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What Kind of Training Should I Get For a Career Change Into SAP?

Here’s my feeling about getting your first SAP training: I think most people waste their money by investing in SAP training before they understand the market. So many times, I hear about people who invested in a course for a skill area that is obsolete. Or, they invested in a training course in an area they think is "hot" without thinking about this hot area fits into their existing skill set.

I believe that anyone getting SAP training should start by reading some "foundational" books on SAP to get some general SAP know-how first. Then you can approach SAP training from a more strategic direction.

This way, you won’t have to spend your first SAP training in a broad "SAP 101" class, or, worse yet, realize later you got the wrong kind of training. SAP training classes are not cheap. That’s why I believe that your first real training class should be more focused on a particular specialty area. As to what that specialty area should be, that really depends on your overall background and industry expertise. You want to try to match your current skills with a growth area in SAP.

For example, folks with sales and marketing backgrounds might really benefit from SAP CRM training, those with accounting backgrounds should look into SAP Financials, etc. If you have a technical background, I’d pursue some relevant technical training, focused on some aspect of the new NetWeaver architecture, or perhaps web-based programming or Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

If you can draw on what you’ve done before SAP as you move into the SAP marketplace, you’ll have an easier time breaking in. It’s important to strike a balance between learning an area that it "hot" and one that ties into your current skills. With some research into the SAP product line, you should be able to find that right training class. If people focused more on this type of skills inventory, and less on trying to obtain the hottest SAP skill of all time, they would fare better.

I’ve talked before about how people overestimate the value of SAP training and certification and I’ll get back to that topic with more real-life examples down the road. It’s not that I’m down on SAP training, in fact, I encourage it. I just feel like there should be a least one person holding up a yellow "think before you spend" light before plunking down that kind of money.

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