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Which Certification is More Marketable, SD or BW?

This question was posed to me by a professional with more than five years of experience as a user of SAP in the areas of sales operations and finance/commissions. She was looking to invest in her SAP career and take it to the next level by acquiring either an SD or BW-related certification. The first thing I did is to refer her to the article I wrote for ERPgenie.com on "Avoiding the SAP Certification Rip-Off."

I may have misled people a bit with that article title. It’s not that I feel that SAP certification is a rip-off as much as I think it’s overrated by many folks who are trying to break into the SAP field. The inflammatory article title was meant to entice people to read the article and hopefully give them a more balanced view of the pros and cons of certification before they invested.

As long as the limitations of certification are understood, it can be a good investment. That leaves us with the follow-up question: SD or BW? There are two aspects to assessing the value of certification. The first is to pick which area is most marketable going forward. I always say that certification is more effective to lay the groundwork for a new focus area than to solidify an existing knowledge base. It’s also great for pushing into the "latest and greatest" areas of SAP.

In this case, both SD and BW are well-positioned going forward. All things being equal, I might give a slight edge to BI, just because the BI product is now entrenched across the SAP product line as of the NetWeaver 2004s release. But SD is a close second, and in this case, the person who wrote me has significant experience as an SAP user in the SD area.

It’s ideal to choose a certification that is not only marketable but is also relevant to your overall SAP and industry background. That’s why in this case I like the SD certification option a little better. Having said that, SD user experience is not as important to a hiring manager as previous implementation experience. If you had this type of background and you were determined to break into BW, I wouldn’t try to hold you back.

Your passionate interest in the area of SAP you are pursuing is another key piece of the puzzle that has to be considered. If BW seems compelling to your intellect but SD seems kind of bland, then you might be better off in BW where your interest in your topic should, over time, spur you to develop a deeper expertise.

There isn’t one right answer to SD versus BW certification, so in this answer, I wanted to draw out the main factors I would encourage someone in this situation to consider.

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