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SAS and Coursera Launch New Program

By Cait Etherington
January 08, 2019

In 2018, big data continued to be big news. Behind every big data solution for learning or business, there are people with deep expertise in statistical analysis system software (SAS). At this time, however, many available positions for people with SAS expertise simply can’t be met. To help train more SAS experts, in 2019, SAS and Coursera are launching a new program that aims to certify SAS programmers around the world.

The Role of SAS in Data-Driven Fields

SAS isn’t new. In fact, the software suite dates back to the 1960s. But as the ability to generate and mine data has expanded, the demand for SAS experts has also grown across industries. In 2018, TechRepublic listed SAS skills among the top in-demand artificial intelligence (AI) skills, but AI isn’t the only field where SAS expertise is critical. From finance to healthcare to education, SAS experts are currently in high demand.

SAS is generally described as an integrated software suite that supports advanced analytics, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. The software can be accessed either through a graphical user interface or using Base SAS. At its most basic, the software suite enables analysts to more easily work with large data sets. For example, with the software, an analyst can easily access data in multiple formats (e.g., SAS tables, Microsoft Excel tables, or database files), manage and manipulate data, analyze it using statistical techniques, and translate findings into sharable reports in a variety of formats.

SAS and Cousera Launch New Program to Bridge the Expertise Gap

While SAS’s partnership with Coursera is new, the company is not new to training. Since 1999, it has offered its own SAS Global Certification program. During this time, the company has awarded 165,000 SAS credentials to individuals in 112 countries. SAS also has a long history of collaborating with outside education providers to deliver its curriculum. To date, the company has partnered with colleges and universities around the world to launch 75 degree and 212 joint certificate programs in analytics and related disciplines. Now SAS is partnering with Coursera to help reach even more potential leaners.

In a January 8 press release announcing the program, Sean O’Brien, Vice President of Education at SAS, explained, “Analytics is an essential part of the fourth industrial revolution. Our customers are aggressively seeking talent to help them compete in the age of analytics. The broad reach of Coursera will help learners around the world more easily develop the SAS skills they need to get ahead.”

If SAS has identified Coursera as a potentially powerful partner, it is no coincidence. The California-based online learning platform currently offers more than 2500 courses with 150 university partners around the world. Coursera also has a history of partnering with private businesses. In 2018, for example, the company successfully launched new program with Google.

Scope and Structure of the Program

The new Coursera SAS program will be comprised of three courses and lead to a certification in SAS. Learners who complete Coursera’s new SAS Programming Specialization will acquire the skills needed to pass the SAS Base Programming Certification exam, which is a recognized credential across industries. As part of the program, learners will have access to interactive demos, exercises, and hands-on practice using a free SAS software environment.

The program is recommended for anyone thinking about pursuing a career path in data science, business analytics, or any other field where expertise in SAS is required. Interested learners can learn more about the program by visiting Coursera’s SAS Programming Specialization site.

Photo by Émile Perron on Unsplash.