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Q&A Session from the Getting Started with SAS Certification Webinar

by SAS Moderator on ‎02-20-2017 01:56 PM (1,315 Views)

SAS Global Certification recently sponsored a free SAS Community webinar on "Getting Started with SAS Certification".  This is a complete summary of the Q&A session during the webinar held on Feb 8, 2017.  Please note, under each topic heading, there may be multiple questions listed and one answer provided that answers those questions.


Webinar Logistics

Q: ­If possible, can you please include the presentation in your responses to us?

Q: ­So will a link to the survey be emailed out to our email ID?


A: Approximately five days following the webinar, all registrants will receive a link to a recording of the webinar.  In addition a PDF of the slides along with a written summary of the Q&A session will be provided to all registrants.   The webinar survey was displayed immediately following the webinar for participants to fill out the same day as the live event.


SAS Certification Program-specific Questions

Q: ­If one does not pass the certification on the first try is there another free try given to the candidate? ­

Q: Do you pay the testing fees each time you do an attempt?


A: If a candidate does not pass a certification the first time, there is NO free attempt given to the candidate to take the exam again.  Candidates may attempt each certification exam up to five (5) times in a 12-month period, waiting a minimum of 14 days between attempts. Exam charges are incurred for each exam attempt. Exams that do not comply with this retake policy will be considered invalid and will not be eligible for refund and/or a certification credential. Once a passing score is achieved on a specific exam, no further attempts are allowed on that exam.


Q: ­Do SAS Certifications ever expire or need to be renewed?


A: The SAS Global Certification Program now issues versioned credentials that do not expire. For example, if you earn the SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9 credential, you will retain this credential and it will not expire. Please note: Some exams may retire as new software is developed and/or enhanced.

In previously released exams, there were some non-versioned SAS credentials that had a 3-year expiration date. We no longer offer non-versioned credentials. All SAS credentials that were non-versioned have expired. Please refer to our FAQs for the complete list of SAS non-versioned credentials and retired exams:  http://support.sas.com/certify/faq.html#


Q: During the exam, do we actually write programs in SAS? Or, is it only the multiple choice questions?


A: Our exams are a combination of multiple-choice, short-answer and interactive item type questions. Interactive questions allow you to complete a task. The exam question will provide you with a work area. In this work area, you may be asked to:

  • use drag and drop functionality to configure a user interface component
  • use drop-down lists, check boxes, and radio buttons to configure user interface components
  • build a SAS program from a list of available lines of code.

The exam scoring mechanism will evaluate the settings you have established in the work area to determine if the item is answered correctly.


Q: ­Is the certification community a specific group that we can join?


A: Absolutely YES, we encourage you to join the Certification Community and other SAS Communities.  The Certification Community is a knowledge-sharing community for SAS Certified Professionals and anyone who wants to learn more about becoming SAS Certified. Ask questions and get answers in real time.  Share with others who are interested in certification and who are studying for certifications.

To join go to: https://communities.sas.com, and click on “Join Now”.  Once you’ve created your profile, you can explore all the different SAS Support Communities.  You’ll find the Certification Community under “Learn SAS”.  Go to:  https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Certification/bd-p/certification.


SAS BASE Programmer with SAS 9 Exam

Q:  ­For the base SAS programmer exam, how many questions will be asked and are they all multiple choice questions? Thanks.­

Q: ­What is the current passing score for base certification?


A: The BASE Programmer exam has 60-65 multiple-choice and short-answer questions. The passing score is 70%.

You can find out specific details for the SAS Certified BASE Programmer for SAS 9 exam along with details for all of our exams by visiting our website at: http://support.sas.com/certify/.  Select the BASE Programmer exam and then look under Exam Requirements.  


SAS Exam Preparation Tips and Available Training

During the webinar, we received a number of questions asking us how to prepare to take SAS certification exams and about available books and training. Most of the questions centered on preparing for the BASE Programmer certification.

Here are the questions we received:

Q: ­Can you provide a link for us to find more information on the Credentials and suggested trainings? ­

Q: ­I want to take the Base programmer for SAS 9 (I had basic SAS class during my graduate programming classes) - when I register for this exam will there be any material provided?

Q:  I am new to SAS and planning to take the Base certification.  Should I have some experience before going for certification?

Q: How long should I expect to put in to prepare to take the BASE SAS Certification?

Q: If I finish the e-learning, is it enough for SAS certificate?

Q:  Are books available to help you prepare for the certification exams? ­

Q:  Is the SAS Base prep guide sufficient to study for SAS Base certification along with online practice or are there any other suggested books­?

­Q: I'm a student with moderate SAS experience (used it in undergrad and currently using it in graduate courses). I'm nervous about taking the Base certification as I’m not sure if I have the skillset to pass it the first time. Should I be worried about taking­ the exam?

­Q: Do you suggest previous experience in any other programming languages (SQL, Python, etc.) to better prepare for SAS Base Programmer using SAS 9?


A: To help candidates prepare for exams, SAS offers a broad curricula of instructor-based training, Live Web classes, and e-learning courses. Information on exam preparation options are listed on our website at http://support.sas.com/certify/ under the “Exam Preparation” tab within each exam. 

Also under the “Exam Preparation” tab, you will find sample test questions, links to practice exams and other resources such as SAS Certification Prep Guides and other SAS Books, documentation and white papers. You can check out SAS books by visiting the SAS Bookstore at www.sas.com/store/books

To help you know what content is potentially tested on each of our exams we strongly suggest you look at the information under the “Exam Study Aid” tab within each exam. We now provide a detailed listing of the exam testing objectives for each of our exams.

As mentioned in the webinar, everyone is different when it comes to studying for a certification exam. Whether you choose formal training, e-learning, self-study, or reading books, you simply need to find the study approach that works best for you. Practical work experience is important.  We recommend that you have anywhere between 3-6 months practical work experience with the subject matter.  For the BASE Programmer credential you do NOT need programming experience with another programming language although previous programming experience may help you pick up and learn the SAS programming language a little faster than someone with no previous programming experience.


Getting started with SAS, New to SAS, Where to Start with Certification

During the webinar, we received a number of questions from people who were brand new to SAS and just starting out with programming. People asked us how to get started with SAS, where to start with our certification program and how to gain access to SAS software in order to learn SAS.


Here are the questions we received:

Q: I am a project manager with several years of experience and want to break into SAS, which certification would you recommend?

Q: ­ Apart from Base certification what other certifications are good for a beginner? Do I have to do all the SAS Foundation certifications before exploring of SAS related jobs?


A: In the webinar we said that we often recommend that you if you were new to SAS it might be a good idea to start with the BASE Programmer certification, however, that is not a requirement.  Our certification exams are not intended to be taken in any order, but are based on certain skills and how you utilize SAS and SAS products.  

The "Foundation Tools" exams are for SAS Programmers and do have an order - SAS Base Programmer for SAS 9 is a prerequisite to the SAS Advanced Programmer for SAS 9.   The "Advanced Analytic" exams are product specific for users of Enterprise Miner and SAS/STAT.   The "Business Intelligence and Analytics" exams are for BI Clients and SAS Visual Analytics.  The "Data Management" exams are for Data Integration and DataFlux Data Management Studio.  The "SAS Administration" is for IT administrators performing administration for SAS Business Analytics.

We recommend that you research jobs in your field of interest to find out whether you need SAS skills for your prospective job or whether you need a certification and if so, what certification is recommended.

In addition, the implementation of digital badging gives candidates the ability to tie certification and labor market insights together to potentially help those who have earned a certification find employment opportunities requiring certain skills.


Q: I am a homemaker and just a beginner on SAS with no technical experience. How can I gain more hands-on experience on SAS?

Q: Is there any free SAS program?

Q: Does SAS offer any free training for newbies?


A: In the webinar we suggested that one of the best places to start was to go to www.sas.com  and then look at “Learn SAS”.   From there you can link to information on training including free tutorials, getting started videos, e-learning, live web classes, learning subscriptions and the “Ask the Expert” series.  You can also download SAS University Edition – free software for learning SAS.  This site also has links to our certification program and to SAS books.  You can take SAS Programming 1 via e-learning as well as the SAS Statistics 1course.


SAS Certifications and their Impact on Employment Opportunities

During the webinar, we received a number of questions from people asking about the impact on employment opportunities that earning a SAS credential might have. 


Here are the questions we received:

Q: Will you be a competitive candidate for an entry-level role with a college business degree AND a SAS certification? Or do you need some sort of computer science degree as well?

Q: Many employers require experience with SAS in addition to certification. What is the best way to gain experience post certification in order to have the ability to get a job?

Q: I am new to SAS and SAS coding. I have a degree in a non-related field to programming/statistics. I am trying to get a job with SAS in the future. How much weight does the certification have when it comes to future jobs with SAS with non-related degree?


A: The SAS Global Certification program certainly does not have a crystal ball when it comes to the job market, so it is difficult for us to predict an individual’s success or failure to find a job based upon whether or not you get a SAS credential.  However, what we can definitively point to are some of the statistics we shared with you in the webinar.  We know, because our research shows, that employers are looking for people with the skills that we test for in our exams.  Certification is seen by SAS customers and Partners as a symbol of confidence in an individual’s ability to leverage the full power of SAS software in their job role.  The Money and Payscale article published in 2016 listed SAS skills at the top of the list, with Data Mining and Data Modeling also in the top five.  So, considering a SAS credential is definitely one way that you can set yourself apart in the job market. 

As we also mentioned in the webinar as an individual, earning a SAS credential can help you get a new job, keep the job you have or help you get a better job.

As far as gaining more experience with SAS goes, there are a number of ways you can do that but one of the best ways is to download SAS University Edition. There is an online community where you can get support and interact with other people learning and using SAS.  Go to:  www.sas.com and click on “Learn SAS” and you will see the link to SAS University Edition.   


SAS Data Science Credential

Q: ­Quick question about the SAS Data scientist do I have to take the BASE SAS exam first?


A: No, you do not have to take the BASE Programmer exam first before you pursue the Data Scientist credentials, however, the expectation of the program is that you have prior experience with SAS programming at least at the level of the SAS BASE Programmer before attempting the SAS Data Scientist. 


Q: ­Does the data science boot camp cater to participants who are interested in big data but have no experience / training in the field yet?


A: We encourage anyone interested in the SAS Academy for Data Science and the Data Science Certification to check out the website for more information:   http://www.sas.com/en_us/learn/academy-data-science/data-science-certification.html

Here are the prerequisites:

  • To enroll in the program, you need at least six months of programming experience in SAS or another programming language. If you're just getting started or need to brush up on your SAS programming skills, the SAS Programming for Data Science Fast Track will give you a good foundation.
  • We also recommend that you have at least six months of experience using mathematics and/or statistics in a business environment. You can get started with the Statistics 1: Introduction to ANOVA, Regression or Logistic Regression course, which is available as an instructor-led or free online e-learning course.


SAS Certification Practice Exams

Q: It seems that there are websites that “sell” practice exams or offer additional training. What is your take on these sites?


A: As mentioned in the webinar, your best source for information about SAS certification exams, exam preparation materials and the most up to date training offerings to help you prepare to take on of our exams is the SAS Global Certification program website at: http://support.sas.com/certify/.  Other websites you encounter are likely unauthorized by SAS and provide unauthorized exam content and materials that are outdated.  We do NOT recommend and strongly discourage using materials from these sites. 


Q: Please tell me more about how to access the “practice” exams for the SAS Platform Administrator?


A: You can find information about practice exams by looking under the “Exam Preparation” tab for each of the exams we offer.  You can also find the “Exam Practice” link under Resources on our certification web site.  Specifically the practice exam for the SAS Platform Administrator can be found by going to the Platform Administration exam on the certification web site and selecting the “Exam Preparation” tab.   You will see the practice exam listed under the Practice heading.


Q: Pearson VUE also sells practice exams. Is that recommended?


A: Practice exams for select exams are now available through SAS and Pearson VUE for purchase. Please note there are several differences between the practice exams purchased through SAS and the practice exams purchased through Pearson VUE. Exam fees are $55 per exam for purchasing from either group.


SAS Exam Discounts

Q: For the student discount - do you need to be full time or also qualify if part time? Also what is needed to be submitted for student discount?


A: SAS Global Certification exams are available at a 50% discount off the standard, full-price, published fees for those in the field of academia.

 You should be prepared to take your exam within 30 days of receiving your discount voucher. Requests for a discount voucher must be made prior to registering for your SAS Global Certification exam. Vouchers are valid for one exam attempt and are non-transferrable and must be used by the individual who applies. Only one voucher is issued per request. If you wish to take additional exams after utilizing a voucher, you must reapply.

Eligibility and Guidelines

We offer 50% off exam fees to employees, educators, teachers, students, faculty and staff associated with academic institutions and school districts.

 To apply for the discount voucher, we request one of the following as proof of affiliation for verification: •a current, dated letter on university letterhead with the department head or other administrator's signature with information on your enrollment or employment

  • a copy of your current semester transcript with the university name, your name, and courses you are currently taking
  • a student ID or staff ID with expiration date.

We reserve the right to ask for additional information if needed for verification. I-20s are not accepted as proof.

Please FAX proof to 919-677-4444 (Attention: SAS Certification) or provide an electronic copy via e-mail to certification@sas.com. Please include your e-mail address with your faxed request. Upon receipt of your information and verification, a 50% off voucher will be e-mailed to you.

Schedule your exam appointment with Pearson VUE and provide the voucher number during your registration.


Q: How do we find out if there is a relevant employer discount?


A: From the SAS Certification Website:  http://support.sas.com/certify/  then look under RESOURCES and then select Packages and Discounts to see information about Employer discounts.


Q: What is the veteran discount?


A: SAS offers a U. S. Veterans Career Transition Offer. Please visit:  http://support.sas.com/training/veterans/

  • To request a free certification voucher, e-mail proof of military standing to certification@sas.com. Your certification voucher code is good for six weeks at Pearson VUE. Register for your exam at www.pearsonvue.com/sas.

Q: ­Where did you say the April discount offerings were being offered for certifications?


A: We were referring to the certification exam testing sessions being offered at SAS Global Forum in Orlando Florida April 2-5th.  Visit the SAS Global Forum 2017 at: http://www.sas.com/en_us/events/sas-global-forum/sas-global-forum-2017.html



SAS Exams and the Testing Experience

Q: How much time do I need to allow prior to booking an exam reservation. Is there a long waiting time for an available testing spot at a test center?


A: Appointments may be made several months in advance and up to one calendar day prior to the day a candidate wishes to test, subject to availability.  Candidates may NOT register at a Pearson VUE testing facility.  As mentioned in the webinar, Pearson VUE offers over 4500 global delivery sites, so it’s most likely that you will not have any issues with a long wait time at a testing center.


Q: Who can see your scores after you earn the certification? Can employers see your score?


A: No one except you can see your exam scores.  It is SAS policy that we do not share exam scores with anyone.


Q: Does the exam format get updated every once in a while?


A: SAS continually monitors all of our exams and we constantly look at the content to make sure that it is technically up to date.  If deemed appropriate we may change the format of some questions on various exams.  We perform updates on exams to ensure they are of the highest quality.


What’s New with SAS Certification/What’s Coming?

Q: Is there a roadmap for certification of SAS’ new product, SAS Viya?  If so, what is the timeline?


A: We are in the early planning phases for certifications related to SAS Viya. We expect that there will be credentials based on SAS Viya but have not developed a firm timeline for their implementation.


Q: What about some of the new stuff coming? Like CAS, SAS wrappers for Python, SAS API as a Service? Do these new tools and technologies change the relevance and importance of BASE/Advanced, etc.?


A: We continually evaluate the content of our certifications to ensure they reflect the skills sought by employers. As new functionality is developed in SAS and adopted by our customers, the content is either incorporated into existing credentials, or for more significant changes, new credentials are developed. So long as the core functionality of DATA Step programming is valued by our customers, the Base programmer credential will have value in the marketplace.


Q: What is the difference between SAS and R?


A: SAS and R are both statistical analysis software packages. Each language has its own specific syntax and procedure to run analysis on data.




Other Questions

QI am currently a full-time student. Is SAS popular within the financial industry? I have heard that Python and R are very hot now.


A: A significant portion of SAS’ business comes from the financial services industry.  SAS delivers innovative solutions for the financial services industry in the areas of Visual Analytics High-Performance Analytics and Data Management.


Q: Has the little SAS book edition five changed drastically from edition four?


A:  We would refer you to the SAS Bookstore www.sas.com/store/books to read the information about the 5th edition of “The Little SAS Book”.   You should be able to look at the description and content outline of the book online and make a comparison.


Q: There are quite a few entry level job posts and internships for recent graduates. Does SAS offer any type of mentorships for mid-level career employees who are interested in a career shift to SAS?


A: This is not a question specific to certification, therefore, we would refer you to our Human Resources department. Please visit:  www.sas.com and select Careers.  From there you can link to the Human Resources FAQ where you can enter in your specific inquiry regarding internships. 

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