Thanks Jigsawite Ashish Jain for submitting this blog. I am sure alot of other students of analytics will benefit from the sharing of your experiences. Ashish is an Analytics Consultant having expertise in SAS and R in multiple domains. He has completed the Foundtion Course in Analytics at Jigsaw Academy and has also completed the executive certification in Business Analytics from IIM Bangalore. He is passionate about Data Analytics and likes to explore data mining software tools and techniques.

A lot of students aspiring to become data analysts often wonder how they can learn and practice SAS coding at home. Of course if they had access to commercial SAS software they would not be in that dilemma, but the reality is that SAS licenses are expensive. I also faced a similar situation five years back.

At my workplace, it was difficult to practice SAS codes as only approved projects or client approved S/W applications were allowed and installed on systems. I considered signing up for a SAS course. After enquiry at a few authorized SAS training centers, I found that the SAS training programs were an expensive option. Also they focused on multiple skill sets ( like SAS BI,SAS Admin, SAS Visualization, SAS EG etc..) and not on the focused data analysis programming  skills required at foundation level and which you need to get started in analytics.

I consequently found Jigsaw and they met all my learning needs. And the best part was that the Jigsaw mentors showed me an alternative cost effective way to learn and practice “SAS for data analysis” using WPS(World Programming System).  WPS has the same programming style as SAS software.  This write-up is to share my learning experience with WPS and how I finally developed SAS data analysis skills.

You can learn more about WPS in wiki pages and from their website

At Jigsaw Academy, I learned data analysis on the WPS platform. After practicing ample analytics problems, I was comfortable with the SAS language and its working environment. I was able to play with data and could easily clean, transform and prepare data for statistical modeling, regression analysis and binary classification problems such as logistic regression. I found that many other statistical analysis could also be easily performed  on WPS much the same way as in SAS.

Although the WPS version that I used did not have all the features and stat procedures of SAS, it gave me much value addition in terms of understanding the basics of data analysis. Its interface is also similar to SAS Windows version. Moreover, the WPS data analysis output is also interpretable in a same fashion as SAS output.

Few of the data analysis SAS procedures and functionalities that can be easily be learned on WPS are:

1.Reading external files using infile and input statements.
2.Importing and exporting raw data into WPS/SAS using Proc Import and Proc Export procedures.
3.Univariate and multivariate Analysis of variables using Proc Univariate, Proc freq and Proc means.
4.Summarizing your data using proc summary or proc report.
5.Applying many character and integer functions like scan(),substr(),index(), int(),round() and date time functions like intck(),intnx(),datediff(),yeardiff() etc.
6.Applying statistical procedures like Proc Reg for linear regression, Proc Anova for analysis of variance, Proc logistic for binary classification, etc.
7.Formatting your data using proc format
8.So many other ways to play with data and interpret results.

I learned a lot of analytics concepts using WPS and directly applied it in many SAS analytics projects in my organization. After having a good experience on WPS, I started preparing for the SAS certification and practiced coding syntax and concepts at home using WPS trial version. I learned more about SAS programming from blogs and interaction with seniors and the Jigsaw team and was soon able to master my SAS programming skills and got SAS certified. Jigsaw and WPS helped me to do this in the most cost effective way, using easy and fun learning methods.

I hope this write-up gave you insights about optimized learning and acing the SAS certification. So what’s your story of mastering SAS Skills !! Do share your learning methods as I am sure a lot of us will benefit from your stories.

Take a look at Ashish’s comparison of analytics courses in India- Jigsaw Academy and IIM Bangalore as published in Analytics India Magazine.

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Interested in learning about other Analytics and Big Data tools and techniques? Click on our course links and explore more.
Jigsaw’s Data Science with SAS Course – click here.
Jigsaw’s Data Science with R Course – click here.
Jigsaw’s Big Data Course – click here.



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