Jul 3, 2011

Learning SAS

I want to learn the heavy-weight of Statistical softwares - SAS. It seems like the default choice for high-end statistics and I want to understand why.

I'm working in the healthcare practice in our firm and want to analyze claims and credit data (Terabytes, 50M+ records). Traditional ways (SQL) are limiting and desktop statistical softwares like R and Stata aren't suitable for such large data analysis. Other contenders (Matlab) don't seem to be in the same league.

So, its time to take a deep dive into SAS.

I'm looking for some advice to create a learning plan...

Good books

Good tutorials

  • I like video tutorials with examples e.g Statistics202.
  • I also like tutorials from a programmer's perspective better
  • Anything for SAS out there?

Good blogs


  • Will start exploring this. If you know of someone, please let me know. 

Good training courses in New York area

  • Preferably not the ones run by the company themselves. I'm looking for SAS experts who can run hands-on classes

SAS interest groups in New York area

  • I learn well in a study group. Any meetups?


  1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2011

    For books, there's the ever popular Little SAS Book by Lora Delwiche and Susan Slaughter. The SAS equivalent to R-Bloggers seems to be SAS-X, although it's largely populated by Rick Wicklin's blog. Rather than blogs or meetups, SAS users tend to interact with the SAS-L list-serv and at SAS User Groups.

  2. AnonymousJuly 03, 2011

    As a follow-up, to understand SAS as a programmer, you should understand that SAS has a built-in do loop, which loops over all the observations (rows) in your dataset one at a time. This means that it only considers one row of data at a time, which is part of the reason that SAS can handle large datasets so effectively.

    The built-in do loop can be circumvented -- using, for example, an output statement to force a loop, a retain statement to hold the value of a variable to the next line, or an array statement in conjunction with a do loop to loop over the variables (columns) -- but these efforts are rarely necessary once you become accustomed to thinking in terms of the built-in loop.

    Best of luck learning!

  3. Hi, and thanks for mentioning our book! In addition to SAS-X, there is also SAS Community Planet, which is a superset of SAS-X, AFAICT: http://www.sascommunity.org/planet/.

    Before you purchase our book, you might look through our blog (sas-and-r.blogspot.com) to see some examples. Code for the examples that are actually in the book can be found at http://www.math.smith.edu/sasr. In addition to the text around the examples, the book also has very brief entries that describe many different tasks and options-- most of these are included in a wiki: http://kenkleinman.net/sasrwiki. So the book is useful if you want it all in one place, but you can have the material for free, more or less.

    Happy learning!

  4. Thank you for helpful tips. It was simple to read, but I'd like to add that if your software business needs to be updated try outsource software development.

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