SAS Certified Advanced Programmer credential is one of the most prestigious worldwide, this goes without say, however, I am quoting to start. There are many benefits of becoming a SAS Certified Advanced Programmer. First of all, getting certified allows you to earn industry validation and opens the gate of opportunity with your knowledge and your credibility as a SAS programmer gets enhanced with the badge of certification. On the other hand, being certified proves that you have highly portable skills set and thus increases your career opportunities and success chances. According to Support.SAS.com, a recent study showed that 83% of career professionals reported earning the SAS certification helped them get the much-needed lift in the career, and 66% reported earning the SAS certification helped them a scale-up salary. Also, the learning process to get certified can help you in improving your SAS knowledge and analytical skills. SAS has so many different procedures, statements, functions, options, and so on, it is close to impossible to learn them all and it is not readily clear what set of SAS skills one should acquire if one wants to actively expand his/her SAS knowledge. Therefore, most of the programmers choose to learn only what is needed to get their day to day job. The SAS Base and SAS Advanced Programming Exams cover the knowledge base that SAS Institute believes a base or an advanced SAS programmer must be knowing and efficient about it.
Getting the SAS Certified Advanced Programmer credential is a two-step process. Normally, one would pass an exam to get certified as a SAS Certified Base Programmer first, and then pass another exam to get certified as a SAS Certified Advanced Programmer.
The SAS Base Programming Exam covers the following areas:
- Import and export raw data files
- Manipulate and transform data
- Combine SAS data sets
- Create basic detail and summary reports using SAS procedures
- Identify and correct data, syntax, and programming logic errors.
The SAS Advanced Programming Exam covers the following areas:
- Write and interpret SAS SQL code
- Create and use the SAS MACRO facility
- Use advanced DATA step programming statements
- Use efficiency techniques to solve complex problems.
As you can see from the above lists, the SAS Certified Advanced Programmer credential will enable you to become skilled in data handling, SAS MACRO facility, basic and advanced programming techniques, and efficiency techniques. One will become a SAS advanced programmer with this skill set. On the other hand, getting a SAS Certified Advanced Programmer credential lays a solid foundation in SAS programming and makes it easier to acquire additional SAS skills.
Complexity Lever of the SAS Base and Advanced Certification Exams
SAS Institute Inc. provides some sample multiple-choice questions to illustrate some of the various types of questions that will not appear on the SAS Global Certification Program exams for sure as these just sample questions to check to give a feel of the real exam, Practice exams available through SAS,
- SAS Certified Specialist - Base Programming Using SAS 9.4
- SAS Certified Professional - Advanced Programming Using SAS 9.4
You can get a taste of the level of difficulty of the certification exams by practicing above sample test but will not be preparing for the finals. To more accurately gauge the certification exams' level of difficulty and your level of preparedness,
- A00-231: SAS Certified Specialist - Base Programming Using SAS 9.4
- A00-232: SAS Certified Professional - Advanced Programming Using SAS 9.4
Without taking the exams which cover entire subject course suggested by the SAS Institute and the questions which were on the real certification exam, it is difficult to gauge the real properness. The best option is to purchase the practice exams and practice as much as possible as, mainly for two reasons:
The certification exams cover a very wide range of knowledge. If your memory is vague about a certain area, related questions might be difficult to answer;
- Your understanding of the materials to be tested needs to be very thorough, rather than superficial, or you may be "tricked" by some questions. This latter point is illustrated by the following sample question taken from the practice exam for the SAS Base Programming Exam.
set sashelp.class(keep=name age gender height weight);
Question: Sashelp.The class contains 5 variables. What is the result?
a. No variables are written to the data set Work.Test.
b. 4 variables are written to the data set Work.Test.
c. 5 variables are written to the data set Work.Test.
d. 6 variables are written to the data set Work.Test.
One would be tempted to choose “a” as the correct answer because of line 3 of the code, “drop=gender;”, doesn't seem right. DROP= is a data set option. If one wants to drop a variable by using a DROP statement, there should not be an equal sign of DROP. Thus, the “drop=gender;” portion the code seems to have the wrong syntax. However, this reasoning is incorrect because “drop=gender;” creates a new variable “drop”, and the syntax has no error. So the correct answer is “d” because of the Work.Test data set will contain 6 variables: Name, Gender, Height, Weight, Drop, and Newage. The KEEP= option in the SET statement reads 5 variables from the input data set. The variable Age is read from the input data set, but it is dropped from the output data set by the DROP= data set option. There are also two new variables created in the DATA step.To sum up, if your mastery of the materials to be tested is both comprehensive and in-depth, you should not find the exam questions exceedingly difficult, and you should be able to pass the certification exams with a comfortable margin.
With this exam, it is true that the good amount of practice is required. This is just an example, there may be more default or confusing questions ahead in the journey to becoming a SAS certified Advanced Programmer. It practices what makes man perfect and this is what I truly believe.