Susan Slaughter

Archive for the ‘Western Users of SAS Software’ Category

WUSS 2016: The Papers

In SAS, SAS certification, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on September 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

wuss2016logoThe Western Users of SAS Software 2016 conference is over.  I have been to a lot of SAS conferences, but WUSS is always my favorite because it is big enough for me to learn a lot, but small enough to be really friendly.  I’m already excited about next year’s conference in Long Beach, September 20-22.

If you missed my presentations this year or if you just want a written version, click the links below to download them.

How SAS Thinks: SAS Basics I

Introduction to DATA Step Programming: SAS Basics II

Introduction to SAS Procedures: SAS Basics III

SAS Studio: A New Way to Program in SAS presented by Lora Delwiche.

Errors, Warnings and Notes (Oh My): A Practical Guide to Debugging SAS Programs presented by Lora Delwiche.

SAS Certification As a Tool for Professional Development presented with Andra Northup.




Free Resources for Learning SAS (and Other Tips from SAS Authors)

In Everything, Publishing, SAS, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on May 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm

In celebration of SAS Global Forum, the folks at SAS Press gathered tips from SAS Press authors.  Here is my contribution:

This is the best time ever to learn SAS!

When I first encountered SAS, there were only two ways that I could get help. I could either ask another graduate student who might or might not know the answer, or I could go to the computer center and borrow the SAS manual. (There was only one.) Today it’s totally different.  I am continually amazed by the resources that are available now—many for FREE

Here are four resources that every new SAS user should know about:

1. SAS Studio

This is a wonderful new interface for SAS that runs in a browser and has both programming and point-and-click features. SAS Studio is free for students, professors, and independent learners. You can download the SAS University Edition to run SAS Studio on your own computer, or use SAS OnDemand for Academics via the Internet.

2. Online classes

Two of the most popular self-paced e-learning classes are available for free: SAS Programming 1: Essentials, and Statistics 1. These are real classes which in the past people paid thousands of dollars to take.

3. Videos

You can access hundreds of SAS training videos, tutorials, and demos at Topics range from basic (What is SAS?) to advanced (SAS 9.4 Metadata Clustering).

4. Community of SAS users

If you encounter a problem, it is likely that someone else has faced a similar situation and figured out how to solve it. On you can post questions and get answers from SAS users and developers. On the site,, you can find virtually every paper ever presented at a SAS users group conference. The site is a wiki-style compendium of all things SAS.

For more tips from SAS Press authors, click here to read them all.


SAS Essentials

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS, Western Users of SAS Software on September 8, 2015 at 7:45 pm

WUSS2015logoThe SAS Essentials section at the Western Users of SAS Software conference was created for people who are new to SAS.  Each year this section includes three core presentations designed to give both a broad overview and, at the same time, a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of SAS. For years I have thought about teaching the SAS Essentials core classes.  Well, this year I finally took the plunge, so to speak.  I really did feel like I was diving into deep water.  It was overwhelming, but it was also fun!  I think I did a good job of covering the basics in a short space.  You can download my slides here:

How SAS Thinks: SAS Basics I

Introduction to DATA Step Programming: SAS Basics II

Introduction to SAS Procedures: SAS Basics III

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 certification, 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.

Using PROC SGPLOT for Quick High-Quality Graphs

In Everything, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on September 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

Using PROC SGPLOT for Quick High-Quality GraphsSoon I will travel to San Jose for the Western Users of SAS Software 2014 Educational Forum and Conference.  I’m looking forward to doing a hands-on workshop on one of my favorite topics, ODS Graphics, specifically the PROCs SGPLOT and SGPANEL.  Here is the abstract:

New with SAS 9.2, ODS Graphics introduced a whole new way of generating graphs using SAS.  With just a few lines of code, you can create a wide variety of high-quality graphs.  This workshop shows how to produce several types of graphs using PROC SGPLOT, and how to create paneled graphs by converting PROC SGPLOT to PROC SGPANEL.  This workshop also shows how to send your graphs to different ODS destinations, how to apply ODS styles to your graphs, and how to specify properties of graphs, such as format, name, height, and width.

If you are going to the conference, I hope you will attend my workshop Thursday, September 4, 2014 4:00-6:00pm. If not, then you can download the paper, step-by-step handout, and syntax reference tables.

SAS in the Cloud

In Everything, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on October 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

Now Appearing at Western Users of SAS Software 2013In a few weeks I will serve as moderator at Western Users of SAS Software 2013 for:

SAS in the Cloud: A Panel Discussion

Panelists:  Rebecca Ottesen, AnnMaria DeMars, Tyler Smith and Amy Peters

Abstract:  Over the last decade, SAS Institute has been quietly developing cloud computing products.  Now several options are available for SAS users via SAS OnDemand for Academics, SAS OnDemand for Professionals, and SAS Visual Analytics.  These products enable you to run SAS over the Internet using a thin client such as a Web browser, SAS Enterprise Guide, or a mobile app.  Come hear a panel of experts discuss the who, what, where and how of using SAS in the Cloud.

If you are at the conference, I hope you will attend our presentation Thursday November 14, 2013 9:00-9:50am. (Note that this is 30 min. later than originally scheduled.) If you cannot make it or you would like to learn more about SAS and Cloud computing, then check out these links to good resources that are—very appropriately—available on the Web:

PowerPoint slides from the panel discussion

General discussion of cloud computing

SAS OnDemand for Academics

SAS OnDemand for Professionals

Video about SAS OnDemand for Professionals

SAS Visual Analytics 6.2: Video Library

Article about SAS and the Cloud, thanks to Tricia Aanderud for sharing this link

SAS document about Cloud computing and link to white paper

Cloud facts, thanks again to Tricia Aanderud for this link

Your Resume–Selling Yourself Using SAS

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, ODS Graphics, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on October 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

Now Appearing at Western Users of SAS Software 2013Here is another presentation to which I have contributed for the Western Users of SAS Software 2013 conference.

Your Resume–Selling Yourself Using SAS

I am honored to have served as a co-author with Rebecca Ottesen on this highly original paper.  This paper shows how to use your SAS skills to create a resume that is clever, unique, and effective.

Here is an excerpt:

Your resume should demonstrate strengths and skills, cite meaningful performance metrics, quantify contributions to the organization, and set you apart from the competition, all while being concise and staying to the point.  As a SAS user, it is likely that the skill set you would like to showcase involves programming and data analysis, so it seems perfectly natural that you should use these skills to create content for your resume.  A well thought out SAS graphic or table might be the perfect selling point to catch the attention of a hiring manager.

Here is an example of a graphic showing a timeline for work and academic experience:

Your Resume

If you are at the conference, I hope you will attend our presentation Wednesday November 13, 2013 2:30-2:50pm. If not, then you can download the paper here.

Writing Code in SAS Enterprise Guide

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on October 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

Now Appearing at Western Users of SAS Software 2013With the Western Users of SAS Software 2013 conference coming soon, I am looking forward to being part of three presentations.  One of those presentations is

Writing Code in SAS Enterprise Guide

This is based on a paper written several years ago for SAS Enterprise Guide 4.1.  That paper became obsolete almost immediately.  So I’ve been wanting to update it for quite some time.  This new paper applies to Enterprise Guide 4.2, 4.3, 5.1 and 6.1.

Here’s an excerpt:

Using SAS Enterprise Guide, you can manipulate data and run reports without ever writing a single line of SAS code.  So it’s not surprising that many SAS programmers believe that SAS Enterprise Guide is only useful to non-programmers.  If you love the SAS language, why would you ever want to use SAS Enterprise Guide?

It turns out that there are several reasons why you might want to do just that.  SAS Enterprise Guide offers programmers a variety of ways to run code.  You can type a program like you do in Display Manager, but you can also use the point-and-click features of SAS Enterprise Guide to generate programs  that you can then modify.  In addition, SAS Enterprise Guide organizes your work into projects making it easy to find your programs, logs, and results; and the process flow diagrams show at a glance how everything in your project fits together.

However, writing programs in SAS Enterprise Guide does require learning a new environment with new windows and a new system for organizing your work.  As with any new skill, there is a learning curve.  The goal of this paper is to ease that transition by explaining SAS Enterprise Guide from a programmer’s perspective.

If you are at the conference, I hope you will attend my presentation Wednesday November 13, 2013 3:30-4:20pm. If not, then you can download the paper here.

And if you can’t attend my presentation, you may want to watch this video about coding with SAS Enterprise Guide.

Three Things I Learned As a SAS LUG Leader

In Everything, Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group, SAS, SAS Global Forum, Western Users of SAS Software on April 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Three Things I Learned As a SAS Local User Group LeaderI recently had the privilege of speaking at a meeting of the Toronto Area SAS Society.  It was a great meeting, and, honestly, I’m not saying this just because I was one of the speakers.  TASS is the best run local user group I have seen.  They have found the right balance of SAS Institute and user involvement so that they can all pull together without getting in each other’s way.  I was impressed by the high level of enthusiasm and professionalism displayed, especially by Art Tabachneck and Matt Malczewski.

Attending TASS brought back memories for me, memories of the eight years that I led the Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group.  I’m proud of my record.  My goal was to have three meetings a year, and, with the help of many local SAS users, I met that goal.  We had a perfect record, in fact.  Under my leadership we held 25 successful meetings in a row.

It was fun, I worked with some great people, and, of course, I learned some things.  However, some of the things I learned surprised me.  So for all LUG leaders and for everyone who is thinking about becoming a LUG leader, I present

Three Things I Learned As a SAS Local User Group Leader

1) There is a vacuum of leadership in the world. 
Lots of people want to be followers; few want to lead.  If you have any interest in being a leader, you will find abundant opportunities.  And you don’t have to start a group (although that is not a bad idea).  There are lots of organizations (PTAs, clubs, RUGs, LUGs) just waiting for you to step into a leadership role.  Don’t make them beg.  Go ahead, volunteer!

2) You should never start anything without having an exit plan.
I hope this doesn’t sound negative because, honestly, it’s not.  It’s just a fact. The default exit plan is “I will do this for the rest of my life.”  That’s not a bad exit plan.  In fact, it’s an excellent exit plan if the thing you are starting is a marriage or, say, parenthood.  However, most people don’t want to be LUG leaders for the rest of their life.  Therefore, it behooves you to have a plan in place for passing the reins to the next leader of your LUG before you take charge.

3) You need to give yourself credit because other people might not.
For some people this comes naturally; for others it doesn’t.  If you are a modest person, then it’s time to learn how to toot your own horn.  You’re working hard. Let everyone know it!  I understand now why the governor has his picture splashed all over the state website. He’s good at giving himself credit.  You can be too.

SAS has an amazing network of users groups–international, regional, local and in-house–all of which provide great opportunities for networking and learning.  SAS Global Forum is, of course, the ultimate SAS users group, but if you can’t attend SGF, there are lots of others.  The SAS Support site lists many groups.  Why not get involved?