Did you learn C and C++ courses before you learn SAS . ? are they useful and helpful to learn SAS software ? How do you master it without more computer science knowledge? thank you very much
There is no need to know C (or any object oriented programming language) prior to studying SAS as SAS is a procedural based language. SAS utilizes keywords that kick off embedded pre-coded procedures that run underneath the GUI that SAS is.
I would recommend learning something like a combo of Java and Python if you are interested in building algos and the like. If you can learn Java or Python, you can easily pick up SAS.
This is my opinion of course.
I am not SAS expert, but I remember looking at SAS code and it looked a lot like … COBOL. But for the love of everything that is holy, please, do not learn COBOL. If you must use SAS, just go right to SAS. “The Little SAS Book” by Delwiche is a nice introduction.
Of course there is a better language for statistical computing. It is called R. Check it out. It looks more like C, and is pretty easy to learn given a ton of help available online.
COBOL !? Yee gads. I’ve still got my Cobol textbooks (next to the punch card decks I produced for lab assignments :>] ) ah, memories.
The previous comment is correct in that SAS is much more procedural. It has a good GUI (Enterprise Guide) that speeds most programming tasks and reduces pesky syntactical errors. Like Oracle, MSQLServer, and Terradata it’s another flavor of SQL so if you have exposure to one, you have a start with SAS. There’s also a “…For Dummies Book”.
To me, SAS is a lot like FORTRAN. C/C++ classes will help in terms of just general programming, but not so much specific techniques. And I’ve coded SAS for 12 years with no programing degree. To master it — think carefully about what is going on in the code and always strive to do better.
If your goal is to learn about SAS architecture and integration with other languages, you are much better off learning Java rather than any of the C dialects.
To learn SAS there are no pre-requisites. You don’t have to have computer science knowledge to start learning basic SAS. Some advanced SAS (hashtables, lookups, macro programming) might require basic knowledge of computer science.
To master SAS (or any programming language for that matter), I recommend coding, not reading codes.
I agree 100%. Modern day data scientists are using Java, Ruby, and Python much more than SAS.
Interestingly, a friend of mine interviewed at a very prestigious data company (I would mention but not my place). At any rate, he, like I, has been programming in SAS and R for upwards of 4 years, and is a very good programmer in SAS.
Long comment short, my friend was asked about the underlying algos that SAS employs through simple proc calls like “proc sort” or proc means, etc. Due to not knowing the underlying algos, he wasn’t able to perform up to the standards of the companies hiring protocols, and wasnt able to compete.
Going back to what I said earlier, Java or C#, even C++ are much better learning tools than SAS and R in that they force you to understand the underlying procedures and functions that SAS and R both employ, respectively. When you call a proc sort in SAS, SAS calls its pre-written algos to perform the task. I think that is the drawback of modern data analysis and can be turned into a strength if we learn underlying code.
I agree with most of the comments here. Sounds like you are just starting. If that’s the case no. SAS is actually a very unique language in my opinion. It has outlasted most languages and it has lots of quirks that won’t work in other languages. As already mentioned it isn’t object oriented. It’s base is very archaic actually. But the simplicity of the data step for instance makes it quick to pick up. The comments about R are accurate. There is a great deal of similarity to C with R so if you asked “would learning C help me with R?” then the answer is yes. R is object oriented and similar in syntax and structure to C. The comments about more advanced understanding of the algorithms is accurate but it doesn’t sound like you are going to be there for awhile.
SAS is singularly one of the worst programming language designs that I have ever run into. The fact that the FDA requires it be used in clinical trials further supports the fact. I avoid it at all costs. There are a zillion other programs out there that are far more userfriendly and more easily understood. Besides, the fact that anyone that can make a living writing programs in SAS means that the language is too hard for most people to use.
Learning C++, Java, Python or R will make it difficult for you to learn SAS further down the road.
Even a 4th generation language such as SAS requires two basic skills…
Of course, this applies to many things in life but especially in the SAS realm.
Not sure what parts of SAS you’re interested on, but the basic data manipulation syntax (DATA and PROC steps) did not require any previous knowledge of C or C++. All I needed was a basic idea about tables, columns, and joins.
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