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SAS Data Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

The specific tasks taken on by SAS data analysts will differ by the needs of their employer or the clients they serve. However, a look at job postings reveals some commonality, such as the following:

Data Collection In order to analyze data, it first must be gathered. SAS data analysts work with clients and fellow employees to figure out the best ways to capture information. Such actions may include creating surveys, pulling sales figures or insurance claims, gathering comments from social media sites, or assembling hospital records, to name a few.

Working with Databases Using SAS software, huge amounts of data can be handled in various ways that would be virtually impossible without computer technology. An analyst's job often includes uploading and extracting data, doing statistical analysis, cleaning data, and verifying data integrity. Because computers are so fast, analysts can "run the numbers" in a multitude of ways to see if better patterns emerge by grouping things differently or controlling certain factors.

Data Presentation The interpreted results need to be put into forms that others can understand easily. Actions might include writing summaries, preparing charts, assembling spreadsheets, and discussing findings at meetings. Armed with this useable information, decision-makers may figure out better ways to attract customers, develop products, prevent crimes, or reduce costs. Leaders may even be able to anticipate future problems and solve them before they become issues.


SAS Data Analyst Skills and Qualifications

If math and computers aren't your thing, find a different profession. Successful SAS data analysts display a passion for numbers and a genuine curiosity about what they might mean. Other valuable skills for getting the job done include:
  • Multitasking skills - the SAS data analyst's duties are often managed simultaneously throughout the day, which means they must be able to prioritize tasks
  • Technical abilities - proficiency with SAS software is a start, but also plan on being familiar with operating systems (especially Linux), Microsoft products (especially Excel), programming languages (especially SQL), and other computer software
  • Critical thinking - figuring out the best ways to handle data to spot patterns or answer questions is a recurring job function
  • Communication skills - clearly conveying information to both technical-minded and laypeople is a crucial talent
  • Collaboration skills - projects often involve clients, colleagues, and supervisors, so getting along with others and open-mindedly sharing ideas is necessary
  • Curiosity - a willingness to think outside of the box and explore alternate thought patterns can lead to interesting discoveries

SAS Data Analyst Education and Training

Plan on obtaining a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, information technology, applied math, or a related field if you want to become a data analyst. Specific training in SAS is also expected of SAS data analysts. Employers also often seek candidates with a background in their organization's specific industry, such as an advanced degree in biostatistics to work as an analyst of genetic data.

SAS Data Analyst Salary and Outlook

According to PayScale.com, a data analyst with SAS skills earns a median salary of $63,393 per year. The lowest paid make around $48,000 annually, and workers on the high end of the pay range pull in about $85,000. The majority of SAS data analysts report receiving medical, dental, and vision benefits. Government, business, retail, healthcare, finance, scientific research, and education institutions all employ workers to analyze data. As technology continues to improve and these industries develop new uses for big data, job prospects for SAS data analysts should remain strong.

Helpful Resources

If you're ready to further explore the possibility of becoming a SAS data analyst, the following are good places to start:

SAS - The company that developed SAS is the go-to place to learn more about this software and its uses.

SAS/SPSS Marketing and Data Analysts - This LinkedIn group can connect you to professionals in the industry who may be able to answer your questions.

Statistical Data Analysis Using SAS - From real-world applications to the latest industry developments, this textbook provides a comprehensive look at what the field is all about.

Data Science Association - This nonprofit organization focuses on career advancement, improving the profession, and ethical concerns.

Data Analysis Plans: A Blueprint for Success Using SAS - If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on writing, implementing, and updating a data analysis plan, this book has you covered.

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