Senior SAS Programmer/Analyst
HSBC North America (Deegit/Capgemini)
Jerry Hamilton has been actively programming since 1980 and has more than 32 years of SAS programming experience. His first love is creating interactive applications using SAS/AF® and SAS/FSP®. His experience includes MVS and other mainframes and UNIX/Linux systems, as well as standalone and networked PCs. Hamilton also has significant involvement with clinical trials, online application development, business needs analysis, requirements definition, and project management and training. Mostly working as a contractor, Hamilton has served myriad industries, including health care, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, financial, credit card, utilities, retail and computer technology. He has conducted college workshops and seminars, as well as extensive "train the trainers" programs for industry, church and academic organizations.
How long have you been using SAS®?
What SAS products have you used in the past? What products and solutions are you currently using?
Base SAS; SAS/STAT®; SAS Integration Technologies; SAS® Enterprise Guide®; SAS® Enterprise Miner™, SAS/ETS®; SAS/GRAPH®; SAS/AF; SAS/FSP; SAS/SHARE®; SAS/ACCESS® Interfaces to DB2, Oracle and Teradata.
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
1. Displaying three variables in one line graph (V5.18)
2. Writing SAS output to Microsoft Word (v9.2, ODS RTF)
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
I've used SAS to create online, interactive applications – including dynamic dashboards.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
Before SAS had anything like SAS/AF, SAS/SHARE or sophisticated macros, I developed an interactive, fully shared menu-driven system for 15 internal organizations. This system allowed them to update their own data concurrently with other users. This was in 1980, and it took six months from computer installation to final go-live – including training – and cost less than $26,000. It took the company 10 years to find a replacement application, and they finally had to use other software because they could not find anyone to modify what I had created.
I had help from a great programmer I hired straight out of Russia by the name of Lev Feldman. I have done things that were, perhaps, more technically satisfying, but nothing has touched the excitement and euphoria produced by the success of that project.
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
From SAS 3 in the PC and SAS 5.3 on the mainframe environments to SAS 9.3, there have been monumental changes in the software. The most significant changes I have seen involve the attempt to make SAS easier to use (without bothering to learn the language – e.g., SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Enterprise Miner) and more robust in what one can do with it.
I am from the old school of heads-down coders and have looked with great chagrin at some of the "user-friendly" but "market-viable" products SAS has produced in the last few years. They are useful and much more sophisticated than ever, but they are somewhat galling to those of us who consider ourselves SAS programmers. I did not have anything to do with computers before I learned SAS, and I have never stopped loving and supporting it. Even when you forced me to learn SQL so I could use PROC SQL.
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
The only SUGI I have been able to attend was when SAS 6 was introduced in Nashville, TN by SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Outside of bugging the heck out of every SAS Help Desk person you have, no.
If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?
The SAS documentation – for a newbie, Base SAS (Foundation SAS, you call it now). I have been involved with a lot of software products, and SAS still has the most extensive, in-depth and easy-to-understand documentation in existence.