As a (certified) SAS platform administrator I often get asked how best to prepare for the SAS Certified Platform Administrator 9 exam.
I don’t have a magic formula other than study and experience. My standard response is to direct people to the best place I know where you can find out more: that’s the SAS support page specifically about exam preparation.
From my own experience I’d recommend the following steps:
- Attend the SAS Platform Administration: Fast Track training course from SAS Institute. I’m an administrator, and I’m also one of the instructors for this course in Australia, so you could consider me a little biased when I say that this is one of the best courses available from SAS Institute. If you already have some SAS administration experience, but haven’t done this course, or went on an earlier version of it, then I’d still recommend attending. I believe that training courses are more than just the training materials themselves. Classroom training allows you to spend a few dedicated days talking to other administrators about mutual experiences, problems and solutions. I find courses are also very useful for filling in the gaps for broader knowledge.
- Review the sample questions on the SAS support site to see the types of exam questions and gauge your readiness.
- Study the SAS Intelligence Platform documentation available from the SAS web site. There’s a great deal of information available there.
- Where possible, spend a few months either administering a SAS installation yourself, or working alongside another SAS platform administrator.
Over the years I’ve heard and read a wide variety of views around the value of certification. Some people don’t see the value in it. I’m squarely in the camp that thinks it’s a good thing (but always in combination with other factors like experience). Is it because I’m certified myself? Perhaps… but then I also valued certification prior to becoming certified. My view is that certification cannot be considered in isolation when hiring someone. Choosing a person on certification status alone would surely be foolish. As one of the many factors though, in combination with prior experience and aptitude, I believe certification is a positive indicator. In my mind certification indicates that, in addition to being able to answer the questions, a person is committed to investing in their own career, self advancement and knowledge acquisition through study, as well as a willingness to put themselves in a stressful situation to rise to a challenge – certification is optional after all. I would definitely hire someone who wasn’t certified, as long as they had suitable prior experience and spoke knowledgeably on the subject (or had a desire to learn and a general aptitude). In a situation where I might have to choose between two candidates where both had equivalent experience, both demonstrated the same level of knowledge, but one was certified and the other wasn’t, then I’d most likely have a preference for the certified individual. Naturally some people will always try to game the system but I don’t think it would take long to discover one of those individuals with a few key interview questions.
When you pass the certification exam you get the option to have your name listed in the SAS Global Certified Professional Directory on the SAS web site, so you appear in the list of certified administrators. Prospective employers can confirm someone’s certification status by looking in the directory, but they should be aware that inclusion in this directory is optional. If someone doesn’t appear in this list they might still be certified. When you do see someone’s name in the directory though you will know they are certified.
If you have any general tips for aspiring certified SAS platform administrators (excluding anything specifically about the exam itself) then please leave a comment below.