In December 2022, we held the first meet-up of the SAS-Powered Educators Community at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland. Since then, I have caught up with Agnieszka Kucharska, from the Faculty of Management, and Bartosz Jabłoński, from Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science at the university. My mission was to understand their experience of using SAS. I also took the opportunity to explore with Agnieszka about the benefits of using SAS Viya for Learners.
Agnieszka, tell us how your journey with SAS began, and your experience with SAS Viya.
During my masters studies, I took a class where SAS software was used, and in 2011 I attended a summer school organized by SAS for academic teachers. Since then I’ve been teaching reporting and data analysis, business intelligence system and economic data visualization at the Faculty of Management, Warsaw University of Technology, and using SAS in my teaching. In the summer of 2019, we modernized the IT infrastructure in my unit and wanted to upgrade the software. We hadn’t upgraded for some time because of the condition of our infrastructure, so I wanted to take the opportunity to upgrade our version of SAS9. However, when I compared SAS Viya for Learners and SAS9, I chosen Viya, because it is much more flexible.
What advantages have you seen in using SAS Viya?
In 2020, during the lockdown, we had to switch to remote teaching. Using Viya saved us from huge problems virtualizing lab classes. For me, the biggest advantage is that it is in the cloud, not held on a server. You just need a computer, and you can access it. Even more importantly, you don’t even need your own computer, you can use any computer in any place. This is useful for students who move around and don’t necessarily use the same computer all the time. The other aspect that is important is that you don’t need to install anything. That is very, very useful for both teachers and students.
How do you rate working with SAS Viya?
I especially like the materials available, and the use cases. These resources allow you to learn any part of Viya enough to teach other people. I can also use the materials as much as I like in my teaching, and change and adapt them. There are data sets and practices for students, as well as additional materials. I don’t really need anything else to run classes, which is great. I also use SAS Viya for my research as well as my teaching. I love that the interface for everything is drag and drop. With just two clicks, you can switch from one type of analysis to another, for both teaching and research. This is really useful. Uploading your own data set is possible in just three steps, which is significantly easier than in SAS9. I was taking maybe two hours to do work that I can now do in 10 minutes.
What do students think of the SAS Viya platform?
I use a lot of software in my classes, and I think it’s fair to say that Viya is the most popular. My students seem to really enjoy working on Viya, and they appreciate that they are using the latest software. They particularly appreciate not having to install anything. They have so many classes and projects that sometimes they have to choose which software to install because their disc space is limited. They also don’t have to do anything to get a license for Viya, just log in with the faculty email address. Provided that they log in at least once a month, they keep their license over time. They can even work from home if they want.
Finally, do you feel that SAS competencies are needed on the market, and why?
Yes, there is definitely a high demand for analyst skills in the market. Our students learn about how analytical solutions work and how to use them in different environments, and I always get feedback that they find this useful. I see a lot of people learning data science, and a lot learning marketing or management. However, there is a shortage of people who can do both management and data analysis, and I think my students can see how useful these skills will be.
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