What statistical software should I use?

The question regarding the selection of statistical software is a complex one and usually involves three alternatives for students involved in business, education, nursing, social work, and any employment activities that include an undergraduate degree.   These alternatives include: SPSS (The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), SAS (Statistical Analysis Systems) and Microsoft Excel.

Although I have learned and have used all three of the packages, I recommend and use Microsoft Excel for my classes.   Why?   The primary mission of our department is to prepare students for entry level professional positions.   There are no local agencies that have copies of either SPSS or SAS.  However, when an agency, health care facility, school or business purchases a computer, Microsoft Excel is usually included with the computer.   Thus, if a student learns Microsoft Excel, he/she will be able to successfully use the software housed at one's internship or first job.

If a student elects to go to graduate school, one will be faced with SPSS or SAS.  Which one will be used?   It depends on the school!   However, both SPSS and SAS are designed to interface with Microsoft Excel.   Frankly, Microsoft Excell is best preparation for using either SPSS and SAS.

So, this is why I use Microsoft Excel.   Microsoft Excel best prepares undergraduate students for an entry level professional position and it is the best bridge to SPSS or SAS.