Over the past half year, I’ve corresponded with a young man who sensed the handwriting on the wall in his academic job: a post-doctoral position doing data analytics and statistical modeling at a major mid-western university. His intuition was pretty good, as it turns out, and he thanked me for some career advice I bestowed upon him as he cast about for ways and means of reinventing himself, and finding a new job. Last month, he wrote me to say that his position had indeed fallen victim to a loss of the grant money that supported it, and he found himself cast onto the job market.
His story has a happy ending, because he wound up going to work for a Cary, North Carolina company known as the SAS Institute, maker of a venerable and widely-used set of integrated software tools for statistical modeling and analysis (the original expansion for SAS was “Statistical Analysis System,” but like so many organizations that proudly serve an acronym, the company has since taken legal steps to enshrine SAS as its official name, no expansion needed or wanted). It was his knowledge, training, and interest in the technologies that underlay the SAS environment — including data analytics and mining, business intelligence, and big data operations of all kinds — that led him to SAS, where he is now happily ensconced, working on projects for various SAS tools and utilities.
Why am I telling you all this? Because his adventures reminded me that SAS operates a pretty peachy certification program that’s comprised of 8 different certifications in the areas of basic SAS programming, advanced analytics, information and data management, and business intelligence. Here’s a quick set of links to the various elements that make up the program, organized by silo:
- SAS Foundation
- SAS Advanced Analytics
- SAS Information Management
- SAS Data Management
- SAS Business Intelligence
- SAS Certified BI Content Developer for SAS 9
Each of these credentials requires passing a single $180 exam administered at Pearson VUE (fees outside North America vary in terms of currency and amount). The company does not require certification candidates to take courses to qualify for exams, but they do offer an official curriculum for those interested in attending training classes, offered in 39 countries around the world. Individuals with SAS certification are in reasonably high demand, and generally occupy positions at annual pay rates of $90K or higher. For those IT professionals with mathematical interests, or a background in analytics, data mining, business intelligence, or data management, SAS certification can be a terrific career-enhancing move (particularly for those who know about or already work with SAS software products).