Desperate to change my role in IT, I stumbled upon a 1 month program related to analysis of data. It was a SAS (Statistical Analysis System) program, held by the Analytics Training Institute in Bangalore, India. It seemed perfect. One day to go before the course commenced and there was only 1 seat left. I logged on to the web and did a quick background check of the institute. But, sadly couldn’t get much.
This institute seemed to have a clean sheet! Convinced, I pick up the phone to call the Institute. A very kind, polite lady answers all the questions I had, satisfactorily. With one day for the classes to start and the last seat reserved, I couldn’t be more excited.
My first day in the field of Analytics.
I researched thoroughly before I made my decision on pursuing SAS programming, and not R Programming (which is open source BTW!). I don’t regret my choice, but I do regret the decision of choosing a training institute to empower me with this freely available knowledge. To prove my point I shall put up a short 5 day starter tutorial to SAS, followed by few very handy links.
This is my review cum account of my experience at Analytics Training Institute (ATI) as the course progresses. A first of it’s kind on this blog.
With a prayer in my heart, “Lord, give me the strength to pound through this data. : ) “, I left home. I had to travel about 35 km one way, to the Institute. Despite the distance I still felt a spring in my stride, from the excitement of learning new things.
This is an account of my experience on Day 1 at Analytics Training Institute (ATI).
Date – 11th Jan 2015
Instructor – Tina Mary Wilson
The class almost always starts about 30-45 minutes late at ATI. Apparently the teachers are never informed by the management that the class starts at 9:00 a.m.
Well, we all have those administration and management glitches. And for crying out loud, we are in India, IST is known to be 30-45 minutes late! C’mon!
As the class progresses you begin to realize that the instructor really has no real-world experience in SAS programming or data analysis (She mentioned it in class during the introduction round). You also begin to wonder as to why aren’t you doing this course online. You don’t need to pay a large sum of money for an instructor to tell you to type this code and check the result on the screen. But you would rather know, the purpose behind that code? what are the best practices usually involved? what are the other options? when should you use which option?
With questions piling up in my head, I choose the most relevant and ask, “Is there a universally accepted coding standard followed by professionals using SAS?”.
And I get a confused look, followed by a response that is related but yet not so related.
“SAS is not case-sensitive.”
Day 2 –
As usual the class began at 9:00 a.m “Indian Standard Time”, i.e 9:30a.m, although it was unanimously agreed upon that we should commence our class at 9. The instructor had changed without letting us know in advance.
The new substituted Instructor didn’t know where the previous instructor left off. She related every concept of SAS to MS Excel. What sense does that make? We are here to learn SAS.
The class was eventually canceled, as most of the students were dissatisfied with her teaching and had left, post lunch.
Day 3,4 –
Our original instructor Tina, was back, on “popular” demand. Tina Wilson, was patient and helpful, and clarified student’s doubts very satisfactoriy. But the fact remains, that the instructors at the institute are inexperienced in the real world, but have a long history of teaching experience. She went on to cover the course syllabus, quickly. Avoiding students cancelling the course and asking for a refund.
If you are lazy to search around the internet for tutorials on SAS. Or if you are just looking to get started with SAS, but not to get deep into it. If you are in a managerial role in SAS, and just want to know what your minions do, when they say they are working on SAS. Or are being sponsored by someone/company to learn SAS. Then, I’d definitely recommend the SAS program at the ATI (Analytics Training Institute).
But, if you hope to give the SAS Base Programmers Certification, soon after the course or hope to get an in-depth knowledge of SAS, save that money, and buy a good book on SAS.
HIGHLIGHTS / TIPS
-> Classes don’t start on time
-> Too Slow. A lot can be covered during each class
-> Instructors are inexperienced
-> The syllabus covered can be easily learnt online
-> Apparently, once enrolled you are allowed to attend the same program any number of times when it is offered, as long as you register yourself for it. (What is the point? I paid for 1 course, not a life time membership of the same course.)
-> Students say, (Not sure) certain instructors at the insitute are really good. If you get a chance to enroll your self for the SAS course taken by Kamal Vaswani of ATI, Redwood Associates. I’d say go for it.
Stay tuned! Will see you all SAS enthusiasts in my next post, where I shall share some useful SAS code, SAS tutorials, SAS templates, and free SAS vidoes. In the meantime, let me know when was the last time you paid for a course outside of school or college, and actually got what you paid for?
Looking forward to hearing your experience with Training Institutes. : )
Peace. Happy learning! : )
Image Source : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/SAS_Institute_logo.png