Best Books to Learn SAS

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Jan 22nd, 2015


I learnt SAS many years back, and was always impressed with the technology, unfortunately I got pulled sideways in to security and have spent the last five years on a huge enterprise security project to secure some critical national infrastructure in a growing Middle Eastern country.

However I am now back in the USA and won a nice little nine month business intelligence project using my old favourite technology SAS. I figured I would get some updated training, but it was way expensive, so I went down the good book route. In total I brought five books, two of which were brilliant and one of which was ok.

The first brilliant book was Carpenter’s Guide to Innovative SAS Techniques, I specifically picked this book because I have previously attended Art Carpenter’s, the authors SAS class and found him to be extremely knowledgeable.

I wasn’t disappointed. One area of SAS I love are the Macro’s and Art has a fantastic write up on best practice Implementation and a few great hints and tips when creating your own. I also found some great tricks on PROC SORT, which previously had slowed my programs. I am convinced that I found this book so useful because I had a previous background with programming in SAS, and not sure if you were new to the subject if this would be a great start. But for those with a little experience you should buy this book now!

For those less experienced you might want to start with Cody’s Collection of Popular SAS Programming Tasks and How to Tackle ThemYes Ron Cody has some advanced tricks and treats for you, but it also takes you through the techniques nice and slow, which is more attuned to the beginner. The book is not as extensive as Art’s book above, but the smaller domain gives you better coverage of the topics covered. His samples were extensive and easy to understand and implement. This is the second of the two brilliant books I mention. In a close third was one of Cody’s other books, Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide.

I have no doubt this book is good, but a lot of the techniques were pretty basic, and to be fair most I was aware of previously. That of course is the target audience for the book, newbies. Again the best thing about the book were the examples, which will walk you through the basics and a little beyond. I understand that this is used as a textbook in a number of courses of the country, which in itself is a recommendation, and the reason I brought it.

I would not put you off this book, especially if you are learning the subject from scratch, but if you have only been out of the game for five years, such as myself, then I would skip this one and go straight to the two books above.

Good luck on the learning curve, SAS is a great technology and from what I can tell the skills are still in high demand.

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