SAS invests in humans, powered by AI and analytics education 

SAS launches free AI software for teaching and learning, a new analytics simulation game, AI certifications and badging, and a Boys & Girls Club coding partnership

SAS announced its latest plans to invest in the people behind the analytics, to help educate the new generation to change what’s possible, and to train a workforce for a transformed economy. Several new programs and initiatives – all part of the overall commitment SAS has to promoting analytics education for all – were introduced during SAS® Global Forum 2019.

Offering something for everyone including academic institutions, professionals, and future programmers of tomorrow, the new programs will help create talent to drive analytical innovation and exploration:

  • SAS® Viya® for Learners offers free access to AI software for higher education teaching and learning.
  • Cortex, a new simulation game, allows educators to gamify the analytics learning experience.
  • New certifications and badges help professionals showcase their AI skills to the world.
  • And a new philanthropic partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs introduces kids to coding.

“Analytics is changing work and our current and upcoming workforce as we know it,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “But humans will always be the heart and soul of innovation. Our commitment to analytics education from kids to educators to professionals unleashes the power of learners to build a better world.”

Free access to AI and machine learning for academic institutions

SAS is helping educators prepare students to seize new career opportunities, at no cost, with SAS Viya for Learners. SAS Viya for Learners is a full suite of cloud-based software that supports the entire analytics life cycle – from data, to discovery, to deployment – and lets users access the most advanced SAS® AI and machine learning analytics tools, for free.

Education is a key pillar of the company’s recently announced $1 billion AI investment. To support the successful use of SAS Viya for Learners at academic institutions, a substantial portion of the education portion of that investment will go towards free educator workshops and teaching materials.

With SAS Viya for Learners, academic institutions can boost graduate career placement rates by building a complete advanced analytics program within a single software environment. SAS Viya for Learners provides support tools like online chat, web tutorials, e-learning opportunities, documentation, communities and technical support, freeing educators to teach creative applications of analytics, and critical thinking skills. Educators can access a private forum to share experiences and best practices.

Students gain expertise in the most popular software languages today, including SAS and open source options Python and R. They learn to explore data, discover insights and deploy AI and machine learning models. Students gain real-world experience through true business use cases and showcase their skills with badges and certification opportunities.

Louisiana State University (LSU) is an early adopter of SAS Viya for Learners. A SAS Global Forum panel will include several LSU graduates who used their advanced analytics expertise to land jobs at a Fortune 500 financial services company. The alumni will share best practices from their time at LSU, highlight what they found most beneficial for their current careers and provide insights into transitioning from graduate school to a career.

Professors can apply for access to SAS Viya for Learners via the home page.

SAS Viya for Learners is also available to those who enroll in a new SAS machine learning course, available now. Learners can also soon gain AI and machine learning skills via two new Coursera courses that will offer access to SAS Viya for Learners.

Introducing Cortex, an analytics simulation game

SAS and Canadian business school HEC Montreal have launched Cortex, an online simulation game that teaches analytics and predictive modeling skills. Educators can bring real-world experience into the classroom by having students compete to create the best model to support a fictional charitable foundation’s fundraising efforts. The game provides students with information on the nonprofit and a data set of potential donors, as well as access to SAS data mining tools. Students are ranked on a leaderboard based on the quality of their model and its results.

Educators can begin integrating Cortex into instruction now at no cost. Students can access it on a desktop or in the cloud for a small fee.

SAS Global Forum attendees can check out Cortex at HEC Montreal’s booth in the Quad and learn more about gaming as a learning tool during a presentation on Monday, April 29. There is an educator training session on Tuesday, April 30.

New certifications and badges signal AI expertise to employers

A SAS AI, big data, advanced analytics or data science credential fosters lucrative opportunities across industries. The SAS Global Certification program has long been the standard for industries like banking and life sciences, having awarded more than 142,000 SAS credentials to individuals in 112 countries.

Learners can amplify their marketability through three new specialist-level SAS certifications in machine learning, natural language and computer vision, and forecasting and optimization. The learners who pursue the certification automatically earn the professional-level credential, SAS Certified Professional: AI and Machine Learning. An immersive two-week classroom experience or flexible, online option taken over 12 months are available. Both options include certification exams.

In addition, SAS has partnered with Acclaim to create digital badges for SAS credentials. Professionals can add badges to online resumes, social media and email signatures to showcase expertise in a variety of analytical skills.

Building tomorrow’s programmers through new Boys & Girls Clubs partnership

To succeed in the analytics, AI and data science jobs of tomorrow, young students need a strong foundation in STEM and coding fundamentals.

To help build that foundation, SAS is bringing a fun coding experience to the Austin, Dallas and Houston chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). CodeSnaps is a free app from the makers of Curriculum Pathways® that teaches coding basics by enticing students to actively work together to control Sphero, an app-enabled robotic ball that students command using code and an iPad®. SAS is donating CodeSnaps kits, which include Sphero robots and iPads with accessories. SAS volunteers from the local city offices will train BGCA staff to conduct the lessons themselves.

Today's announcements were made at SAS Global Forum, the world's largest analytics conference, with more than 30,000 business and IT users of SAS software participating on-site and online.

About SAS

SAS is a global leader in data and AI. With SAS software and industry-specific solutions, organizations transform data into trusted decisions. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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SAS Viya for Learners users get access to a suite of integrated machine learning, text analytics, forecasting, data mining and visualization tools. 

From present to future:
Dr. Jim Goodnight, known for shaping the analytics industry, ushers in the next generation of data scientists with Jeneah Johnson from The Boys and Girls Club of Dallas, at SAS Global Forum, April 28, Dallas, Texas.