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Old 01-18-2013, 11:34 PM   #1
senttoschool
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Default Brother knows SAS Programming. What language to supplement SAS?

Hey guys,

My brother writes in SAS programming every day at work. He does work for a firm that consults the government with statistics.

When he first graduated from college, he couldn't find work for 2 years. Then he went and got a masters degree on statistics and now he's been a SAS programmer for over a year.

I don't want to see him unemployed again and I'm a firm believer that if you don't stay ahead of the curve, there's a good chance that you won't find work in the future. And knowing another programming language will allow him to be a more valued employee anywhere.

So I want to ask you guys what kind of programming language do you think he should learn so that he becomes a more valuable worker if he needs to find a job again? Is there a programming language(IE. Java, PHP, Python, Ruby) that is similar to SAS so he can pick it up right away?

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by senttoschool; 01-18-2013 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
Ken g6
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It doesn't look like any general programming language is very similar to SAS. Apparently it took a court judgement to determine that SAS is a programming language at all!

For statistics, it looks like the language to learn may be R. This looks like the safest way for him to avoid being unemployed in the future.

Other similar, but much more expensive and less statistics-oriented, mathematical packages include Matlab and Mathematica. FreeMat might be a good way to see if he wants to go in that direction.

The closest thing to SAS that I regularly work with appears to be SQL. There are plenty of free databases he could learn to work with, the most common probably being MySQL. Being a DBA isn't a bad career path, but a masters in statistics seems overqualified for it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken g6 View Post
It doesn't look like any general programming language is very similar to SAS. Apparently it took a court judgement to determine that SAS is a programming language at all!

For statistics, it looks like the language to learn may be R. This looks like the safest way for him to avoid being unemployed in the future.

Other similar, but much more expensive and less statistics-oriented, mathematical packages include Matlab and Mathematica. FreeMat might be a good way to see if he wants to go in that direction.

The closest thing to SAS that I regularly work with appears to be SQL. There are plenty of free databases he could learn to work with, the most common probably being MySQL. Being a DBA isn't a bad career path, but a masters in statistics seems overqualified for it.
He's pretty good with MySQL and he has some experience in R. I was hoping that there'd be a good language for him to learn to combine with SAS. I noticed that some Facebook/Google job openings require data analysts to know at least one programming language.

Thanks for the answer.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:44 AM   #4
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Not sure exactly what type of work your brother does - but I work for one of a couple large-ish, non-profit government funded R&D firms here in MA. At these types of places, MATLAB is everywhere, same with Java but less-so.

Python with ScyPy is excellent as well and free; if he knows that, picking up MATLAB for a job that requires it would be a breeze.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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out of curiosity, what was his undergrad?

i'm in the middle of my stats masters as well. for the jobs im looking at, knowung sql and python in addition to sas and r seemw to be a boon.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #6
senttoschool
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out of curiosity, what was his undergrad?

i'm in the middle of my stats masters as well. for the jobs im looking at, knowung sql and python in addition to sas and r seemw to be a boon.
Undergrad = Econ + Stats. He went to Cal Berkeley. He had a hard time finding a job after graduation. He graduated in the middle of the recession. He then went for a master's. Now he works for a firm that does stats for the government.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ken g6 View Post

The closest thing to SAS that I regularly work with appears to be SQL. There are plenty of free databases he could learn to work with, the most common probably being MySQL. Being a DBA isn't a bad career path, but a masters in statistics seems overqualified for it.

SAS is my bread and butter (statistical modeling and data scrubbing/validation) and the only other complimentary programming I do is also SQL. I think you're right, he may be overqualified as a DBA, but it might be a good backup alternative to unemployment.

That said, SAS is still often the industry standard in modeling and I really think OP's brother should always be able to land a job with that knowledge, especially if he's willing to locate to Seattle, DFW, Chicago, NYC, or any other finance/medical hubs. Maybe a rival programming language will eventually take its place, but SAS is safely ensconced for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:40 PM   #8
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For job security you can't really go wrong with:
Java, C, C++, Objective-C, PHP, or Ruby/ROR.

For the foreseeable future there will be a demand for Android, iOS and Web Developers.

Plus with enough experience you can still get hired for a programming job in a language you've never used, especially if the languages the job requires shares the same paradigm as one you are fluent in (ie. object oriented, procedural, functional, etc).
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:28 PM   #9
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Plus with enough experience you can still get hired for a programming job in a language you've never used, especially if the languages the job requires shares the same paradigm as one you are fluent in (ie. object oriented, procedural, functional, etc).
I'd say that it's possible, but in practice it doesn't happen very often. It's more common to get paid to transition to a new platform once you're inside, and they know your competencies. Getting hired off the street for a platform you have no experience in is tough.
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