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After 15 years, is it too late to switch to the functional side of SAP?

Learn Jon Reed's advice for a reader with 15 years of SAP experience who is looking to switch to the functional side.

I have 15 years of IT experience. Out of the 15 years, six years were in-house, and nine years were in SAP Basis consulting. My last job was as a senior IT manager leading the ABAP/Basis/Infra teams for two years.

I am currently looking for a new job, but my Basis skills are bit rusty compared to my NetWeaver skills, and most...

management positions in the Asia-Pacific region require a functional background. So I can't find myself a position in SAP arena.

In other words, I am too old to go back as a Basis administrator or consultant, and I can't move foward in management without any functional background. Should I go functional? Would it be a bit late for me to go functional now?

I don't know that it's ever "too late" to switch to functional if you are determined. I know many independent Basis consultants who have no age issues, so you should be able to continue with that path. I think it depends more on your interests than anything else.

On the other hand, if you decide to remain a Basis person, you do want to try to get into NetWeaver. For example, you might be able to find a company doing an upgrade and you can "upgrade" your skills along with it. It sounds to me like you want to get into management more than anything. Have you considered a master's degree? In my mind, if I'm trying to break into a higher-level management role, a master's degree is more helpful than some hands-on SAP skills, whether they are functional or not. You might be able to get into management faster pursuing the technical management side via technical team lead and technical project management roles. I don't know the Asian-Pacific market all that well, but it sounds like there may be more options out there than you might think offhand.

This was last published in December 2005

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