Susan Slaughter

Turkzilla Strikes

In Detritus, Everything on December 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

TurkzillaWhen good graphs go bad….

In case you need a justification for all the turkey you ate on Thanksgiving, this article from Economist magazine explains all while providing a great example of the use and abuse of statistics, in particular why extrapolation is risky business.

And to those who may have consumed more turkey than was good for them:   We thank you!


New Service Matches SAS Analysts and Employers

In Everything, SAS, SAS Global Forum, Western Users of SAS Software on November 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

Analyst FinderAnalyst Finder is a new service created by well-known SAS programmer Art Tabachneck to help connect analytical professionals with potential employers.  I asked Art a few questions:

Why did you create Analyst Finder?

The analytical community has helped me throughout my career; and, over the years, I have done my best to return the favor. I came up with the ideas behind Analyst Finder (AF) after discovering how difficult it is for companies and recruiters to find the talent they seek. AF isn’t designed to replace recruiters; but, rather, to provide them and companies with better and more systematic access to the analytical community.

AF is really four different things. AF is a structured database designed to capture the skills, contact information, and job preferences of everyone in the analytical community. LinkedIn is likely the closest thing to it, but it doesn’t contain structured data and doesn’t capture job preferences.

Second, AF is a structured database designed to capture information about skills that companies and recruiters are seeking.

Third, AF has a SAS-driven search engine that can automatically match the two databases and identify the candidates who most closely match what employers are seeking.

Fourth, once sufficiently populated, AF is a source for aggregate information that has never been available to the analytical community, such as in-demand skills and average salaries broken down by region, education, years of experience, areas of expertise, etc.

What makes AF unique?

It is the only recruitment service that:

  • is run by and for the analytical community.
  • uses technology to match employers’ needs with analysts’ skills and job preferences.
  • lets the analytical community control their information.  AF will never provide contact information to a company or recruiter unless the analyst wants to share it for a particular position.

Is there a charge for using AF?

AF is and always will be no cost, no risk, and commitment-free to the analytical community. Additionally, it is ultra-low cost for companies and recruiters to use, compared to what they would have to pay without it.

Is AF only for people who work full-time?

No, anyone can sign up. The position types employers can select are full-time, part-time, contract and internship.

You talk about the fact that there are millions of SAS programmers, but most of those people are not currently looking for jobs.  Do you see AF as something that would be of interest to people who are currently employed?

I encourage all analytical professionals to sign up whether they are currently looking for new positions or not because at some point in the future they may be.  Additionally, the aggregate information produced by AF will be helpful to both job-seekers and employed analytical professionals.

Have you gotten any feedback from employers?

Employers were quick to let us know that many of them were interested in all walks of analytical professionals.  Thus we expanded the checklist to cover all analytical professionals.

So if someone wants to join Analyst Finder, what do they do?

It’s a simple 2-step process.  First, you register at and are immediately sent an ID number and checklist.  Then, after you complete the checklist (which takes about 10 to 15 minutes), you submit it to the same website.  You can update your checklist as often as wish, and that just takes a couple seconds.

Once someone signs up for Analyst Finder, how do you use their information?

We only use analysts’ information to (1) help them find positions and (2) provide them and the rest of the analytical community with aggregate summary information from our two databases.  No individually identifiable information will ever be released unless a registrant explicitly directs us to provide their name and email address to a specific company or recruiter regarding a specific position.

SAS Certification As a Tool for Professional Development

In Everything, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on September 1, 2014 at 10:58 am

SAS Certification As a Tool for Professional DevelopmentIf you had told me a year ago that I would write a paper about SAS certification for the Western Users of SAS Software 2014 Educational Forum and Conference, I would have been very surprised!  I became a SAS Certified Professional long ago, and that certification expired–long ago!  However, in the past six months, both my son and a friend have become SAS certified.  In the process, I learned a lot.

Now Andra Northup and I have written a paper titled SAS Certification As a Tool for Professional Development.  Doing the research for this paper, we gathered information and opinions both from SAS users and from experts at SAS Institute.  Here are some interesting things I learned:

  • Over 67,000 SAS certificates have been awarded.
  • The volume of tests taken has doubled in the past three years.
  • The first SAS certification was in Europe and required passing 3 two-hour exams.
  • Since 2006, certifications no longer expire, but are tied to a particular version of SAS.
  • Some people claim that the Advanced exam is easier than the Base exam.
  • The pass rate for the Advanced exam is, in fact, higher than for the Base exam.
  • At only $55, the online practice exam for the Base exam is a bargain, and it’s good for six months.
  • The SAS Programming 1: Essentials online self-paced course is FREE.

If you are going to the conference, I hope you will attend our presentation Thursday, September 4, 2014 2:00-2:50pm. If not, then you can download the paper here.


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