Q

After certification, don't limit yourself to jobs in SAP

Jon Reed offers some SAP consulting help to someone making a career switch and looking for jobs outside of SAP.

I have worked with MFG/pro for about six years and was a key member of the project team throughout the design and implementation stages to going live. I also used SAP -- mostly PP -- for another two years. My main job functions have been in manufacturing (production, inventory management, production planning etc.) with two world class firms in the FMCG sector and I have a first degree in mechanical engineering and an MSc in manufacturing systems.

I have the opportunity to be certified in SAP and I am thinking of a career change to SAP SCM planning, but since I started reading career advice on SearchSAP.com, I am beginning to think this might not be such a good idea.

What are the opportunities out there in SAP and how I can I get a foot in the door if I am prepared to work hard?

If you have a chance to get certified, it's probably worth doing. It's not clear to me if the costs for that come out of your pocket or not, but it sounds to me like you have the chance to get certified on someone else's dime, which is always worth doing. It does seem like SAP SCM is a good match with your skills. It's not the hottest area inside of SAP right now, so you may want to keep your options open. It's possible that there are other areas in SAP pertaining to logistics and warehouse/inventory management that are also worth exploring.

One thing I cannot tell from your question is whether your two years in PP are recent or not. This is a key question as it will impact your chances of breaking into SAP a lot. If your two years of PP experience are recent, and you have 4.6 experience, you have a decent chance. If, on the other hand, your PP experience came before your six years in MFG/pro, it's going to be a lot harder to make the switch back into SAP. The MFG/pro experience will help you a bit, but it's not going to be seen on the same level as SAP experience. In that case, I wouldn't say you have no chance of getting back into SAP, but it may be a big challenge, even after you're certified. It will take a lot of marketing, a willingness to travel, and you may also need to be open to full-time positions. You might remain open to other kinds of positions in this case, and not limit yourself to SAP. Oracle, for example, might be an option also.

In this kind of situation, you get your resume out there, interview as much as possible, try to generate more than offer, and take the best one. Whether it is SAP or Oracle or even a small business consulting position with Microsoft may not really matter -- as long as you try to align yourself with a market leader and find a position that will challenge you and relates well to your overall skill set.

This was first published in March 2006
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