SAS currently offers a number of certifications, including:
- SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9
- SAS Certified Advanced Programmer for SAS 9
- SAS Certified Predictive Modeler Using SAS Enterprise Miner 5 or 6
- SAS Certified Platform Administrator for SAS 9
- SAS Certified Data Integration developer for SAS 9
- SAS Certified BI Content Developer for SAS 9
The Base certification is a prerequisite for the Advanced certification, which focuses on Proc SQL, SAS Macro Language, and Advanced Programming Techniques including how to optimize your programs. SAS recommends having at least a year of SAS programming experience before taking the Base certification exam, and three years or more experience with databases and/or SAS programming before taking the Advanced exam. In this blog posting, I will focus on the first two “Foundation” certifications rather than the other specialty tracks involving Enterprise Miner and BI platforms.
I came to SAS with a background in SQL Server, so I was already very familiar with writing queries and stored procedures in T-SQL (a SQL dialect particular to MS SQL Server). SQL is a very portable language, and my skills transferred easily to SAS via Proc SQL. After I had done some projects in SAS with the help of The Little SAS Book and the SAS 9.1 SQL Procedure User’s Guide (you can download the pdf file for free online), I decided that I wanted to round out my SAS skills a little more and learn how to take advantage of more of the features that SAS has to offer. Since my organization did not have funding for SAS traning due to budget constraints, I needed a way to learn on my own. The best way for me to do this in an organized fashion was to get a copy of the SAS Certification Prep Guides for Base and Advanced programming.
As I went through the prep guides, I did the practice quizzes at the end of each chapter and experimented with new functions and procedures in my own work projects so that I would have a library of sample code for myself to refer back to later. However, because I like to have a goal to keep me focused, the key for me was to schedule the certification exam ahead of time so that I knew I had a certain number of weeks to get through the material and would be held accountable and tested on a specific date. This forced me to review and practice the material. SAS also offers practice exams for the Base and Advanced programming certifications (there is a fee for this – $52 at the time of this post). I did not purchase for the Base SAS exam, but I found the extra practice helpful for the Advanced SAS exam. In addition to these practice exams, you can preview a few free sample questions for each certification on the SAS website. Even if your organization does not have the funding to send employees to SAS training classes, you may find, as I did, that your employer is willing to reimburse you for the cost of your exam. In the end, I found that going through the certification process was a good way for me to round out my knowledge of SAS and motivate myself with a specific end goal.