Industry Insights

Background image of user typing on a calculator with floating interface elements surrounding them

2015 SAS vs. R Survey Results

May 21, 2015
The results of our 2018 SAS, R, or Python survey have been released! Click here to see our latest analysis.

The topic of SAS vs. R is hotly-debated everywhere, from Reddit forums to LinkedIn groups to around the water cooler with your data analytics team, with no clear consensus. So, last year, Burtch Works decided to conduct a flash survey of our network of quantitative professionals to determine their preference. We had over 1,000 responses in less than 24 hours, with many expressing firm opinions one way or the other.This year we decided to run the flash survey again, and received even more responses than last year! To keep the results simple, we asked one question – Which do you prefer: SAS or R?

2015 vs 2014 donuts

Our results showed that now, support for each tool is almost equal. This year 48% of respondents chose R (an increase of 13 points over the 35% of quantitative professionals who chose R last year), while the other 52% of professionals chose SAS.There were also several respondents (not counted in the totals above) who responded with neither/both, a few write-ins for Python, and one for SPSS.And on a lighter note…Although it’s not exactly scientific, many respondents were very passionate in their support for their chosen tool, so we kept a tally of how many in each group used exclamation points (one or multiple) and smiley faces along with their message. We were curious if one camp was more enthusiastic or emotive about their vote than the other. We’re not sure what this means exactly, but it was interesting to note that R users were more emotive in every category despite their slightly smaller sample size.

smileys exclamation points

Colorful Commentary Here are some of the more humorous comments that we received from people declaring their allegiance one way or the other:

  • SAS. More Powerful... if R could scale, then R
  • R! But don't tell my friends at SAS :)
  • SAS, but I’m taking an online R class now to stay current. I'm sure I'll still like SAS better though.
  • I'm under 40 and work in tech, so I haven't used SAS since a professor made me back in grad school.
  • SAS due to inertia, learning R as I respond.
  • R hands down. SAS is for boring dinosaurs. Note: I have used both extensively. One of the main requirements of me switching jobs last year was to not use SAS anymore. SAS will die a slow, painful death. No tech company/startup in their right mind uses SAS and that is where the future is going (not to mention where the more exciting work is).
  • SAS but R might take over this year.
  • I will never take a job that uses SAS ever again... I would rather do anything else than program SAS!
  • SAS had its glory. Sadly it is becoming legacy system.
  • JMP! Just kidding, SAS. If R wasn't case sensitive and had the helpful color coding of SAS though, R could be a real contender.
  • I only use SAS when they make me.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be digging deeper into the data to see how these results vary by industry, years’ experience, region, and education level. To see our “deeper dive” analysis from last year’s sample, click here, and keep your eyes on the blog for this year’s extended analysis!

Follow Burtch Works on Twitter or LinkedIn to get the best quantitative career news and blog updates delivered right to your news feed, and check out our YouTube channel for access to all our latest salary information and webinars!