I had a really good time at PharmaSUG China 2013. The only thing was I had a really hard time attending the conference! For some reason I didn’t think I needed to have a visa to gain entry into Shanghai, and only found out after I reached Heathrow Airport. At first I was told that I would have to rebook the flight again in at least 4 days! I replied “the conference would be over by then though”.
After further enquiries I found out that I could go to Hong Kong and obtain a Chinese visa from there within “4 hours”. So I persevered on, and was on my way to Hong Kong, which was an amazing place and well worth the visit! Unfortunately instead of 4 hours for the visa I had to wait 24 hours in the end, and I’m very grateful for Leo Li, Margaret Hung and James Wu for rearranging the presentation I was giving from Friday 6 September 2013 to the day after.
Anyway back to my PharmaSUG China. There was a wealth of presentations available. The paper I presented on Creating High Quality Statistical Graphs for Publications seemed to be received quite well, and I had interesting discussions at question time, and right after my presentation too at Lunch time.
I left the conference really intrigued after hearing the last presentation at the conference which was a panel discussion. This entailed the likes of Art Carpenter, Eckhard Pecker, Eric Deng, Sy Truong, Tracey Turschman and Zibhao Zhang answering some really interesting industry topics. Such as how do they see the future for SAS Programmers, and what will SAS Programmers have to learn? This panel was moderated exceptionally well by Yanyun Shen, and the main things I picked up was that SAS Programmers in the pharmaceutical industry should be employable for a long while. There is so much data out there, and China especially has a younger marker than the West and therefore, more businesses are going to be coming to China. To be a proficient SAS Programmer we will need to be flexible and not just rely on “One Procedure” to see us through to retirement. We should be learning other procedures, and it is even better for us if we can learn how to program those “Push a button” macros. Furthermore it will be useful for us to learn other languages such as R and XML; More and more data is on the web.
Finally when the conference closed, I found out that I won a prize! A prize! This is the first time I have ever one a prize, and that means my conference fees for PharmaSUG China 2014 which will be held in Beijing, will be paid for!