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SAS Programmer Duties and Responsibilities

Daily job tasks for SAS programmers differ based on the data they analyze and the statistical information they compile. However, there are several core duties associated with this career, including:

Import and Export Raw Data SAS programmers import and export raw data to add information to and extract information from various databases.

Manage Databases SAS programmers manage and maintain databases containing large quantities of information. This includes backing up data and compiling it into statistics that show specifics.

Create Data Sets and Programs SAS programmers design and write programs to create various data sets – including tables, lists, and graphs – that showcase the specific information the company wants to see.

Write Macros SAS programmers write macros to simplify dataset commands, making databases easier to search and information easier to locate.

Analyze Data SAS programmers analyze data and statistics to find market trends, discover demographic breakdowns, and locate other relevant business information.

Write Reports SAS programmers create daily operations reports that present relevant data to all levels of management.


SAS Programmer Skills and Qualifications

SAS programmers are computer programmers with a deep understanding of SAS software and strong analytical skills who can look at data and find the statistical information businesses want to see. Employers prefer candidates who have the following skills:

  • Computer proficiency – SAS programmers need excellent computer skills to work with a variety of software programs, SAS software in particular
  • Programming – SAS programmers know how to write in multiple computer programming languages, most commonly SQL and Visual Basic
  • Communication skills – because SAS programmers collaborate with other programmers and create daily reports, both verbal and written communication skills are essential
  • Time management – SAS programmers use time management skills to prioritize work tasks and meet deadlines
  • Analytical thinking – SAS programmers need analytical skills to understand the data they’re studying and turn it into comprehensible statistical information
  • Attention to detail – SAS programmers use attention to detail to carefully study statistical tables and databases and find all the important information contained within

SAS Programmer Education and Training

A majority of employers seek SAS programmers who have a bachelor’s degree in business, computer science, economics, mathematics, statistics, or a similar area of study, in addition to past programming experience. Professionals with a master’s degree are even more desirable to employers. Employers provide very little training to SAS programmers, who already know how to write in several programming languages and have a strong command of SAS software. However, a brief orientation period is usually offered to new SAS programmers so they can become familiar with the company’s objectives and get to know the rest of the programming staff. Orientation is brief and typically lasts no longer than two weeks.


SAS Programmer Salary and Outlook

PayScale shows that SAS programmers earn a median yearly income of $76,670. Job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that computer programmers earn a median salary of $82,240. SAS programmers are a specialized type of computer programmer. The BLS predicts employment of these professionals will drop 7 percent through 2026. Full-time SAS programmers typically receive benefits packages that include health insurance with dental and vision coverage, life insurance, and retirement planning options. SAS programmers who work for themselves as independent contractors receive no benefits and must manage their own healthcare, taxes, and retirement needs.


Helpful Resources

Use these resources to learn more about SAS programming and various techniques and strategies for success in this career path:

Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Data Management – take a look at the latest news updates and trends in SAS programming, participate in live web classes, find e-learning resources, take free tutorials, look at SAS programming samples, find downloads, and more at this website

Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide – this easy-to-read instructional book explains SAS programming in a conversational tone, making it ideal for beginners and advanced programmers alike National Association of Programmers – this website has certification program information, upcoming event dates, and links to help professionals advance in their chosen programming field

The SAS Programmer’s PROC REPORT Handbook: Basic to Advanced Reporting Techniques – go from basic to advanced SAS programming techniques with this book, which offers tips on making macros, troubleshooting databases, and writing reports

American Statistical Association – look for career-advancement resources and opportunities, education programs, and useful publications at the ASA website

Professional SAS Programmer’s Pocket Reference – this pocket guide for SAS programmers makes it easy to access important information