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What Does a Clinical SAS Programmer Do?

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 16 Apr 2024

What Does a Clinical SAS Programmer Do?Within the realm of clinical research, a Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Programmer is responsible for managing, analysing, and interpreting clinical data utilising SAS software. This includes developing and applying statistical techniques to assess the efficacy, safety, and value of a pharmaceutical product or medical procedure.

Their work helps ensure that clinical trials are designed effectively, data is accurately collected and analysed, and results are presented clearly. This is essential for regulatory submissions and the publication of trial findings, playing a crucial role in the advancement of medical science and the approval of new treatments for diseases.

What are the Main Responsibilities of a Clinical SAS Programmer?

The exact responsibilities will vary from role to role, but may include:

  • Creating SAS programs to manage and analyse clinical trial data
  • Analysing clinical data to support statistical analysis plans, generating tables, listings, and figures for interim and final reports
  • Ensuring data integrity by identifying and rectifying missing or implausible data
  • Adhering to industry standards and regulatory guidelines in the processing and analysis of clinical data
  • Maintaining comprehensive documentation of data management and programming work to support audit trails and regulatory submissions
  • Working closely with biostatisticians, data managers, and other clinical trial team members to design analyses, interpret results, and solve analytic problems
  • Assisting in the design of clinical trials, including sample size calculation and randomisation schemas
  • Combining data from various sources and phases of clinical research to provide a comprehensive dataset for analysis
  • Performing quality control checks on SAS code and outputs to ensure accuracy and consistency
  • Keeping up-to-date with SAS software updates and new statistical methods relevant to clinical research, and possibly training other team members on these tools

What are the Main Benefits of Working as a Clinical SAS Programmer?

The profession promises significant job growth and opportunities for career advancement. As technology evolves and data continues to play a critical role in decision-making, the demand for SAS programmers is on the rise. This demand translates to competitive salaries, as well as the ability to work across various industries from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to finance and marketing, allowing for a dynamic and fulfilling career, and the opportunity to continuously engage in new challenges.

Working in this field also comes with a sense of purpose, particularly for those involved in clinical research where work contributes directly to advancements in medicine and improvements in patient care. The intersection of analytics and impact makes the role of a SAS programmer not just a job but a vital part of a larger effort to enhance quality of life through data-driven discoveries.

What Experience, Skills and Qualifications are Needed to Become a Clinical SAS Programmer?

Some of the key experience, skills, and qualifications typically required to become a SAS programmer include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science, Statistics, Life Sciences, or Mathematics
  • Proficiency in SAS programming language
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis and data management
  • Familiarity with databases and database design principles
  • Strong problem-solving abilities and attention to detail
  • Ability to interpret and present complex data
  • Good written and communication skills, with the ability to explain findings and translate technical jargon into everyday language
  • Experience with SAS/STAT, SAS Macro language, and SAS/GRAPH
  • Practical application in a work environment, particularly within clinical research or related fields
  • Certifications such as the Certified Clinical Trials Programmer credential offered by SAS can be beneficial

How is the Role of a Clinical SAS Programmer Evolving?

The role of a Clinical SAS programmer is experiencing significant evolution, driven by advancements in technology and the increasing complexity of clinical trials. As clinical research advances, efficient data management becomes crucial for the success of any clinical trial, making the role of clinical SAS programmers more pivotal than before. The traditional tasks of data analysis and interpretation are now being expanded to include more direct involvement in decision-making processes. This shift is largely due to the recognition of the importance of real-time data analysis and its impact on clinical research outcomes.

There is also a notable shift towards the integration of advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. This integration is not only revolutionising how data is interpreted but also expanding the capabilities of SAS programmers to handle more complex datasets and perform more sophisticated analyses. The incorporation of these technologies is enabling SAS programmers to contribute more directly to the development and optimisation of clinical trials.

Another significant aspect of this evolution involves the adoption of standards like CDISC, which is changing the way data is collected, reported, and submitted to regulatory authorities. SAS programmers are increasingly involved in ensuring compliance with these standards, thus adding a layer of regulatory expertise to their skill set. This evolution reflects a broader trend towards data-driven decision-making and the strategic value of data analysis within clinical research, underscoring the growing importance and expanding role of SAS programmers in the field.

Search the latest SAS Programmer roles on PharmiWeb.Jobs, the leading global life science job board.