We’ve been placing talented statistical programmers at top biotech and pharma companies throughout the US for years. From this experience, and one-on-one discussions with our staff and consultants, we’ve learned that even the most experienced biostatistical and SAS programmers run into problems, hassles and challenges on a daily basis.
Some of the challenges we hear about are:
SAS programming and telecommuting
With the globalization of more and more companies, many programmers are forced to telecommute because their team is spread out across different cities, states and even countries. While some SAS Programmers prefer to work from home and feel that telecommuting maximizes efficiency, some believe it can lead to problems with miscommunications among team members or a feeling of isolation from the group.
Learning and adapting to the client’s implementation of the SAS system
While the SAS system is constant, there are different ways of implementing it. Some organizations use highly personalized systems, and some use more standardized systems. It may also be difficult for some programmers to adapt to the client’s system if it is different from what they usually work with.
Identifying and implementing requirements and specifications into SAS programs
Many times requirements and specifications are deeply embedded in documents such as statistical analysis plans and data definition tables. Finding and appropriately implementing these requirements can be challenging.
Accurately filling out forms that document and recording information regarding the development life cycle of SAS programs
As SAS programmers develop and test programs it can be burdensome to fill out QC or validation forms and record issues and issue resolutions. Test cycles and information shared between developers and testers is easily lost. When one does make the effort to record this information, it can be disruptive to development efforts, preventing the SAS programmer from doing what they do best, writing SAS code.
These are just some of the common challenges we hear about among SAS programmers. It’s our job to make sure projects go as efficiently and smoothly as possible. That’s why we want to hear from you. What are some of the daily hassles and problems that you face as a statistical programmer? What would make your job easier? What tools do you use (or need) to better communicate with your team?
Please share your stories, ideas and daily challenges with us!