Aug

29

One of my concerns not being able to use my left hand has been how I’m going to be able to continue coding.

As my job entails a lot of coding, this has been a major worry. While I have yet to figure out how to use Dragon for JavaScript – I’m not sure at all what you would use for the less than symbol to tell Dragon to type it – and that’s just one example.

However, SAS was a whole different story. Working on my paper for the Western Users of SAS Software conference, I had to run some analyses just to verify what I was saying in the paper. I’m a little obsessive like that. I may have run a procedure 500 times but before I write about it in the paper I will still run some analysis just to be 100% sure that the binomial option does exactly what I think it does.

Also, it is very helpful for an audience particularly if seeing a technique for the first time to see the output that is created. Because SAS is a very natural language, especially when using the statistical procedures rather than say, macro programming, it was actually quite easy to run a PROC FREQ with pretty much every known option. Even a data step that included data lines and entering the data was a piece of cake.

Lately, I’ve been moving away from SAS and using other languages like JavaScript and PHP just because of the nature of the projects I have been working on. Given my current situation though, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be going back to using sounds a lot more.

Now of course most programs are going to be a lot more complicated than a proc freq with a data step, but still I can see how I could easily do a lot of SAS programming using Dragon.

I have seen that it is possible to hack the software in many ways from inserting your own dictionaries to custom commands and I expect that I will eventually end up doing that to use Dragon or something similar with JavaScript and other languages. That is going to take quite some time and be a relatively steep learning curve I am sure. With SAS, I could pretty much do it right out of the box.
Once I figure out a few of the mathematical symbols, I should be able to do just about anything with SAS,

I think this is a pretty important point because if you have a physical disability that makes it difficult for you to use a keyboard you might want to consider learning SAS as a valuable career skill. If you put that knowledge to gather with knowledge in the content area, for example, a degree in statistics you would be very marketable.

This was on my mind because I just returned from a site visit at a vocational rehabilitation project where their goal is to find jobs for people with disabilities.

I wasn’t thinking of going to anymore SAS conferences for a while after the one in September just because my schedule is very very packed. However, I think I might make an exception in a year or two and demonstrate how one could use Dragon to write SAS programs using only their voice.

Actually, Dragon worked better with SAS than it did with this blogging software. Yes, I am now only writing my blogs using voice input software as I saving any typing I do for actual programming.

 

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3 Comments so far

  1. Ed Summers on September 26, 2016 8:54 pm

    Hi Ann Maria,

    I manage the accessibility program at SAS. I was delighted to hear that you can work productively using SAS and Dragon. That topic would make a great paper for SAS Global Forum. I would love to be able to refer other SAS+Dragon users to your paper so they can learn from your experience.

    Best,
    Ed

  2. Colleen McGahan on January 17, 2017 2:34 pm

    Hi Ann Maria,

    I’m wondering if you would be open to chatting to me about your experience in using SAS and Dragon. I have an employee who is returning from long term disability and we are trying to figure out the feasibility of them using Dragon in order to continue as a SAS programmer. It sounds promising from your post. It would also be interesting to hear a bit more detail about the efficiency of using Dragon versus typing code.

    Kind regards
    Colleen

  3. AnnMaria on January 18, 2017 1:33 am

    Hi, Colleen –
    I’d be happy to talk with you. 310 717-9089

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