Six Honours graduates in Statistics have received internationally accredited certificates recognising their proficiency in the use of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS).
They are Ms Nina Grundlingh, Mr Akhil Rambally, Mr Thabang Chabalala, Ms Zaakirah Joosab, Mr Nceba Gagaza and Mr Malibongwe Ndlazi who all graduated with more than just their honours degrees, having also obtained training and accreditation that enhances the industry relevance of their degrees.
Thanks to the establishment of an SAS Industry Unit in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) that is built upon a long-standing partnership with the SAS and its Global Academic Programmes office, the honours cohort all received the recognition after passing a particular listing of modules during their honours degree.
SAS – the world’s leading business analytics and business intelligence advanced analytics software – stores, manages, retrieves and mines data from various sources, performs advanced statistical analysis, and enables creation of reports.
‘I am hoping that (this certificate) will help me achieve my short-term career goals of being relevant to the world’s needs since SAS is in high demand,’ said Chabalala, who chose to do Statistics because of the challenge it posed. He is now progressing to masters level and gaining more software expertise in order to contribute to problem solving.
‘This certificate will be a rewarding aspect in the working environment as it shows that I possess qualifications beyond an Honours degree in Statistics,’ said Joosab, who is passionate about Data Science, a field in which she plans to expand her skills.
‘This certificate represents proficiency in interpreting SAS outputs and SAS coding efficiencies,’ said Gagaza, whose curiosity and love for problem solving using critical and analytical thinking led him to pursue Statistics. Gagaza plans to complete a master’s degree in the field.
‘The training and certificate will play a huge role in opening doors,’ said Ndlazi, whose enjoyment of mathematics inspired him to investigate Statistics, a discipline he grew to love. Ndlazi aims to gain more experience in his specialised field.
The SAS Industry Unit offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, available from next year, and a Bachelor of Science Honours in Data Science from 2020. A coursework Masters in Data Science for Industry and a postgraduate Diploma in Data Science for Industry are also in progress.
The Industry Unit is being driven by Dean and Head of the SMSCS, Professor Delia North and Professor Temesgen Zewotir.
Academic Leaders of Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Shaun Ramroop and Professor Serestina Virirri, have provided invaluable input into the designing of course content. The Unit offers industry-infused Data Analytics training fit for the fourth Industrial Revolution.
‘This accreditation will definitely broaden our spectrum of opportunities. The extensive training we’ve received has equipped us with immense knowledge and tools to analyse and scrutinise data in a work ready environment,’ said Rambally. He is venturing into the working world and aims to one day further his studies in Statistics.
Grundlingh, who is undertaking a Master’s degree in Biostatistics at UKZN with the hope of having an impact in medical research, said the SAS training provided invaluable background knowledge for her work.
Said North: ‘A requirement for SAS certification is for a student to have training in and demonstrate proficiency in solving real industry problems emanating from a company, using the company’s unstructured big data set.’
‘These graduates comprise the first experimental cohort before the full launch of the SAS Industry Unit,’ she added.
Photographs: Abhi Indrarajan