Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on SAS Certified Base Programmer

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The SAS Certified Base Programmer credential is a great steppingstone to a career in data analytics.Originally organized under a research grant from the National Institutes of Health, SAS has grown into an industry leader in data analysis with a thriving certification program. One of the foundational SAS credentials, SAS Certified Base Programmer (No. 64 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list), certifies fluency in basic tasks like creating data files, manipulating and/or transforming data, creating basic reports, and so forth.

SAS has a sterling reputation in the Big Data realm, so if you’d like to take a first step on the path to a data analytics career, then this is a great place to get started. The SAS-certified professionals who responded to our most recent annual Salary Survey are unique for a couple of reasons, as you’ll soon see.

Here’s what the salary picture looks like for SAS Certified Base Programmer holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $87,110
Median Annual Salary: $81,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 13.6 percent
Very Satisfied: 30 percent
Satisfied: 36.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 13 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.7 percent

SAS has a global brand, but all but a bare handful of the SAS Certified Base Programmer holders who responded to the Salary Survey live and work in the United State, so we only have U.S. salary data available.

Here’s where we bump into a truly extraordinary aspect of the SAS Certified Base Programmer survey population: 60 percent of the SAS Certified Base Programmer holders who responded to the survey are women. How unusual is that? It’s never happened before. We’ve never even come remotely close before. IT is a male-dominated industry and past Salary Survey research has uniformly borne that out. This is our third year of writing 40-50 Deep Focus articles per year, and we’ve never before encountered a single certification where women accounted for even just one-fifth (20 percent) of the total survey population. And suddenly, out of nowhere, we have a credential where 3 out of every 5 credential holders are women. That is astonishing.

Also highly unusual is that more than half of the SAS Certified Base Programmer holders we heard from are younger than 35. The Salary Survey tends to be dominated by established IT professionals, but not here. An eye-opening 57 percent of those surveyed are either between the ages of 19 and 24 (16.7 percent) or between the ages of 25 and 34 (40 percent). The rest are either between the ages of 35 and 44 (16.7 percent of respondents), between the ages of 45 and 54 (20 percent), or between the ages of 55 and 64 (just 6.6 percent).

Wait, though, we’re not done: An unprecedented 100 percent of SAS Certified Base Programmer holders have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education complete by the SAS Certified Base Programmer holders who responded to the survey is either a master’s degree (50 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (30 percent), doctorate (10 percent), or associate’s degree (10 percent).

Perhaps not surprisingly, every SAS Certified Base Programmer holder who participated in the survey has a full-time job. (That statistic is not unprecedented, though it is rare.) For most, that means either hewing to a standard 40-hour schedule (50 percent of those surveyed), or working between 41 and 50 hours per week (33.3 percent). The outliers are the 10 percent of respondents who put in between 31 and 39 hours per week, and the 6.7 percent who work more than 50 hours per week.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of SAS Certified Base Programmer holders we heard from are employed at the rank-and-file employee level (40 percent of those surveyed). The rest, in descending order, are either senior specialists (36.7 percent), specialists (16.7 percent), managers (3.3 percent), or senior managers (3.3 percent).

Corresponding neatly to the heavy tilt toward youth detailed above, an unusual 43.3 percent of SAS Certified Base Programmer holders in the survey are newcomers, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between 3 and 5 years (16.7 percent of those surveyed), between 6 and 8 years (23.3 percent), or more than 10 years (16.7 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of SAS Certified Base Programmer holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification: 
Several times a day: 46.7 percent
Several times a week: 20 percent
Several times a month: 20 percent
Occasionally: 3.3 percent
Rarely: 10 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 16.7 percent
Agree: 30 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.7 percent
Disagree: 20 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6.6 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 23.3 percent
Agree: 26.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.3 percent
Disagree: 16.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 10 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.7 percent
Agree: 23.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20 percent
Disagree: 16.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 13.3 percent

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