Many of you may be asking what is “VIEWS”?
Back in 1998 a group of enthusiastic SAS programmers founded VIEWS – the International SAS Programmer Community, and Andy Radcliffe became the first editor of VIEWS News. The free newsletter delivered hints, tips, news, and features on technologies and techniques to VIEWS members. Articles were written by a balanced mixture of users and consultants – with occasional contributions from SAS staff too. The short, punchy style of VIEWS News made it easy and convenient to read for the busy members of VIEWS. I took over the Editor’s role in 2002, and published it up to the most recent issue in 2011 Q4. Every back-issue of the newsletter can still be downloaded from here, because the newsletter continues to be hosted on sasCommunity.org.
Actually the newsletter has not really died yet, but is in suspended animation until I have time to publish a new issue, but the VIEWS web site and email addresses have now expired, so I have created a new contact email address for VIEWS at firstname.lastname@example.org, which will accept membership requests and newsletter content, just in case. More details can be found in this post: Rejoining VIEWS UK (or just joining for the first time)?.
You have a certificate from SAS saying you can program, and you have been offered a job as a SAS programmer. Well done! So what happens now?
Hopefully your new employer will arrange for SAS training for you, and then you’ll be given a computer to run your SAS programs on. If you are lucky you’ll be in a team of SAS programmers where some are experienced enough to assist you. However, your team may only include inexperienced programmers like yourself, so how do you get answers to your questions?
(1) Research: Search Google for possible answers to your questions. This may produce links to http://support.sas.com or http://www.lexjansen.com, so try these links first.
(2) Experiment: Try out these suggestions to see which work for your situation.
(3) Discuss: Talk about these solutions with your colleagues.
(1) Delegate: Post vague questions on forums in the hope that someone will write your program for you. You will never improve your skills by using someone else to do it for you.
(2) Break copyright: Post any company data on the web or in external emails.
(3) Reveal: Ask questions on the web which may reveal confidential information about your employers or clients. It is also recommended that you never post your email address or phone number either, because they could be used to spam you, or even to spam others looking as if you are doing it.
Once you have a working SAS program, and this may take a while to achieve, remember to re-visit it regularly with a view to improving it using knowledge you’ve gained over time. No program is ever perfect, but your aim should be to approach perfection with each amendment.
So how do you gain SAS knowledge? The SAS certification questions and answers cover only a tiny fraction of what SAS can do. The temptation is to stick to what you know, but this will never allow you to improve your SAS programming, so read the SAS blogs, SAS-related forums and SAS conference papers regularly, and then try out the new techniques to learn new stuff all the time. This should never end. I’ve been using SAS since 1981 and I’m still learning new stuff about SAS every day!