Learning SAS by Example: First Impressions


As you may recall, I was super-hyped to receive my SAS book to review from SAS Press.

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The book is Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide by Ron Cody, and you can pick it up here or here.

A little bit of background about how I came to SAS (aka, life history):

One of the reasons I was really excited to receive it is that, I was going to purchase it anyway.  As someone starting in SAS (my company has a lot of data housed in this language and plans to build additional models related to SAS), I started out from scratch. Although I’ve had previous program-oriented experience before (both with very light dabbling in C++ and HTML and with other software packages like STATA in college), I didn’t have much experience actually manipulating large amounts of data with anything other than Excel or Access.

Intuitively (and with a little cajoling from my programmer husband) , I realized that learning SAS would be important to my professional development, both as a consultant and an economic modeler, and a number of other roles besides.  While we do use statistical software packages such as eViews at our company, I’ve noticed that SAS is more broadly applicable outside the relatively narrow scope of economic modeling in industries such as pharmaceutical, transportation, and academia.  So, I decided to make it one of my priorities in my professional development to learn it.

Getting Started with SAS: Literature

While my job gave me some guidance through mentoring and sending me to SAS I:Programming Basics class, when I was given problems to solve, it was the case that I was sometimes on my own and didn’t understand SAS on the level that I needed to.  I did have The Little SAS Book (also known as the Little Blue Book) to start out with.

However, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.  While it did introduce me to SAS (and I recommend it as an addition to anyone’s library) it does so in a cursory way and is not as readily accessible to reference as Learning by Example is, so far.

Positives

Some of the things I like about Learning by Example from the standpoint of a beginner are: