The SAS language was created by Anthony J. Barr at North Carolina University in 1966. It was further developed by James Goodnight since 1968 and by John Sall from 1973. In 1976 the SAS Institute was incorporated based on the popularity of the Statistical Analysis System (the original name for SAS).
Contrary to popular belief, the SAS Institute has not been the sole provider of SAS Language resources over the years. SAS Languages solutions have been provided by The Bass Institute (now defunct), GNU DAP (inactive), Caroline (by Dulles Open) and WPS System by World Programming. Overall the SAS Institute has championed and invested resources into the SAS language including sponsoring papers, communities and conferences, to become the market leader in business analytics solutions.
Though the SAS language is almost 45 years old now, it remains one of the most widely used statistical programming languages, competing with RSPSS, Matlab and Stata. It is a clear leader in industry and business while recently facing competition with the open source language R in academia, research and customized
Based on almost a decade long experience with working with the SAS language, here is a list of the top learning resources for learning SAS language in order to work in this exciting field.
1) Books by SAS Press – The SAS Institute has a separate publishing division that focuses on nurturing the analytics ecosystem by generating and publishing a steady stream of books and literature on the SAS language. The SAS Bookstore is a great place to look for books at the beginner, intermediate and expert level at http://support.sas.com/publishing/index.html
Among the most popular books on SAS have been The Little SAS Book (https://support.sas.com/pubscat/bookdetails.jsp?pc=61860 ) and Base SAS Certification Guide http://support.sas.com/publishing/cert/index.html
2) The SAS-L Email Group- The SAS-L email group is a very supportive and helpful resource for programmers at any level when stuck in a particular program. The archives are available at http://listserv.uga.edu/archives/sas-l.html . People posting on the list are expected to paste a sample of the dataset structure , and a clear explanation of what they are trying to achieve.
3) The SAS Community Website- SAS Users have an online wiki for collaboratively adding in code samples, programs and sharing tips. the site is available at http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/Main_Page and it is quite useful in terms of daily tips to improve SAS language skills, blogs and papers.
4) Blogs at SAS.com – This is a collection of blogs that deal with technical, but also issues of business analytics, application in various domains and SAS related happenings. With almost 29 blogs , http://blogs.sas.com is one of the better locations to build your perspective in business analytics and not just the technical aspects of writing code. SAS blogs are exclusively maintained by the SAS Institute team of communication people and feature experts from across multiple business practices and domains.
5) SAS Online Document- SAS online document is the documentation available for everyone by web access. It is like a big book or HTML library and you can view the latest version at http://support.sas.com/documentation/onlinedoc/91pdf/index.html It is very useful for fine-tuning your SAS language code and for discovering extended functionality to your software as well as troubleshooting or debugging programs.
6) Papers from SAS Global Users Conference Proceedings ( SUGI) – This is an archive of papers presented at the annual conference for SAS Users. The conferences have been taking place since 1976, and the papers represent the best innovative uses in the language. They can be accessed online at http://support.sas.com/events/sasglobalforum/previous/online.html
7) Class Room Training- Working on an actual SAS project is the best practical learning experience. In the absence of a live project, you can also enroll in class room based training. Many US based universities offer MS in Analytics and SAS language is taught in them.
There are multiple ways to learn the SAS language and here are some of the most commonly used ones. Learning the SAS language is both essential and desirable to handling analytics projects and for your career.