Student Placement - IQVIA

Sana Kamall - IQVIA

Introduction and Background 

I am currently studying Mathematics at the University of Huddersfield and knew from the beginning that I wanted to complete a year in industry as part of my degree. At university using programming I have undertaken many assignments involving manipulating and finding trends in data. So far, I’ve programmed in LATEX, RStudio, Python and Matlab, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so it was clear to me which field I wanted to enter. 

Although securing a placement is challenging since there is so much competition, I think the experience and lessons gained makes it more rewarding. It really provides insight into what office life is like and teaches you a great deal about the industry and profession you’d like to work within.


IQVIA and My Role as SAS Programmer 

I am currently on a year-long placement at IQVIA working as a SAS Programmer. I think working in the pharmaceutical industry is especially rewarding since, since the work we are doing is ultimately aimed at improving people’s health and bettering their quality of life.  At IQVIA, new graduates and interns complete an initial training period lasting a few weeks where we go over the basics of programming in SAS and learn how to use IQVIA specific tools and programs before being placed in a real-life study. All colleagues and study team members are incredibly supportive in getting you started and help with any queries/problems throughout the year as well. 

In IQVIA they are not afraid to give new starters responsibilities and I have been assigned a range of assignments such as: Performing QC on derived dataset specifications (ADaM and SDTMs) and ADaM defines, programming outputs (tables, listings and figures) and programming derived datasets (ADaM and SDTMs) from scratch. All the programming I’ve done so far has been in SAS so I’ve become very competent in the programming language which is predominantly used in the Pharmaceutical industry. 

Non-Project Opportunities 

There have also been many non-project based opportunities such as organising the Secret Santa in the office and helping with interviews for the next round of placement students. There are many social events too such as Badminton Tuesdays, the annual Christmas Party and the Summer Party.    

Next Steps

I am undecided about the path I would like to go down once I graduate. I am considering perusing a Masters in Data Science as this will give me exposure to a wider variety of programming languages and industries, or I would like to work for a pharmaceutical company as a graduate and continue expanding in my role as a SAS Programmer. 

Would I recommend a placement year?

I would highly recommend undergraduates to complete a placement year as you will gain both technical and soft skills such as teamwork, organisation and communication which are pivotal to any role. The job experience and industry exposure provides much needed insight into working life and helps you better decide what to do once you graduate!

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