Is SAS The Best Programming Language?

October 7, 2017

Like many great debates that run over centauries, comparison of SAS with other programming languages, discussing their pros and cons, is a common and continuous process. It is a point of consideration between analytics for long now, on the language of choice, SAS or Python or R.

The technological advancements are so dynamic, that this debate can take place every couple of years and get answers that can sway on either sides. In this blog, we will discuss the global trends and the ecosystem of SAS, by itself of what SAS offers, and about the advantages of knowing SAS as a language.

Commercial analytics has always seen a strong presence of SAS as SAS offers a huge collection of statistical functions. SAS has a good support system to aid quick adaptation of the language, SAS provides excellent technical support. The only areas that work against SAS is the cost, it is the most expensive option and it lags in terms of latest statistical functions, when compared with other languages like R and Python.

To make an informed decision about SAS being the best programming language, let’s understand all the attributes of the language.

In terms of Convenience and Price, lets accept that SAS is a commercial software, hence it is expensive and not very affordable for most of the professionals. So unless you are associated with an establish institution which has invested in SAS, it might be difficult for you to lay your hands on SAS.

SAS is comparatively Easy to Learn, precisely for analysts with SQL knowledge. Like mentioned above it has a good support system, with tutorials and comprehensive documentation, but they are costly when compared to other programming languages, which are also known for some amount of simplicity. However, the GUI interface of SAS is very stable.

Data Handling Capabilities of SAS used to be a USP of SAS till a while ago. But on recent comparisons specially with R and Python, it can be easily said that this is no longer the case.

The Graphical Capabilities of SAS are good and can be considered to be only functional, any customisations require great understanding of the SAS Graph Package, and even then customizing on SAS is difficult. A little disadvantage when compared with other languages.

Developments in Tools of SAS are more or less at par with other languages. Other open languages have new version roll outs, on open contributions, hence the chances of error are possible. SAS also releases updates and they are well tested.

SAS is still considered the market leader in the job scenario in most established corporations. R and Python along with other programming languages becomes a preferred option for new companies looking for cost efficiency.

To conclude, yes it looks like the market is opening up more to other programming languages as well. So it completely depends on your conditions. If you are a fresher, it is recommended that you learn SAS as a first language, purely because it holds a high market share of jobs and is fairly easy to learn. If you are a veteran in the analytics world, then diversifying and adapting a new programming language is recommended. After all, knowing more than one language only adds to the flexibility and opens that many opportunities for you.

 

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