Learning SAS

Introduction

I have taken two statistics courses at Boston University in which we have used SAS. I am familiar with several programming languages, including C, C++, Perl, and PHP, and with the S statistical language as implemented in R. But I find the language used by SAS incomprehensible.

For example, here is a SAS program I wrote for one of the homework problems for the class I’m taking now, CAS MA 416 Intermediate Statistical Methods:

options ls=80 ps=55 nocenter;

data strings;
    input subject $ stype $ score;
datalines;
1 1 745
1 2 764
1 3 774
2 1 734
2 2 733
2 3 763
3 1 777
3 2 786
3 3 788
4 1 779
4 2 801
4 3 797
5 1 756
5 2 786
5 3 785
6 1 721
6 2 732
6 3 740
;

proc glm data=strings;
    class subject stype;
    model score=subject|stype;
    random subject subject*stype;
    test h=stype e=subject*stype;

run;

I understand (after ten weeks’ of study) what this program means, but this is completely incomprehensible to a newbie. It is my belief (I’m beginning to rant now) that, because of the way the language is designed, there is no way to write self-documenting code in SAS. Rather, one has to be initiated to the mysteries of SAS, learning the magic incantations for performing an analysis.

So I have decided to become a SAS initiate. This page will serve as the log of my endeavors to unveil the mysteries of SAS and become a SAS master. My long-term goal is to obtain credentials as a SAS Certified Base Programmer and as a SAS Certified Advanced Programmer.

Documentation

SAS now provides its documentation online.

Books

Recommended Books

On Amazon’s web site, M. Allen Greenbaum provides So You’d Like To ... Enhance Your SAS Appeal, a list of books he recommends for learning SAS, along with a useful commentary. The page provides links to other lists provided by Amazon users, but Greenbaum’s is the best.

Applied Statistics and the SAS Programming Language

Cover Publisher’s Information
Book cover Applied Statistics and the SAS Programming Language, 5th Edition
by Ronald P. Cody and Jeffry K. Smith
March 30, 2005
ISBN 0-13-146532-5
Pearson/Prentice Hall

The programs and data files for this book are available at http://www.prenhall.com/cody/.

A Handbook of Statistical Analysis Using SAS

Cover Publisher’s Information
Book cover A Handbook of Statistical Analysis Using SAS, 2nd Edition
by Geoff Der and Brian S. Everitt
August 21, 2001
ISBN 158488245X
Chapman & Hall/CRC

The sample data for this book (and for many other SAS books) are available at http://support.sas.com/documentation/onlinedoc/code.samples.html.

Software

SAS Learning Edition 2.0

Cover Publisher’s Information
Book cover SAS Learning Edition 2.0
June 2004
ISBN 1-59047-460-0
SAS Publishing
Approx. 2-year license for software
Requires Windows XP, 2000, or NT

SAS e-Learning Courses

SAS provides a number of e-learnings courses, which you license and install on your own computer.

Course Notes
SAS Certification: Base Programming This course prepares the user for SAS’s Base Programming certification exam. The course costs $300, and the license is good for 180 days.
SAS Certification: Advanced Programming This course prepares the user for SAS’s Advanced Programming certification exam. The course costs $300, and the license is good for 180 days.
SAS Programming Library This course library contains the following five courses:
  • Introduction to SAS Programming (7 lessons)
  • Producing Reports with SAS (6 lessons)
  • Producing Graphical Reports with SAS (4 lessons)
  • Creating and Modifying SAS Data Sets (9 lessons)
  • Reading Various types of Raw Data with SAS (7 lessons)
The five courses are available individually, and the lessons for each course are also available individually. This library of courses costs $600 and has a 365-day license.
Advanced SAS Programming Library This course library contains the following courses:
  • SAS Macro Language (4 lessons)
  • SQL Processing with SAS (8 lessons)
  • Advanced SAS Programming Techniques (6 lessons)
The three courses are available individually, and the lessons for each course are also available individually. This library of courses costs $350 and has a 365-day license.

Web Resources