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Is SAP Certification Worth the Money?

This is a very hard question to answer, in part because money is relative. If you have plenty of cash stashed away, then you can never go wrong with an investment in SAP certification. But, few of us fit into that category. That means we need a clearer understanding of how SAP certification fits into our career strategy. SAP certification is full of controversy because of the contrast between the importance of certification versus hands-on SAP skills. In this blog entry, I’ll summarize some of my views on SAP certification and hopefully we can get some comments going on this topic also.

  The SAP certification debate took on some new life not long ago in a blog post that SearchSAP.com Site Editor Demir Barlas posted that soon became a lengthy discussion thread. I recommend you check out that thread to get a well-rounded view of the issue. In that particular case, the certification question was focused on the value of certification for so-called "freshers," or folks who are new to the SAP market. But of course SAP certification concerns all SAP professionals, whether you are new to the field or looking for an added edge in the market.

Certification was also a hot topic at Sapphire again this year, in part because of the desire on the part of the SAP community to understand SAP’s new three-tiered certification strategy. Some people like to frame the SAP certification issue in terms of whether SAP certification is a rip-off, and I have done that before myself. But I think the best way to look at SAP certification is to ask if it’s overrated or not. And the answer to that question is, "it depends." In terms of a "quick fix" to immediately break into SAP or change your SAP career fortunes, I think SAP certification is overrated. But in terms of a savvy way to enhance your marketability in a long-term sense, I think SAP certification may even be underrated.

Let me review a few of the key points I have said about SAP certification over the years.
Here are some highlights from the first comment I made to Demir’s entry about certification on SearchSAP.com:

"I read this certification article and comments with great interest. I have served as the resident SAP career expert on SearchSAP.com since 2002, and I’ve been answering questions about the marketability of SAP certification since 1995.I continue to field continual questions on the value of training and certification both on SearchSAP.com and on my own web site, JonERP.com.

Obviously from this blog, this topic remains a heated point of debate, as it should be. SAP training and certification is a significant investment for an individual SAP professional, and to this day, I feel that too many people dive headlong into that investment without weighing their options carefully. (Of course, some people are fortunate enough to get their training and/or certification paid for by their employers, in which case, it is more of a no-brainer to go ahead and do it).

There is obviously no one right answer to the question of the value of SAP certification. You can find examples of those who have had success with SAP certification and at the same time, you can find plenty of examples of those who invested in SAP certification and ultimately could not land an SAP job based on that certification. I’ve heard from those folks and they are not a happy group.

It’s helpful to understand how SAP certification fits into the supply and demand of the marketplace. Back in the 1990s, it was possible to land an SAP job with "certification only" because there weren’t enough experienced consultants, and "Big Six firms" on large project sites were able to field teams with plenty of junior-level consultants who did not have any hands-on SAP experience other than their classroom certifications.

The power of certification in the SAP market has changed largely because most of these "entry level" consulting positions on client sites are gone forever. Most SAP customers are sophisticated enough to expect more seasoned SAP pros with actual SAP project experience. And there are fewer "big bang" type implementations where companies just open the floodgates and hire hundreds of consultants regardless of experience level. As a result, even though the SAP consulting market is very healthy, the power of SAP certification to land that all-important first project has diminished over the years, and I don’t expect that power to return.

Before we go further with my comments, it’s helpful to understand that SAP has also been adding to its certification levels. The classic level of SAP certification is now called the "Associate" level. SAP is now rolling out the "Professional" level certification in many areas. This is a more rigorous certification program and as such, may eventually carry more weight in the marketplace, we will have to see. There is a third level of certification on the way also, called the "Master" level. It is rumored that this level will likely involve some measurement of project experience. If this comes to pass, I would not be surprised if this higher level of certification carries much more weight.

Certification is interesting from the vantage point of hype. Sometimes I have found that SAP hypes its own certification, but often, I find that it’s the job seekers themselves who latch onto certification and hype it for themselves. Demir is absolutely right in his post: many aspiring SAP professionals view certification as the easy (if expensive) way to open a door into the SAP field that is not always easy to open.

It’s hard to argue that SAP certification is an absolute waste of money and time. It all depends on how much money and time you have. But when we consider the value of certification, I think the biggest determining factor is: how many SAP jobs require certification? The answer is: only a small percentage. Project references are so much more important, as others commenting on this blog entry have noted. And even those jobs that require SAP certification also tend to require a number of years in the SAP field as well.

Here are a few comments I made on a previous SearchSAP.com post on certification: "I will tell you that I rarely encourage SAP certification for those who are tight on costs. I feel that in many ways, a better use of time is to focus on marketing your existing skills to customers running on SAP and break into SAP from the inside. Remember that SAP consulting is really not a certification-driven market the way that some other software and hardware markets are.

Project experience is the key, and investing time in books and research into companies running SAP in your field could be a better option. I’m not saying don’t get certified in SAP, just be realistic that it may not be the key to landing an SAP position. I think knowing how to make your current skills appealing to SAP customers and their IT departments may be more important.

One good exercise is to review current SAP jobs on sites like SearchSAP.com and see what kinds of skills are required. See how often certification is listed as required or preferred, and what other skills are needed. This will not only give you a better idea of what skills are truly hot, it will also help you to see how important certification really is (or isn’t). I think you’ll be surprised at how few SAP jobs actually require certification in order to apply.

The key to breaking into SAP remains hard work, good overall technical and business skills, and savvy self-marketing. Certification can help too, but the other areas I just listed are more important in most cases."

It’s not that SAP certification is a bad investment, it’s just that too many people, especially "freshers," still look at SAP certification as a "career cure all." In the sense of a quick-fix solution, I see SAP certification as overrated. As a long term investment in the context of career best practices, SAP certification may be underrated. I do find that consultants who invest a portion of their earnings in self-education are always the ones to excel in the long run.

But certification is only one form of self-education - there are now so many of those to consider in the SAP field: all kinds of trade shows, hundreds of affordable books, online training courses, and even interactive forums like this one and those that SAP itself runs, such as the SAP Developer Network and the SAP BPX Community. You might get a lot further networking with SAP customers at Sapphire than investing in a piece of paper and framing it on your wall. The SAP market is vast, but it’s still about relationships.

In life, we often have maddening cases of situations where the "rich get richer," and the same is sometimes true of SAP certification. By that I mean that I find that SAP certification has been more powerfully used in recent years by experienced consultants than "freshers." For experienced SAP consultants, certifications can reinforce your project experience, and I have seen certifications serve as a tie-breaker in hiring situations where two SAP consultants were equally qualified from a project experience standpoint.

I’ve also seen SAP veterans use certification as a way to transition into new technologies while remaining billable. Perhaps you could say that SAP certification is the icing on the cake of quality SAP project experience. Without the cake, the icing slides through your hands.

In closing, I’d like to tip my hat to Demir for raising this topic. I find that so-called "freshers" are too often tempted by the promise of SAP certification and not given ample warning that they will likely face challenges breaking into SAP with or without a certification on their resume. The SAP market can be frustrating that way: on the one hand, some consultants are thriving, others are on the outside looking in. The good news is that sites like this offer a great value in assessing your skills and coming up with a strategy for breaking into SAP and succeeding once you get there."

So that was my first post to Demir’s blog entry. It’s a pretty good summary of my position on the subject.

It will be very interesting to see if SAP is able to finalize its "Certified Master" certification level. Since the master-level certification is rumored to include a component of recognized field service, if it caught on, it could be a means of finally incorporating the classroom know-how of the certification tests with the bona fides of hands-on SAP implementation experience.

There’s no way to summarize a topic as complex as certification in one blog entry. I look forward to hearing your comments and I’ll respond to them once they appear.

37 Responses to “Is SAP Certification Worth the Money?”

  • Demir Barlas responded:
    June 4th, 2008 at 4:44 am...

    Thanks, Jon, for an enlightening entry. I’ve blogged about it at:
    http://sap.blogs.techtarget.com/2008/06/04/saps-new-certification-strategy/
    Best,
    Demir Barlas

  • Jon Reed responded:
    June 4th, 2008 at 6:37 pm...

    Demir, great blog entry and nice job expanding on the new SAP certification readers. I place a comment to your entry, I encourage those reading this to check out the link above.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Anand responded:
    June 10th, 2008 at 2:55 am...

    Dear Mr. Jon,

    Thanks for the valuable information, I had double mind till before I saw your article. Now, I’m clear what and how to do.

    Thanks again ! Best website on SAP career…

    Anand

  • Jon Reed responded:
    June 10th, 2008 at 4:06 pm...

    Hello Anand.

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad that you like the site and that is brought valuable information to you. We do our best to provide the best SAP career information in one place you can find. Make sure to check out the Sapphire in Review podcasts in my library and/or on the home page. In particular, the podcasts with Foote and Bettisworth highlight hot SAP skills trends.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Anonymous responded:
    June 13th, 2008 at 8:58 pm...

    Avoiding SAP jargon, and expressing this concisely, an SAP certification is 1) no guarantee, 2) doesn’t hurt, and 3) is mucho expensive.

    Accordingly, if someone owes you a BIG favor, get them to foot your tuition bill. If not, the back way, as Jon recommends, is the way to go until someone ponys up to the bar and gets you your sheepskin!

  • Hashir responded:
    June 20th, 2008 at 7:04 am...

    Hello,

    Nice blog Jon. I’d like share my experience with you. I broke into SAP with a certification in ABAP; I know many other employers in Pakistan who consider certification mandatory. At the same time, there are some who don’t consider certification mandatory, for freshers at least. I think one has to observe his/her environment closely before diving into this expensive route.

    Hashir Ahmed

  • Jon Reed responded:
    June 20th, 2008 at 4:51 pm...

    Hello Hashir. That’s interesting that you have so many companies in Pakistan that require SAP certification. That certainly changes things. We don’t see that as much in the United States. I would say less than five percent of the SAP job orders I see require certification here.

    I agree that the key is to analyze your environment carefully. I also think it’s important to develop a real self-education plan, and put it in writing, and figure out how certification fits in with other options such as attending conferences like Tech Ed, perhaps getting SAP system access or an SDN development subscription, or all the options for self-education including book study as well.
    Once you have an overall plan, certification can be placed inside the context of that plan and the expectation of the companies in your country or region.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Raj responded:
    June 27th, 2008 at 10:37 pm...

    Nice blog Jon. I must mention here that private SAP training institutes still keep aggressively marketing SAP certification as a way to get people into their courses.
    I witnessed this in Toronto. However, once the course is complete, the candidate is mostly left on his own!
    That possibly more de-motivates the poor new-kid-in-the-bloc than helping him (unless he/she is strong willed)

  • Jon Reed responded:
    June 30th, 2008 at 3:08 pm...

    Raj, thanks for your comment.

    I agree that what you are talking about: getting people excited about certification as a way of breaking them into SAP, and them leaving them on their own afterwards, can be a very unethical marketing approach.

    That’s one reason why I’ve been pushing this certification discussion, so that folks can weigh their options more carefully. SAP certification can be very effective, but you have to understand the market and the challenges entailed as well.

    Thanks for helping our readers to get another view of that also.

    - Jon Reed -

  • temitope responded:
    July 1st, 2008 at 12:32 pm...

    Hello Jon,

    I need your advice. I am planning to go for the sap entreprise solution archictecture class series: SAPNW, SOA100, SOA120, AND SOA200.

    I have 4 years in banking operations experience and my office just lanched the SAP platform though i will paying for the training. I have a goal to do consulting later.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    July 2nd, 2008 at 5:08 pm...

    Your question seems a little incomplete, but if your goal is to be a consultant, I think that combining those certifications with relevant hands-on experience in the areas you mentioned is a good approach.

    Sometimes these questions a difficult for me to answer because I feel like I am repeating what I’ve already written.

    Yes, your plan seems good. No, certification doesn’t guarantee anything. But, combined with good hands-on project experience, certification can help you eventually make the leap to consulting and be more effective on a project in the meantime.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Danny Zafrani responded:
    August 12th, 2008 at 10:15 am...

    Thank you very much for bringing the subject to light.

    Indeed, I am one of those “freshers” you mention in your article, and you are so right that at SAP they are not too clear about telling us what to expect when we finish a certain certification. Precisely today, I was speaking to one of the offices in Latin America and the lady said that it would be better for me to study one of the newer ones - CRM Associate level - because there are fewer people that are certified and less “competition” from the seasoned veterans. She said, basically, that I was on my own once I finished all the coursework.

    This really didn’t make sense, because all throughout their site they brag about this Global Initiative and suggest they desperately need consultants to fill the marketĀ“s needs, and that the industry will more than double in sales by 2010, etc.

    I will definitely look into other resources before spending the money on certification, because no employer is paying for it.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    August 15th, 2008 at 10:14 pm...

    Danny, thanks for your honest comment, I’m sure it will be of great benefit to our visitors. I hope those who are trying to break into SAP will read your experience carefully. I do not necessarily blame SAP for the hype around certification. I find that third parties and even individual consultants often hype certification even more than SAP does. Everyone wants SAP certification to be a guaranteed a way into the market, but it isn’t always the case. You are very smart to realize that these much-hyped “huge consulting gap” figures are often just hype. The needs for SAP talent are very specialized and, in my opinion and experience, SAP certification alone is rarely enough to get you the job. I do think the advice about getting certified in an area where there are fewer good consultants is generally good advice, but I feel that certification is much more of a benefit to experienced SAP consultants than “freshers,” and barring new evidence to the contrary, I will continue to feel that way. Good luck out there and let us know how it works out.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Janet responded:
    September 23rd, 2008 at 1:11 am...

    Hi,
    Offcourse I read your blogs and they are very useful specially person like me thinking about breaking in to SAP as consultant.

    Basically I am working as an Accountant and using SAP for the last 10 years specially the FICO Module. I was super user during implementation time in my last company and I have trained the end users at that time.

    Right now I am thinking about my career to give a small deviation. Currently, I am studying to certify myself as a CAPM [CERTIFIED ASSOCIATE PROJECT MANAGER] and also thinking about certifying in SAP FI module too. My project experience is very limited, yet I know whats happnening in projects fairly well as my current company is projectised compnay.

    Your feedback on my plan would be appreciated - in terms of getting a SAP Job.
    Thanks for your time
    Regards - Janet

  • Ahsan responded:
    September 23rd, 2008 at 1:11 pm...

    Hello Jon,

    Thanks for such a great article. I have few questions for you.

    Actually I am working for a company who have a SAP dept. My seniors told me that if i get a SAP certification then I can move to SAP dept (hopefully). However I am new to SAP so don’t know which module is best suited for me.
    I have a degree of MCS (Master of computer science) and have more than 3 years of experience working as a software eng and biztalk consultant. Currently i am working as a Biztalk Consultant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    Could you please tell me which module is good for me?
    Also is there any way that i can go for SAP certification without taking training classes?

    Thanks.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    September 24th, 2008 at 8:16 am...

    Ahsan, in most cases you can go for certification without the classes, however, you do run a much bigger risk of not passing the exam unless you find out exactly the topics covered and make sure your own training covers those topics. But please verify this with your local certification provider and don’t take my word for it.

    Unfortunately, I’m not in the business of recommending areas of SAP to pursue. The reason for that is: you need to go after an area of SAP you are passionate about, and try to excel in it and get the latest release exposure.

    I suggest you go to the “hot skills” section of my web site and learn more about my philosophy on acquiring skills. That’s in the “news” menu on the left hand side.

    Mostly, you want to study the different areas of SAP in more detail and see where your skills intersect. You need to focus either on the technical or functional side of SAP, and then work on understanding enough of the connections to the other side to be a bridge between them.

    Read more of my advice in the hot skills section, including the “disclaimer” article, and then let me know if you have further questions.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Okhaide responded:
    October 19th, 2008 at 10:17 pm...

    Jon

    I believe that life is a risk and getting a certification in SAP could be just that break everyone needs, needless to say the SAP market is like every other market you need to seek opportunities after you get certified.

    That said, i came in contact with an academy that does training and also promises engagement as an associate consultant for a period of one year for you to hone your skills before u breakout (if u so desire)

    “http://www.browline.com/sap-training.htm”

    Whats your take on this

  • Jon Reed responded:
    October 20th, 2008 at 8:48 pm...

    Okhaide, I suppose on some level you are right that “life is a risk.” However, some people make more conservative choices and some more risky ones. The best approach to life, in my opinion, is strategic risk, which is to say, risks that are calculated to pay off. Saying “life is a risk” as a blanket endorsement of SAP certification doesn’t make sense to me.

    The problem with this kind of general statement is that everything is relative. If you have $100,000 in the bank today, then yes, I think SAP certification is a good investment. Most people who ask me questions about SAP certification have a much tighter budget, however. I believe that SAP certification can really help an experienced SAP consultant, but for those new to the field, I believe the money and time is better spent on affordable self-education, cheaper online training courses, free involvement with SAP’s online communities, and then the hard work of marketing your skills to SAP customers.

    Your question is about an institute in the UK I don’t know about. Generally, SAP certification from SAP itself carries much more weight than training from third parties, however, if they “promise” to place you on a project, that is appealing. You must be careful about this fine print. I would ask them for a percentage of how many people they trained in the last year were placed, and I’d ask to speak to at least one of them. If they are responsive to the questions, then great. If not, I’d be skeptical of such claims. Remember that SAP customers are not interested in paying junior professionals to learn on the job, so those that end up getting placed are mostly likely getting placed based on the strengths of their overall background.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Madan responded:
    November 14th, 2008 at 8:10 am...

    Hi Jon;

    Thanks for the info. I am now working as a HR proffesional and wanted a career change. So i decided to step into SAP HR. Do you think it is worth a try in the current market for SAP HR.

    Also, i have decided not a pursue a certification now, since i am a fresher in SAP HR.

    Pls let me know.

    - Madan-

  • Jon Reed responded:
    November 14th, 2008 at 8:19 am...

    Hi Madan.

    It’s hard to offer universal advice on things like SAP certification since every person is different. But in my opinion, it’s usually wise to hold off on certification until you have a focus area of SAP and some good SAP experience. Then you use SAP certification to build on or solidify those skills.

    As for HR, I do like an HR focus. Did you see my ranking of the SAP functional modules? SAP HR/HCM came in second on that list, so I definitely like it. Here’s a direct link to that article: http://tinyurl.com/5spnek. You should also listen to the podcast with Ralph Williams of B2B Workforce (http://www.b2bworkforce.com) on SAP HCM consulting, you would enjoy that one. You can access that in my podcast archive though you will have to register for that one.

    good luck!

    - Jon Reed -

  • Madan responded:
    November 17th, 2008 at 9:34 am...

    Hi Jon;

    Thanks a lot.. I would listen to the podcast too.

    Regards,

    Madan

  • sanjay responded:
    November 17th, 2008 at 12:43 pm...

    Hi Jon,
    Really it is great article giving brief info about SAP. I seek your openion. I am working in an oil and gas company for past 4 plus years wherein my job is to train all professionals in SAP (MM)from my group companies across the world. So i can say that i have gain thorough experience in business process. It includes start to end process in procurement but no back end activities.
    As per your openion will SAP certification prove an additional edge to my carrier?

  • Jon Reed responded:
    November 18th, 2008 at 8:27 am...

    Madan, great - hope you enjoy the podcast!

    Sanjay, thanks for your comments also. You have asked an excellent question. I do believe that having SAP certification would make a career difference for you in a positive manner. First, you fit the profile of someone who is already working in SAP, which is a good profile to go and get the certification.

    Also, I think having the certification will give you additional credibility with your students and also will put you in a position to answer their questions about the SAP MM certification process as well.

    So for you, unlike many others here, I really think that certification is a no-brainer! Your question is a great example of why SAP certification is not “one size fits all,” but something that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Hardev responded:
    November 18th, 2008 at 11:42 pm...

    Hi Jon,

    I read your article and it was great. There’s just one question I have in my mind which keeps bugging me. I joined my company as an SAP Developer a year and a half ago as a “fresher” and had no SAP Development experience. I went for some basic SAP trainings and worked on several projects and now am very much comfortable in this field.

    Now I want to expand my development knowledge to a higher extent. For this I was thinking of going for a ABAP certification. I’m not sure if it is a good idea or just a waste of money. It’s been several months since I’ve thought about this and come to no conclusion.

    Please advice.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    November 20th, 2008 at 1:47 am...

    Hardev, thanks for the kind words!

    It all depends on your interest. If you interest is in how marketable you appear on your resume, then SAP certification has an appeal that you can’t get somewhere else. But if you’re more focused on your own knowledge, why not consider a NetWeaver developer subscription? You could sandbox your own SAP environment, with both ABAP and Java tools at your disposal to learn all you want. They just slashed their rates on it too, in half from what they were before. If I were a developer, that’s what I’d look into myself.

    Here’s a link to the announcement on the price cost that should work:

    http://snurl.com/5z78k

    - Jon Reed -

  • Mashhour responded:
    December 23rd, 2008 at 7:13 am...

    Dear jon,
    Really appreciate the blog. I’m one of those so called “Freshers” you were talking about. While reading your blog, an issue came to mind, Is it wise to take an SAP job with an IT consultancy company that will not pay for any SAP tuition, or , A “customer-side” company that will pay for a SAP tuition? Keeping in mind that in the IT consultancy company, one will work on more SAP projects as one is not on the customer side. Also, the customer side company has only one considerably large SAP project. Your advice please.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    December 25th, 2008 at 11:17 am...

    Mashour, I’m glad you find this career blog helpful. Because so many have commented and interacted with me on this thread, I think it sheds light on many different issues pertaining to SAP certification, so thanks to all who have responded so far.

    You ask a good question, but not a simple one. The reason it is not simple is because the answer depends on your ultimate career goals. If your ultimate goal is to become a CIO, then I think it’s better to work inside an SAP customer context. If your ultimate goal is to become a senior SAP consultant, than the SAP consulting firm is a better choice.

    Whether or not these firms will pay for tuition is not, to me, a major factor in this choice. The key is whether they will both give you hands-on SAP exposure. As long as that is the case, you’re in good shape. Of course, getting your tuition paid is a nice bonus, but this would only be a huge advantage if SAP certification was more valuable than hands-on SAP project work, and that is not currently the case as we have noted in this entry.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Ali responded:
    January 6th, 2009 at 5:14 pm...

    Hi Jon,

    I am so glad I found this site. I am currently working as a program manager in a software company and has 5 yrs of QA experience, but now I am thinking about moving to SAP since I am seeking job in Mideast and most companies are asking for SAP ERP specialist or Analysts. Unfortunately, I don’t have any SAP experience. I have found the following program offered by CMU:

    http://www.cel.cmich.edu/sap/gradcertificate/

    Could you please take a look at the above link and let me know if getting the above certification can help in getting the SAP ERP Analyst job?
    How much programming knowledge is needed for SAP? Do you need to be a programmer to do SAP configuration?

    Thanks,
    Ali

  • Jon Reed responded:
    January 9th, 2009 at 12:11 am...

    Ali, it would require ten pages or longer to truly answer what appear to be simple questions you have asked. All the answers you seek are on my site, you’ll just need to read further.

    But, quick versions: I don’t believe the above certification will help you land a job, if you read my thread to this same blog entry you commented on, you know that I’m skeptical about certification to break into SAP, that’s not really what it is effective for. If you want to be helped by certification for job seeking, you should get the certification directly from SAP, which carries more weight, but even then, as you can see in this thread, be careful.

    No, you don’t need to be a programmer to be successful in SAP or configure the software.

    - Jon Reed -

  • Matt responded:
    January 19th, 2009 at 3:58 am...

    Hello Jon,
    I appreciate the insights you give in your article. I am a senior in college, pursuing a degree in information systems, with a minor in ERP. By taking all the available SAP classes I will recieve an SAP certification upon completion of this semester.
    My question for you is, in your opinion, for someone with no real world IT experience, what is the best approach to laying a career path that will lead to an SAP career? I am taking ABAP programming now and wonder what, if any, angle of the SAP market would here entry level.
    thanks,
    Matt

  • Jon Reed responded:
    January 27th, 2009 at 9:28 am...

    Matt, you ask a great question because I think the situation of young college graduates is very different than older SAP professionals. (sorry by the way for the delay responding to this question).

    I think you have a couple of options. If I were you, I’d be angling for a techno-functional role (as long as you like business as well as programming, it’s that crossover sweet spot that is real valuable right now).

    You could accomplish this in two ways: get hired by a consultancy, such as IBM or Deloitte, that is looking for the “best and brightest” and will cross train you in many related areas.

    Or: you could even consider getting an MBA, perhaps an MBA with an Information Systems focus. I don’t think MBAs are essential for consulting or career success, but I was always so impressed with developers who had MBAs, they seemed very well rounded and often got better opportunities. So, whether or not you pursue an MBA, I would shoot to strike that technical-business balance and also to see if you can find an employer that will train you and give you challenging duties.

    As I always say, go where the opportunities are and you should be great!

    - Jon Reed -

  • Harish responded:
    March 19th, 2009 at 1:19 pm...

    Hi John,
    Its really great article which u have been writing from such a long time and it helps many of us, I am currently working on Microsoft technology for last 2 years and recently i have taken private course on ABAP which is trained by one of the faculty, now i am planning to do certification on the ABAP NETWEAVER, as i have read many books and online materials now i am pretty much confident in working on ABAP, but i am planning to do certification to learn more on NETWEAVER, so can u please suggest me whether i can take up the certification or what are the other possibilities? Is the right decision have i made switching from Microsoft tech to SAP tech? Please do reply. Advance wishes.

  • Jon Reed responded:
    March 27th, 2009 at 6:27 am...

    It always surprises me how much faith people put in me in terms of deciding things that are deeply personal, such as career direction. I appreciate the trust, but the decision involves factors beyond my insight. For example, in your case, switching from Microsoft tech to SAP tech is really a decision based on what you are most passionate about and interested in. If you love working in Microsoft, no need to make the switch. If you are more drawn to SAP, good reason to make the switch.
    Don’t let money be a key factor in this.

    Also: people forget that it’s what you bring to the table skillwise, especially in this economy, that determines your success. Therefore: why would you abandon Microsoft skills for SAP? A better approach is to apply for jobs that are both Microsoft and SAP shops. This way you will have a stronger impact from the day you start working.

    Hope that helps!

    - Jon Reed -

  • Harish responded:
    March 30th, 2009 at 8:12 am...

    Hi John,

    Thanks a lot for your reply, actually i am not switching over SAP tech leaving behind microsoft tech, my plan is to work on both the technologies and i heard that MICROSOFT and SAP together making an alliance, so i am very much interested in working on SAP .NET Interoperability which i saw in your books collection.

    I am very much interested in learning the bussiness oriented technology thats what made me to learn SAP.I am very much interested in working on SAP web application development, as i a Microsoft .Net developer i thought of utilising this skill in learning SAP and move on with SAP web application development.

    Which course will suits me better? i have learned SAP-ABAP and planning to learn the same on netweaver. Is its possible to work on both SAP and Microsoft technologies together? As per your suggestion in the previous discussion i will search for jobs which are both Microsoft and SAP techs, In this case what will be the future scope working on both the techs. Please suggest me the best option.

  • John responded:
    June 9th, 2009 at 10:49 pm...

    Greetings,
    My name is john, I’m actually a healthcare professional looking to transition out of the patient care field. My brother is a programmer (not SAP, but has done it yrs ago) and his trying to direct into C#.net or SAP. We both believe Im more suited and will like sap work and travel more than C#.net. The question that I have and hope many will chime in, is:

    What are the prospects of finding employment with no other computer/it experience?

    It seems that the FI/CO modules are the most used, however, if I get certified in just the FI portion would I be able to gain employment? -I do plan on eventually getting certified in the CO portion, along with other later on…but at over 13k a pop per section just for classes, training and certification; not counting the time off from work, flights and hotel costs, its a huge economic cost.

    Currently, I have a b.s. in economics and another in nursing.
    -just burned out from patient care.

    Thanks, and best regards to all
    john

  • Prince responded:
    June 28th, 2009 at 2:45 am...

    Jon, just like so many other readers, I too appreciate the wealth of SAP related information you have shared here and the timely and patient responses to every question posted here.
    I have a question myself. I have 6 years of experience working in the software service industry working on a slew of technologies ranging from Mainframe to IBM Lotus Notes Domino to Visual Basic and Environment build and management. I wanted to gain expertise in a specific stream and base my career with SAP. I realize that you have mentioned already that SAP certification might be useful only when u already have SAP project experience and are looking to hone ur skills further. But tell me Jon, how do I break into the SAP job market. I do not have SAP project experience.
    Thanks for your time.

  • Jasmin responded:
    August 3rd, 2009 at 6:38 am...

    Hi Jon,

    Great article for ‘freshers’, please keep up the good work.
    A brief background about myself, before I seek some career advise. I’ve 14+ yrs of IT exp with a MS in Comp Science and am PMP certified as well. I’ve been a PM/BA for 7 yrs in a s/w company managing enterprise product implementations for CRM systems. I got laid off recently and at the moment am doing some independent consulting but am very seriously thinking of a ‘career switch’

    Here’s the situation…
    I was recently contacted by a ‘NASDAQ’ listed SAP consulting company that wants to exploit the BW/BO (Business Objects) market by providing ‘in class’ training (for 3 months on weekends) + Access to sandbox + pre marketing + encouraging us (They’ll pay exam fees) to get SAP certified.

    Here’s where I seek ur advice…
    1) Please suggestion some ‘key’ questions I need to ask these folks?
    2) What are the chances for ‘SAP - newbies’ to break into the market through consulting companies that have strong presence/clientele in SAP projects.
    3)Given my 9+ yrs functional exp in ‘proprietory’ CRM systems, is there any other SAP module (other then BW/BI), that I should focus on (for e.g. SAP Solutions manager)?

    I have strong DB background, excellent communication skills and would prefer to further my career as PM/BA but given the messed up job market am caught up in a bind. I would really really appreciate your response.

    Thanks

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