Use it, or Lose it! 10 Ways of Getting the Most SAS Value from my Retirement…

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To me retirement only means not earning a salary from my SAS programming, which will, from now, become a pure hobby. However, to program in SAS AND to be able to get access to all of its components, including Enterprise Guide, batch processing, and the Program Editor, the SAS licence has to be paid for. For me this would amount to paying around GBP 3,000 a year, and so I have drawn up a list of ways that you can contribute to that total, but at the same time benefit from my 40+ years of SAS programming, and 30+ years as an independent SAS consultant, working in the banking, insurance, IT, pharmaceutical, HR and marketing business sectors, and on IBM mainframe, OS/2, VAX, Unix, Windows and Linux.

Any excess income will be used to extend my SAS licence into the following year. I’m planning to use this income from September 2024, so we now have a few months to raise sufficient funds.

93Days remaining 16Hours 38Minutes 38Seconds

The following are grouped into group¹ (for companies or collaborating individuals) and individual² options:

For Companies or Collaborating Individuals¹:

No.1 = 1/2 day SAS training, including digital training materials, for GBP 1,800

No.2 = 1 month of confidential online support with unlimited questions for GBP 720

No.3 = 1 day of remote SAS programming for GBP 600

No.4 = 1 hour of 1-to-1 SAS video discussion for GBP 100

  • Book your hour of SAS video discussion.
  • Video discussions use Jitsi Meet, which is limited to 100 participants.
  • Topics include:
    • Base SAS syntax
    • Base SAS functions
    • Base SAS formats and informats
    • Base SAS procedures
    • Data step merging
    • PROC SQL syntax
    • PROC SQL merging
    • PROC SQL updating
    • Macro introduction
    • Macro syntax
    • Macro variables
    • ODS Graphics introduction
    • ODS Graphics procedures
    • Enterprise Guide introduction
    • SAS/Studio introduction

For Individuals²:

No.5 = 1 confidential remote question for GBP 72

No.6 = 1 ebook copy of course notes to one of my SAS courses from GBP 11

  • My SAS course notes are published as ebooks on Lulu.com, who, unlike Amazon, etc., do not take massive commissions, so I receive most of the published price.
  • See my Book Table for more details.

No.7 = 1 ebook copy of one of my SAS books directly from my blog site for GBP 12.50

  • “Saving Time and Money using SAS” is no longer sold in softback, but you can download the ebook directly from my blog site.
  • See my Book Table for more details.

No.8 = 3 months of subscription to the SAS Programming Forum, including access to my online SAS course collection, for 3 x GBP 5

  • Details of what the SAS Programming Forum is can be found here.
  • See how to subscribe to the SAS Programming Forum, including my online SAS course collection, here.

No.9 = 1 copy of one of my SAS softback books from a reseller from GBP 25

  • Although these options appear to be lower in the list than expected, I receive very little from softback books sold, because I received an advance when they were published.
  • See my Book Table for more details.

No.10 = 1 copy of one of my SAS ebooks from a reseller from GBP 3

  • Although these options appear to be lower in the list than expected, I receive very little from ebooks sold by resellers, because I received an advance when they were published.
  • See my Book Table for more details.

Should I retire from the SAS World?

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My current SAS contract will end on 11Apr2023, but my SAS Software licence will expire on 31May2023. The second date is probably more pertinent, as, without income, I’m not prepared to finance an annual software renewal without a very good reason (or a sponsor!), and the lack of that licence will necessitate me retiring from the SAS world!

Let’s be absolutely clear at this point in time, I’m not worried about retiring, but I said many years ago, when I passed the UK pension age, I will leave the final decision to my clients!

After 36 years in the SAS world in 2017 I received a Lifetime Achievement Award from SAS UK, which prompted my wife to suggest that I should retire immediately, as, she said, SAS UK now reckon I’m not going to do anything more! However, at the time I felt I had so much more to do!!

Now after 42 years in the SAS world I’m not sure now whether you are shouting “Don’t Retire Now!” or not, but, if you still need to ask me SAS-related questions, you will have to let me know soon, and the best way would be to subscribe to [sas.answers @ Holland Numerics] before the end of May 2023. This permits multiple SAS-related questions to be asked using up to 5 email addresses for a calendar month. Response times are guaranteed within 48 hours. If just 5 companies subscribe for a single month, or a single company subscribes for 5 months, or some combination in-between, then I’ll be able to continue for another year. It is that simple.

I’m currently working on my last(?) SAS-related book with the provisional title of “Memoirs of a Power SAS User”, detailing important SAS and more general software-related facts I’ve found useful during my 40+ years working with SAS software, but this will, of course, be made more difficult without an active SAS licence.

My final, and important, fact for potential subscribers and employers is that in several previous SAS contracts I have been budgeted, when working off-site, at 1.5 FTE (full-time employee), because I can get SAS work done with fewer delays!

So, my retirement is in your hands!

SAS training for home-workers: Keeping your mind active and your skills current

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I have been working from home on and off since 1996, so it now feels quite normal to start my work day by walking from my kitchen into my office. I know some of my colleagues have struggled with the many distractions that exist at home, so I suppose I’ve been lucky, but I still do not like doing nothing at all. To stop any boredom setting in I will look for ways to do something useful, and, over the years, I have taught myself many programming languages by reading books, running example code, and trying to write applications that will be useful day-to-day, for example:

  • Database applications for calculating hours left to work and printing invoices in Visual Basic.
  • Web applications to send me emails and SMS messages in Perl.
  • Smartphone apps for webOS (remember HP/Palm phones?) in Javascript and HTML5.
  • Smartphone apps for Android in Java.
  • Crossword puzzle word-finder scripts in LibreOffice Basic.
  • SAS Enterprise Guide custom tasks in VB.Net.
  • SAS Studio custom tasks in XML.

Each language presents a different set of problems and solutions, so each new solution will broaden your knowledge of the computer world. Not all language have been central to my day job, but my views on solving computer problems has been moulded by each new programming language I’ve used. In 1996 there was no significant online help, so you couldn’t easily ask anyone for help, but instead you had to rely on hints and tips in computer magazines. Later the online communities have become vital, but you will now have to ask your questions in the correct way, so that it will be understood by each community, as names are not necessarily consistent, otherwise your question is likely to be ignored. I’ve now found ways to improve the chances of my questions being answered, even if my problems are not always resolved:

  • Write a subject line that asks a question that could be answered, otherwise it probably won’t even be read.
  • Set the scene by describing the environment you are working in, such as operating system, and software language and version.
  • Describe in as much detail as you can what you are trying to do, what you have already tried, and any results/messages that you are getting, even if you don’t understand them.
  • Never assume that you’re problem can be solved, but work with anyone who offers you assistance.
  • Be humble and grateful, because there will be programmers out there who know more about this than you, and you might need to call on their skills again.

So what has all this got to do with SAS training? Well, thanks to COVID-19, there are now more home-workers than ever before, and in some cases the work available may not be filling your day, so what can you do to fill your spare time and improve your programming knowledge? I have gathered together some sources of SAS training and information which are either free or inexpensive, which you may find useful, and if you find out about any more, then post a comment and I’ll be happy to check them out:

  • Training courses:
    • My corporate SAS training courses are intended for large groups, but each course has an associated eBook that is much cheaper and available through the Training section on this site.
    • I have a low-cost forum with a monthly subscription called the SAS Programming Forum, which welcomes SAS programming questions, but also includes the SAS course with a growing number of SAS-related topics, such as Data Steps, SAS Macros and PROC SQL, either as individual posts or LMS courses.
    • If you prefer to learn from eBooks or Android apps, then the topics in the SAS course are also available as eBooks and Android apps (on Amazon Appstore and Google Play).
  • Papers and books:
    • The Conferences Paper section on this site is filled with papers covering a wide range of SAS-related topics, which can be downloaded for free.
    • Other SAS-related books can be bought through the Books section on this site.
    • The largest searchable collection of SAS-related conference papers is maintained by Lex Jansen, including papers from SUGI, SeUGI, regional SAS user groups and forums, VIEWS, PhUSE, PharmaSUG and SAS Global Forum.
  • Competitive learning:
    • Sasensei is a SAS-related quiz and learning site where the flashcards, questions and quizzes are contributed by the users, and you earn points and awards from contributions and correct answers, but you will always learn from your incorrect answers too.
  • SAS support:
  • SAS programming platforms for learning:
    • SAS University Edition is free for use as a learning platform, and can either be downloaded and installed on your laptop using VMware or VirtualBox, or accessed through the web on the AWS Cloud.
    • WPS Analytics Community Edition is a free version of WPS Analytics, which can be licensed from World Programming for 6 months at a time and installed on your PC, and can run SAS programs using quite a large subset of SAS programming features, and includes R and Python interfaces.

I think that should at least get you started on your SAS improvement projects!

Do you want to search Amazon? You can now!

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Do you want to search Amazon from my blog site? You can now, because I’ve added 2 new links into the Menu under Holland Numerics Product Shop to Search Amazon.com and Search Amazon.co.uk.

By using this link it won’t cost you any more than going to Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk directly, but a small commission will be paid to Holland Numerics to support the blog site, if you purchase anything on Amazon.

Please support my blog site by buying from Amazon here as an alternative to downloading and buying through the Holland Numerics Product Shop!