A day in the life of an SAS Programmer

Biostatician working at a computer 940

The job of a SAS Programmer can be a challenging and rewarding position providing opportunities for technically minded people.

If this sounds like you why not consider a career within the Drug Development sector where you can contribute to the improvement of people’s health worldwide.

We conducted an interview with a Lead SAS Programmer working within the pharmaceutical industry. We wanted to know what life is like working in a SAS Programming job, what a typical day involves, how did start this career and where can this career lead you? Take a look at their response here:

What is an SAS Programmer?

As a SAS programmer in the pharma sector, we provide statistical programming support for the statisticians and statistical programming expertise for the company. We write programs to create statistical tables, listings, and graphs. Independently QC peer programmers’ statistical tables, listings, and graphs. Write programs to create the analysis database, meet milestones, provide functional guidance and develop operating procedures.

What does a typical day look like for an SAS Programmer?

As a SAS programmer, we would typically work on the development of SAS code, that creates analysis datasets, tables, figures, listings, electronic submission packages, to be included in Clinical Summary Reports submissions to the health authorities such as the FDA.

How did you get into SAS programming?

I did a Maths and Biology degree, followed by a Computer Science postgraduate. I took a graduate position within a Clinical Contract Research Organisation, and my role as a SAS programmer evolved from there.

What do you enjoy most about your job as an SAS Programmer?

I enjoy being part of a local and global team environment. I enjoy being a part of the drug development life cycle and it is rewarding to see a drug that I have worked on becoming available on the market.

What is the hardest part about this kind of job?

Dealing with differing personalities and opinions, demanding clients and delivering to stretched timelines on an on-going basis.

Why did you pursue this career?

It fit with my background qualifications, and I have enjoyed it since the beginning.

What can this type of job lead to?

I am now in a leadership position, so I do less and less hands-on programming. I am leading a team of over 40 programmers, with scope in the coming year to move into functional management.

What advice would you give to somebody considering this career?

Go for it!

Please tell us anything else you’d like to add.

SAS programming is one of the many technical roles that are being outsourced to companies in Asia. Although a technically demanding role, a fresher SAS programmer in the UK needs to have, or want to develop, soft skills, such as training capabilities, good communication, etc. An interest in resource or project management would be advisable.

Thank you to the SAS Programmer for the interview and what an informative interview it is, hopefully, this will help you learn a little bit about the role of SAS Programmer.

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