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Calcite | Level 5

Hello Community,

I'm at a crossroads and would appreciate your insights. I aspire to work as a biostatistician or data scientist in the pharmaceutical sector, where proficiency in SAS is often a prerequisite. While I haven't used SAS in my previous roles, it seems crucial for roles in the pharma industry.

Considering this, do you think it's worth investing 1-2 years to learn SAS for my career goals, or do you foresee a shift towards R/Python in these industries in the near future?

Your advice and perspectives are highly valued. Thanks in advance!

Rhodochrosite | Level 12

they're still using SAS but R Shiny is brought up a lot so maybe you want to learn R Shiny.


It's worth remembering that SAS has been widely used aound the world in many industries since the 1980s and continues to be so. I don't think you need to be concerned that this trend will stop any time soon. Also be wary of open source software. It has it's place but companies don't tend to use it for business-critical IT applications for good reasons.

Calcite | Level 5

I want to express my sincere gratitude for the insightful responses and guidance provided regarding my career dilemma. Your diverse perspectives have been invaluable in helping me navigate this decision.

It's reassuring to hear that SAS continues to be widely used in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, and has a longstanding history. The cautionary note about open source software is duly noted, emphasizing the reliability of SAS for business-critical applications.

The mention of R Shiny as a potential alternative is intriguing. I'll certainly explore this avenue further to understand how it complements or aligns with the industry requirements. If anyone has specific insights or resources for getting started with R Shiny, I'd greatly appreciate your recommendations.

Once again, thank you all for taking the time to share your expertise. It's incredibly beneficial as I chart my course toward a career in biostatistics and data science.


Best regards,


Super User

I'm not in the Pharma industry, but would still say yes, if you want to work in Pharma, learning SAS is a valuable skill and will be a valuable skill for the foreseeable future.


There is a tremendous amount of work being done within pockets of the Pharma community to move toward R (not as much movement toward Python). So definitely R skills will be helpful to your career as well (Python too, just maybe not Pharma-specific).  Big corporations move slowly, as do regulatory bodies.  The Pharma industry as a whole will not move to R in the 'near future.'  Many companies will need programmers and biostatisticians with both SAS and R knowledge for the foreseeable future.

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