SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Ava Smith, Elizabeth White

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SAS® Analytics U aims to close analytics skills gap

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, a broad 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.

“Big data is transforming how we work, which creates new opportunities for how we teach,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “Jobs requiring analytic skills are in high demand, but right now there isn’t enough talent to fill those jobs. SAS Analytics U addresses that gap by making it easier to access free SAS software so anyone can become an analytic expert.”

Free SAS software puts analytics within easy reach

The new SAS University Edition will offer free use of SAS foundational technologies, ideal for 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 or Macs.

The already established SAS OnDemand for Academics 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 many additional SAS applications including 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. 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.

Also supported by SAS, Kennesaw State University’s Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences has produced 100 master’s graduates and awarded 75 SAS data analysis certificates since 2008. Major Atlanta-area organizations, including Delta Airlines, Centers for Disease Control, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Equifax and KPMG work with KSU to help graduates apply analytics to current, real-world challenges.

A 2011 McKinsey Global Institute study forecast a 50 percent to 60 percent gap between supply and demand for people with deep analytical talent and the ability to analyze large data sets. Employers, such as SourceHOV, understand the importance of finding scarce talent.

“We are swamped with data. Without the analytics talent to make sense of it, we would be at a competitive disadvantage,” said Mark Pitts, Senior Vice President of Analytics at SourceHOV. “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.

Working professionals and non-traditional students can gain SAS skills through the company's collaborations with online universities including Capella University and Athabasca University.

SAS will also continue to partner with Teradata University Network, which gives more than 4,000 professors and 50,000 students access to SAS Visual Analytics, SAS’ popular data visualization software.

SAS is aggressively pursuing and expanding degree programs at Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, University of South Carolina, National University, Northwestern University and many others. SAS has partnered with colleges to create more than 50 certificate programs around the world.

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 country 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. Select sessions and keynotes from the user conference will be livestreamed.

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 70,000 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®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2014 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

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