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SAS® Analytics U aims to close analytics skills gap

Free software, online communities, new courses to foster next generation of SAS users 

24 March 2014 -  Big data has created an unprecedented demand for analytics talent that outpaces qualified applicants. To help fill the skills gap, SAS is launching SAS Analytics U, an expansive higher education initiative that includes free SAS® software, university partnerships and engaging user communities that support the next generation of SAS users. New, no-cost software offerings will allow students, professors and learners of all ages to access and deploy SAS software more easily and faster than ever.

"Analytics is transforming the workplace and education," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. "Employers need analytics experts to address their big data demands, while professors and students need easy and fast access to SAS software and resources to become data savvy. Additionally, new ways to deliver and teach SAS present tremendous opportunities to reach and cultivate future SAS experts."

Free SAS software puts analytics within easy reach

The new SAS University Edition will offer free use of SAS foundational technologies, ideal for basic data and statistical analysis in teaching, research and self-paced learning. Available via quick download from the web, SAS University Edition will be offered worldwide beginning in May for use on PCs, Macs or tablets.

More sophisticated users may choose the established SAS OnDemand for Academics, which will be easier to access than ever before beginning this summer, as users will no longer need to be associated with a specific course or professor. Beginning in late July, anyone can use the no-cost, online, hosted service for teaching and academic research, which includes more advanced SAS applications such as SAS® Enterprise Guide® and SAS® Enterprise Miner.

Both offerings will be available to learners in and out of a higher education setting. Both will include access to SAS Studio, SAS' newest web-based tool for writing and running SAS code. Using iPads or other tablets, students can upload their own data sets or program files or practice with data sets from SAS Certification courses as they pursue that valuable accreditation.

New degrees and courses expand opportunities for lucrative careers

Since 2006, when SAS and North Carolina State University launched the first analytics master's degree, the demand for graduates with big data skills has increased dramatically.

In the UK and Ireland, the SAS Student Academy programme, which provides training in big data skills, has signed up 20 universities over the past 12 months. A new Business Analytics module has just got underway at University College London, which is open to the whole university and is in large part being taught by SAS customers. The module will be formalised into a full new MSc in Business Analytics from September 2014.

A 2011 McKinsey Global Institute study forecasted a 50 to 60 per cent gap between supply and demand for people with deep analytical talent and the ability to analyse large data sets. Employers understand the importance of finding scarce talent.

"Companies are swamped with data, and risk putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage if they don't have the analytics talent to make sense of it," said Laurie Miles, Head of Analytics at SAS UK & Ireland. "Graduates with analytics skills, such as those offered through SAS Analytics U, can write their own ticket."

SAS will further extend its reach beyond traditional university settings using online and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Future SAS MOOCs will allow anyone to learn SAS programming to prepare for SAS certification, increase their marketability and enhance skills.

Learners of all ages can gain SAS skills through the company's collaboration with online Capella University, which will offer new bachelor's and certificates that combine business acumen and analytics expertise. 

SAS will also continue to partner with Teradata University Network, which gives more than 3,200 professors and 45,000 students access to SAS Visual Analytics, SAS' popular data visualisation software.

SAS is committed to supporting the UK and Ireland's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) agenda, and each year provides 80 universities across the region with software worth £6 million. This enables students focused on disciplines such as computer science, decision science and business analytics to develop their skills in its industry leading solutions.

Online connections support next-generation SAS users

Active user communities are vital elements of SAS Analytics U. The company has launched professor and student communities rich with resources and data sets to teach and learn SAS. Participants share best practices, lesson plans, projects, and peer support.

Also, a SAS Analytics U Facebook page and YouTube channel just launched, with more social media channels to come. SAS Days at campuses around the US will bring together speakers from SAS, academia and industry to share how SAS skills are put into practice after graduation.

Today's announcement was made at SAS Global Forum, the world's largest gathering of SAS users, attended by more than 4,500 business and IT users of SAS software and solutions.

-ENDS-

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 65,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .

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