I am a finance student from India. I had two years' experience as a programmer and spent another two years as an freelance writer and the last four years in a finance firm. I have done SAP financials and have written my CISA exam. The results are expected in another week, and I expect to pass. Now I am not sure which option I should choose: CISA or SAP. I am waiting for a big break, and CISA would make my career. I would love to be part of management and decision making, and so I'm a bit inclined towards CISA. But I am still unable to make up my mind as to what I should choose. What option would you advise? Thank you.

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In the long term -- five years or more into your presence on the workforce -- it's the innate interest in what you work with that keeps you motivated, as well as able to learn and grow as both a person and a technical professional. That's why I always recommend that people follow their interests whenever possible, especially when it comes to finding a path into the workplace. My immediate instinct tells me you're considering SAP primarily because of the pay and opportunities, but that your real interest and passion go into the information systems audit direction. Luckily for you, though entry-level jobs aren't as readily available or high-paying in infosys audit positions as they are for SAP R/3, there are still plenty of them to go around and they offer lots of opportunities for personal development and growth.

I say: Follow your interests, and go with what interests you most. It'll keep you feeling good about going to work in the morning long after the size of your paycheck or your last raise really ceases to matter.

Thanks for writing,
--Ed--

This was first published in September 2004

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