Unchartered Journey with SAS

- By Miriam

Let me start with a small introduction about myself. 😉

I have done my Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and I am currently working for PPD Bangalore as a Clinical Trial Coordinator.

I had been looking to explore more into the clinical research domain and programming sounded very challenging to me.

Well, now since I do not have a programming background, I wanted to assess my coding skills keeping in mind I do not have a background in it.

I was a bit skeptical about the fact that maybe I am starting late but since I already made up my mind, I wanted to try and hence went ahead with my plan.

How I began:

You tube: I started with understanding the basics of coding and the different kinds of software used. Since SAS was used widely in our industry, I learnt the basics of SAS i.e., writing a basic code using input and datalines and looked for different sources within YouTube to learn more of it.

However, since YouTube does not have a systematic contents for studying the software , I switched over to Udemy as there are plenty of courses which provides a systematic method of studying and understanding using simple examples would be very beneficial to those who are new to programming. I learnt all the basic syntaxes and most of the concepts of coding on SAS with Udemy which made me confident enough to prepare for the certification which SAS provides to validate our programming skills.

I further explored into the SAS training website which provided 30 days free access to all the courses. The below courses are ones relevant to Base SAS.

1. Essentials

2. Data Manipulation and Techniques

3. SAS Base Certification review

4. Practice Exam

The above contents are solely structured to prepare you for the SAS base certification exam and the practice problems are purposed to prepare you for the exam.

I would suggest creating your own kind of scenarios using IF ELSE WHERE statements using any available datasets as it could make coding more interesting and could further strengthen your programming skills. For practicing purposes, I used SAS OnDemand for Academics as it is a free cloud version easily accessible through any device.

I used to spend more than 4 hours a day for practicing apart from my working hours and if I got stuck with understanding something or if there were any errors on my log, I would use trial and error methods to solve it and if I still couldn’t do it on my own, I would try debugging using google search or SAS community support to help resolve my queries or contact any of the online trainers. There are various articles pertaining to each individual topic like transpose procedures and do loops for in depth understanding purposes.

After I was thorough with the Base SAS concepts, I went ahead with learning PROC SQL concepts as they are used widely in real life scenarios with lesser and simpler steps.

If you are looking to go ahead with the certification, there are various dummy multiple-choice questions which one should look into as well as they cover a lot of topics. I would also suggest practicing all problems more than 2 times until you get thorough with the syntaxes.

Learning online without a proper guidance can leave you in a dilemma but I hope the article helped you get confidence to begin with. 😊

Kindly provide your suggestions /questions to the below email


I will be posting articles with related to SAS, SQL in the days to come.

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