Resources for an R user who must learn SAS

I use R. Every day. I think in terms of data.frames, the apply() family of functions, object-oriented programming, vectorization, and ggplot2 geoms/aesthetics. I just started working for an organization that primarily uses SAS. I know there’s a book about learning R for SAS users, but what are some good resources for R users who’ve never used SAS?


15 months ago, I started my current job as someone who had been using R exclusively for about 3 years; I had used SAS in my first-ever stats class, loathed it, and never touched it again until I started here. Here’s what has been helpful for me, and what hasn’t:


  • Colleagues’ code. This is the single most useful source, for me. Some of it was very good code, some of it was very bad code, but all of it showed me how to think in SAS.
  • SUGI. Though they are often almost unbearably corny, there is a vast wealth of these little how-to papers all over the Internet. You don’t need to look for them; just Google, and they’ll present themselves to you.
  • The O’Reilly SQL Pocket Guide, by Gennick. I dodge a lot of SAS coding by using PROC SQL for data manipulation and summarization. This is cheating, and I don’t care.
  • This paper explaining formats and informats (PDF). This is without a doubt the least-intuitive part of SAS for me.
  • UCLA’s Academic Technology Services’ Statistical Computing site. UCLA has heaps of great introductory material here, and there’s a lot of parallel material between its R and SAS sections (like these analysis examples).

Not helpful:

  • Anything I’ve ever read that is intended for people transitioning between R and SAS. I have the “R and SAS” book from Kleinman and Horton, which I’ve opened twice only to not find the answers I needed. I’ve read a few other guides here and there. Maybe it’s just my learning style, but none of this stuff has ever stuck with me, and I inevitably end up googling for it once I actually need it.

You’ll be okay, though. Just read your colleagues’ code, ask questions here and on StackOverflow, and – whatever you do – don’t try to plot anything.

Source : Link , Question Author : Stephen Turner , Answer Author : Matt Parker

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