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Jon Reed is putting together his lists of the hottest SAP skills of today and tomorrow. The skills that SAP professionals need to succeed is a common theme in all of our podasts as well, but these articles and ranked lists below will take you closer into the skills you want to have to succeed on project sites, and to stay marketable in the "outsourcing era."
SAP Skills Update in the Downturn and “Counter-Trending” Skills from Foote Partners Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGSAP Skills in the Downturn:
The Latest Foote Partners Skills Pay Findings
February 25, 2009
by Jon Reed of

I recently heard from David Foote of Foote Partners, who has just issued a quarterly IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index report. The data covers the fourth quarter of 2008. David also let me know that anyone who purchases the new Pay Index (or any other Foote Partners Product) also gets a free copy of their 2009 IT Skills Trends Report. David has taken part in a couple of SAP skills podcasts as well, in collaboration with

As readers of know, I am regularly assessing the hottest skills in the SAP market based on my own discussions with SAP insiders. David's firm, however, approaches this data from a much more systematic angle, gathering information from literally hundreds of SAP customers each time they issue a report. I find that Foote Partners' SAP skills data usually jives with my own perceptions, but there are also many useful clarifications in their reports.

Before we go further, I want to let readers know that there is an immediate opportunity in to enter a drawing for JonERP reader with Foote Partners to receive a free SAP salary survey. Go to our Foote Partners page to learn more.

For SAP professionals, one of the most interesting things about Foote Partners' research is that Foote is not limited to SAP. Their surveys span the range of IT skills. This allows us an opportunity to assess SAP skills in the context of overall demand for IT skills. Foote Partners' most recent report tracks skills pay, which is a much more dynamic way to track changes in skills demand than simply looking at IT salaries, which are of course are much more static.

The good news from Foote's latest findings? SAP skills still score prominently on an overall list of IT skills in demand.

The non-certified IT Skills that increased in value during the fourth quarter of 2008 include:

1. NetWeaver Portals (SAP EP)
2. PHP
3. Apple OS X/Tiger/Leopard
5. Java/J2EE, SE, ME
6. NetWeaver PI (SAP XI)
7. Master Data Management
8. Unified Communications/Messaging
9. Database Management
10. Microsoft SQL Server
11. Oracle Developer Suite
12. SAP Solution Manager
13. NetWeaver BI (SAP BW)

As we can see from this list, of the top 13 non-certified skills that increased in value, SAP-related skills figure prominently, with four of the top 13 skills directly connected to SAP. Readers will note the appearance of Solution Manager on this list, a skill I have been emphasizing in many of my own podcasts, and one which appears on my own hot SAP technical skills list.

Those readers who are see SAP as in an all-out war with Oracle and who "bleed blue" and not red will be encouraged to see only one Oracle skill on the above list. In addition, those who are tracking Business Intelligence trends will note that in addition to SAP BI/BW, there are four other data-related skills on the list, including Master Data Management.

Of course, it's not all good news when it comes to IT skills pay in this economy. Foote Partners' most recent IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index found, not surprisingly, the first overall decline since mid-2004. A good article from InfoWorld shared a couple of revealing quotes from David Foote. "It was inevitable for skills pay to start reflecting the hard times we're in," said Foote.

But there was one more piece of very interesting news to come out of this most recent report: Foote's team also discovered some significant skills "counter-trending," something which Foote himself had never seen before. Foote found what he described to InfoWorld as an "urgent" level of demand for the following skill areas:

Management/methodology process skills - up 5.6 percent
Database-related skills - up 2.9 percent
Messaging and communications skills - up 2.9 percent

In addition, architecture, security, and networking skills were also in this same "counter-trending" group.

Of course, given the continued high priority companies are placing on BI initiatives, the increase in database skills urgency was not a surprise. But what I found interesting about this countertrending skills list for readers is that all of them are relevant in an SAP context.

For example, management and methodology process skills are relevant to higher level SAP position as well as the emerging "SAP Business Process Expert" role. Process-driven ERP is the future, so we can see the importance of methodology know-how becoming more and more relevant to hands-on SAP folks as well as managers.

Messaging clearly ties into the increasing significance not just of NetWeaver PI but in terms of enterprise-level data integration in general. SAP Identity Management is obviously directly tied to overall IT security issues. In the SAP world, architecture relates to both NetWeaver know-how and SOA-based methodologies. Networking can be seen in a changing context as well, transforming Basis consultants into "NetWeaver Engineers."

So we can see how Foote's findings on counter-trending provide both validation and direction for SAP professionals who are determined to keep their skills relevant in a market that feels temporarily unforgiving. I look forward to sharing more insights from Foote Partners IT and SAP skills research with readers in the future.


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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."


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