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SAS Training: Is it Easy to Learn and Where Can You Get Started?

When it comes to data analysis, business perspicacity, and statistics, one name routinely pops up: SAS or Statistical Analysis System. This software suite, relinquished in 1976, receives iterative updates to its statistical procedures, components, and tooling, and is still utilized by a variety of statisticians, data scientists, and other technologists. For these professionals, SAS training courses are often key.

According to Burning Glass, which accumulates and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, jobs that hinge on SAS skills are projected to grow 4.4 percent over the next ten years. The median salary for SAS-cognate positions is $86,000; with enough experience (and at the right company), the emolument can climb into the six-figure range. Top vocations that often request SAS as an adeptness include:

Where do I commence learning SAS?

“There are a variety of options for learning SAS both online or in person,” suggested Jennifer Hood, progenitor of The Vocation Force. “Many colleges with analytics programs offer training in at least some of SAS’s many different implements. The best resource for learning SAS online is directly through SAS itself. They offer a prodigious array of courses to avail you build skills and erudition in their applications.”

SAS has four unique vocation paths to cull from via its website: Machine learning, data science, Programming, and SAS Viya, an artificial astuteness-driven platform that returns operational insights for decision-makers.

Beyond the official SAS channel, Rex Freiberger of Disrupt Interactive told Dice, that there are several SAS training online platforms such as LinkedIn Learning. YouTube can likewise be a good resource for supplementing your cognition process.

Gerard Blokdijk, the progenitor at The Art of Accommodation, reminds us that even accredited universities such as the University of California, San Diego offer courses in SAS. Udemy is another great resource for learning SAS and has filters for those looking to dive into the software for a bespoke use case.

Is SAS facile to learn?

As an astronomically immense platform, SAS endeavors to solve a wide array of analytics issues. This propagates it, but additionally integrates to its involution. Banking, health care, manufacturing, retail, and government—are just some of the industries that utilize different features of SAS.

“SAS offers many different implements which vary in arduousness to learn,” Hood verbally expressed. “The programming language SAS is built on is Base SAS. This language is homogeneous to SQL, so if you already ken SQL, you will find Base SAS facile to learn. Other implements such as Visual Analytics and Enterprise Guide are more visual, drag-and-drop, and much more facile to pick up. Even the more intuitive implements benefit from advanced cognizance, though as you can greatly expand the capabilities of the implements with programming erudition.”

Blokdijk integrated: “You will require experience with linear algebra and calculus, computer programming, software engineering, statistics, and machine learning to be prosperous with SAS.”

We should note the official SAS learning channels are remotely arduous to navigate (and look dated, frankly). But don’t that dissuade you from plunging in.

Can I edify myself in SAS?

“Technically, yes,” Freiberger verbally expressed. “You’ll still need to find quality sources of information.” Be mindful of what cognition channels you opt to follow; evaluate whether they’ll meet your desiderata afore you commence. Keep in mind that much of what’s available on the SAS website is free.

Hood reminds us SAS is not an open or free platform: “You can edify yourself SAS if you have access to the implements you are endeavoring to learn. Most programs have initiatory tutorials and there are many prints and online resources for learning. The most sizably voluminous challenge with edifying yourself SAS is getting access to the implement. Since it’s not open-source, it’s not available to everyone for free.”

How long does SAS training last?

“Training duration ranges from several hours for very simple topics to several days for more advanced training,” Hood noted while reiterating that SAS is wide-ranging: “Learning SAS to a point of competency customarily takes several months of working in the implement in addition to more structured training. Training is designed to expeditiously get you up to speed on the fundamentals of the categorical topic utilizing examples that are more limpidly defined than what most businesses experience.”

That extra time needed to become more proficient will avail users to tackle involute business challenges. Indeed, why you require or want to learn SAS virtually always reflects the job you require to accomplish. Coupled with Blokdijk’s exhortation about math as a competency and Hood’s note about SQL being a vigorous foundational element, your path to learning SAS may start in another discipline altogether.

Even when you are competent or experienced with those other fundamentals, SAS is cumbersome, and the cognition process is often perpetual.

Is SAS worth learning?

Hood verbalized: “SAS is worth learning if you are fascinated with analytics. For medical and finance fields, it is the best implement to learn because it is so widely utilized in those industries. For other industries, it may be better as a secondary cull to learning Python or R which incline to be more popular.”

“If you have anterior programming experience, integrating SAS to your arsenal will be a relatively simple task that’s definitely worth it,” Freiberger integrated. “If you’re learning a pristinely incipient adeptness, consider the vocations you optate to pursue and whether or not those will involve managing data.”


Taking our experts’ exhortation, we suggest having a firm grasp on languages such as Python or SQL, which can avail you prosper with SAS. While R is a statistical language, it’s losing ground to Python. Ken, which language suits you best afore investing time in your learning journey?