language of the book ensures that each and every concept is explained in detail without filling the pages with unnecessary or irrelevant information. Moreover, the simplicity of the content makes the book a great resource for beginners as well.

Communities for People Studying SAS

Communities are an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn SAS. By joining a community, you can quickly find help. You can also learn more about how other people use SAS, which may inform how you use the tool.

Below is a list of some communities for people learning SAS that you may want to look at for more details:

SAS Support Community

The SAS Support Community is backed by the creators of SAS themselves. The community presents a descriptive collection of resources and discussions to talk about any confusion or problems that you might face while working with the SAS set of tools. Any registered user can post a new question on the forum to kick off a discussion, which also can be participated in by any number of registered users.

SAS Global Forums

SAS Global Forums are all about localizing the SAS set of tools to prominent regions worldwide. The Global Forum events are held in multiple regions of the world across the year in person. These serve as a great conglomeration of people who are interested in or use SAS in their day-to-day lives. If you use SAS on a professional scale, you do not want to miss out on the networks that you can build in a SAS Global Forum event.

How Hard is It to Learn SAS?

SAS is not one of the toughest interfaces to get familiar with. You can easily learn SAS and other related concepts with three to four hours of practice daily for a month or two. The fact that SAS depends upon some of the mathematical, as well as database concepts makes learning it even easier. 

However, learning all aspects of SAS can be a time-consuming process. This is because SAS is a descriptive set of tools, and there are so many things that you can do with it. Each of these requires ample practice and revision from time to time.

Will Learning SAS Help Me Find a Job?

SAS is a highly sought-after analytics skill in the market. Employers hiring for data analytics and processing positions often list SAS as an essential skill or an important qualification. To help you understand the value of learning SAS for your career, we have compiled a few job and salary statistics.

  • Salaries. PayScale reports that jobs that involve SAS pay, on average, $77,072 per year. Positions that use this skill include data analyst, biostatistician, and SAS Programmer.
  • Industry Growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information research scientists’ positions will grow at a rate of 14% through 2028. While not all of these positions will use SAS, a high number of these people are likely to use data analytics software similar to SAS.

Conclusion: Should You Learn SAS?

SAS is the self-proclaimed leader in data analytics technology. Using SAS, data analysts can process a wide range of high-volume and diverse data easily.

SAS is useful no matter what path in data analysis you aim to pursue. It helps you to shift focus from the issue of inconsistency of type of data to the actual analysis and processing of the data with its superior simple and easy to learn tools.

With high average salaries, strong career growth projections, and a comparatively easy learning curve, SAS holds the potential to add a lot of value to your career.

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