Changing Careers to Become a SAS Programmer in the Biotech /
Pharmaceutical Industry Sy Truong, Meta‐Xceed, Inc, Milpitas, CA
The ebb and flow within the technology sector, ranging from the dot com bubble to outsourcing, has programmers searching for job security. Many individuals have considered becoming a SAS programmer within the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry due to the longer project life cycle of years rather than months. The best path to enter this field can be elusive. There are challenges especially for those starting out since it requires three years of experience to obtain that first job. This paper distills real life stories from SAS programmers within the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry. It describes many different paths and suggests recommendations based upon these experiences. When starting out on a new career path, sage advice from seasoned professionals in the field can save a lot of time and energy. Armed with the knowledge and shared experiences from the stories told in this paper, you will propel yourself into a more challenging and successful career.
There are many paths that individuals take to arrive at a career as a SAS Programmer. SAS is a programming language which requires the rigors of a computer scientist. However, to become a clinical trials analyst also requires a thorough understanding and knowledge of the clinical data to be analyzed. The combination of these distinct skills attracts people from diverse backgrounds. It is surprising to find so many different backgrounds of individuals with differing talents and interests who gravitate towards this career path. Like many other career paths dealing with technology, things change. The dynamic aspects of the job require programmers to become resourceful and to survive. They therefore must re‐invent themselves continually. The core understanding of the analytics behind clinical trials evolves but remains comparatively stable. Once you master this and the accompanying programming techniques, you have a good foundation for becoming a successful Clinical Trials Programmer. There are many scenarios which you can take. The following diagram depicts three. There are many more and the combinations of steps can lead to a myriad of good paths.