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#1 Ubriebara   User is offline

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Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

Post icon  Posted 05 March 2019 - 03:48 AM

I just started taking a intro to C++ class, and it's more interesting than I would have thought. The main languages I see folks on here say are good for actuaries are SAS and SQL.

Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL/whatever else I could potentially need? Or are they distinct foreign languages (how learning Spanish won't help you learn Chinese)?

Sorry if this has been asked before. I'm still a comp sci n00b.

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Replies To: Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

#2 no2pencil   User is online

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Re: Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

Posted 05 March 2019 - 05:39 AM

** Renamed title from 'C++ Question' to be more meaningful **

Not SQL, the syntax & structure is for data, not really what C/C++ covers.
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#3 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:10 AM

Both SAS and SQL are, essentially, declarative languages for querying data. C++ can do much more, building applications.

However, they both include, or can include, some programming extensions. So... there is some knowledge that could carry across; i.e. using variables, loops and procedures.

I would just ignore the fact that learning C++ might be of some use when you are learning the other two. They are too different in their aims and scope to consider them closely related.
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#4 baavgai   User is offline

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Re: Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:25 AM

First, SAS isn't a language but an ancient suite of business software. It has nothing to do with programming and, frankly, I'm rather impressed it still exists. Like other such monoliths, it survives by having a large share of a niche market and occasionally consuming more relevant companies. More here: https://en.wikipedia...i/SAS_Institute

SQL is an interesting beast. It is a declarative language, modeled after something called relational algebra, and has more in common with functional programming languages than anything else. As such, many imperative programmers suck at it and tend to resent its existence. C++, like the vast majority of programming languages, is imperative and, in spite of its kitchen sink multi paradigm coverage, has little to do with wrapping your head around SQL.

However, from a very high level, learning to think like a programmer should help with anything that computers do. So, from that perspective, yes, learning language X will help you with other computer thingy Y.

As languages, SQL and C++ actually couldn't be more different. SQL has very few language constructs and quirks, where C++ has a plethora of syntax, sidetracks, and some uniquely horrid yet uniquely powerful traits. If languages were martial arts, SQL would be American boxing, using but a handful of basic moves to effectively dispatch an opponent. C++ is kungfu theater fodder, where the student learns the art their entire life and still doesn't know all the secrets to be found.
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#5 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: Will learning C++ help me in learning SAS/SQL

Posted 05 March 2019 - 07:07 AM

If you're going to be more than just passable at writing programs, you're going to have to be good at abstractions. If you're good at abstractions, what you learn in one language will help you (often in surprising ways) in other languages. So yes, learning C++ will almost certainly help you in learning SQL. The question is, is C++ the right place to put your attention now? If you're learning it purely as a precursor to SQL, then probably not. If you have an interest in writing C++ programs, and you expect to learn SQL down the road, sure, go for it.
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