SAS is offering its customised e-learning portal, Software Certified Young Professionals free of charge to any interested student currently enrolled at a university or higher degree-granting institution.

Andre Zitzke, SAS manager: global academic programmes, says the ultimate goal is to help any interested student leave university with working SAS knowledge and accreditation.

Enrolment in the Certified Young Professionals programme gives students access to e-learning materials and additional video content, the SAS software necessary for the course, mock exam examples for the certification exams and a choice of five learning paths, including Basic Programming, Advanced Programming, Statistics, Machine Learning and Data Visualisation.

Students can choose one, some or all of the courses, although not many take on all five, says Zitzke. The only cost to the students is the cost of data, as this is a cloud-based course and internet access is required.

At the end of each course, the students can opt to write the certification exam for the course. The courses and exams are independently administered by Pearson Vue, and the credentials earned immediately distinguish the students as having a globally recognised qualification.

Pearson Vue hosts a database of SAS-certified people, which students can opt to be listed on once they’ve passed the certification exam, and successful students also receive a digital badge they can use on social media to promote their market-ready skills.

Usually, the certification exam is written at a nearby SAS office or Pearson Vue venue, but because of the current Covid-19 circumstances, SAS has made it possible for students to write the exam at home until the end of July 2020 for free.