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Hi there,

I study SAS on my own. I find it very interesting. I learned this way SPSS that I used for my research when doing masters. I graduated from University in Poland. I moved to USA recently and now looking for a job. I will be getting SAS license soon. I do not have any practical experience in using SAS. How can I get an entrance level position such as business analyst. From what I see, they all require many years of experience. How do you start without experience? Any helpful comments and advices are welcome.

Thank you all

Tags: entrance, level

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Some companies require little experience, some companies actually prefer to hire candidates straight out of college and then train them. Search for job titles such as Analyst, or where 1 year exp is specified. If you don't have money to buy expensive software or training, get a copy of R on your computer and start learning it. It's free. You can do some internship too. Master Excel, PowerPoint and Access, and maybe Visio (not sure if it's free). Perl or C++ are free too but would drive you in a different direction, career-wise. Maybe you can find a company interested in your European experience (Rail Europe Group advertised a few positions with us, they are located in NY).

I'd add MySQL to the software list. It's free. SQL is valuable for anyone working with data, it looks good on your resume and everything you learn applies directly to SAS through proc SQL.

Good luck,
These thoughts are just my opinion.

Coming from Poland, there's the issue of being legally allowed to work in the US. Also a masters degree, even from a very fine university outside the states doesn't mean as much as a masters from a mediocre school in the states, at least to many HR people.

That said if you have your heart set on working in the states, as an analyst, the best thing to do is take the TOEFL, the GRE (both?) and apply to a few statistics or social science research programs (like sociology, or anthropology), social sciences, math, statistics.. many programs are research heavy and use SAS (make sure to verify what statistical software the school uses, I know UCLA uses STATA for many of their programs. While UCLA looks great, SAS will get you a job. SO make sure to check.

Finally once you are accepted into a program, start doing some part time work for a Technical temp agency, or maybe something at school. Now you can try skipping the masters degree in the states step and go straight to the temp agency, but don't be surprised by the lukewarm reception. You need the degree, with a SAS heavy program in lieu of the experience you do not have, or that cannot be verified in this country.
Hi Amanda,

Thank you very much for your response. You got me thinking more about my career and what are my options. It is true that coming from Poland with a foreign degree makes it very hard to get the desired job. I am a permanent resident and can work here. The question is only how to start without experience. Your suggestions are very good. I will see if I can get into a one year program, maybe social science. Back in Poland I did Psychology, majoring psychology of consumer behavior. I am interested in retail industry.

I see you have a great experience in analytical role. Can you tell me more how does your work look like. What are the trends in analytical world? What companies look for when hiring for analytical position?

Thanks for reply. Do you have gmail? My address is: [email protected] Add me if you can.
Hi Ania,

I think the best way to start is to use Google. Just type in "SAS" and "analyst", and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities available in many industries. Just browse through them and see what you like. Trust me, the SAS certification is valuable, and will get your foot in the door. Try this, and let me know if you have questions.

There are lot of ways you can look for jobs. There are specialized website like I personally prefer It is a job search engine. In the past I had created RSS feeds for special terms like SAS, statistics, quantitative and used them in google reader.
In my experience there is a trade off to consider in looking for jobs. If you start at a larger company you will tend to have deeper knowledge in a very narrow aspect of analytics, e.g. reporting, ad hocs, modeling, etc. If you work for a smaller company you will likely get exposed to all aspects of analytics. Therefore ironically it is harder to get hired at a smaller company..

As far as advanced degrees I would recommend choosing either statistics or economics. Try to look for an applied program, rather than a theoretical based program. And as mentioned SAS is key, I would also pick up some SQL skills if you don't already have some. I have an MS in Economics so this may seem biased :)

If you are interested in database marketing feel free to send me an email. I'm an Analytics Manager at a database marketing company.
I'm in the same situation as Ania, I'm working as a data miner and I'm interested in developing a carreer as a database marketer.
I would like to contact you and discuss deeper this subject, my email is [email protected]
I have a degree in computer sciences and a specialization (dont know if in the US you call it like that) in Data Mining & KDD, I have SAS experience and I'm also planning to get the Advanced Programmer and Enterprise Miner certifications from SAS.
I am very interested in your experience. Can you please send me an advice how to study SAS on your own faster and efficient?
You are mentioned about SAS license. What is the way to get one? From what I should begin, where I should apply?
All your advices will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.
Victor Zinenberg.
The Little SAS Book. You need to purchase it, then get a SAS license.


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