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Can I land a SAP job by demonstrating knowledge?

I have gone through some books and understand that given an access to ides system, I can learn SAP areas fairly quickly. Does it help to gain knowledge using ides systems and does one get the chance to demonstrate knowledge (and land a job) of SAP without showing either a certification or real time experience? Would companies be willing to call candidates without listed experience?

I have about 10 years experience in managing own non-IT small business. I also have run a startup Internet company including running portals. In technical IT I obtained CISA last year. All this has given me "a little bit of this and little bit of that" experience and knowledge. Lately I have been bit by SAP bug and wish to make a career out of it. I have gone through some books and understand that given an access to ides system, I can learn SAP areas fairly quickly. Does it help to gain knowledge using ides systems and does one get the chance to demonstrate knowledge (and land a job) of SAP without showing either a certification or real time experience? Would companies be willing to call candidates without listed experience?
I field questions about breaking into SAP with regularity in this column - please note that there are detailed answers on this topic in the FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions). The direct link to that FAQ is http://searchsap.stage.techtarget.com/ateExperts/0,289622,sid21,00.html. To address your specific question, yes, you must have deep project experience to break into SAP right now. And no, certification is not enough. What concerns me about your background is the "little bit of this, little bit of that" description. While that kind of background is great for some types of consulting - not to mention working for startup companies where many hats are needed - it's not the best background for SAP. Success in SAP really requires focused expertise, built on a background of core skills. Certainly, your commitment to learning as much as you can about SAP will help, but I have to question whether you should try to "make a career" out of SAP at this point. I would recommend a more cautious approach - try testing the waters, not just in SAP, but in other related software areas. Even competitors like PeopleSoft or Oracle might be interesting for you. Go where your employer's opportunities are, and pursue the projects that will offer the best learning opportunities. With your background in portals, you may be able to find a niche with some kind of portals product - whether it's with SAP Portals or a competing product will depend less on the certifications you get, and more on the types of job openings that are offered to you.
This was last published in June 2003

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