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Dodging falling ABAP-consulting rates

Thanks for your valuable insights into the SAP market. I am a SAP-certified ABAP consultant who have worked in nearly all SAP modules except HR. I am looking to invest in BW training followed by SEM training. I plan to do this by taking time off from the current project. Is this the right way to proceed? ABAP rates for consultants are falling and I do not see much growth in that. Would the alternative be to get 4.7 training?

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I agree with you about ABAP rates falling. ABAP programming is not a very good place to be rate-wise at the moment. Certainly, adding BW and SEM skills can help you: BW has an "across the board" appeal, and SEM is one of the hottest mySAP products. SEM is also very tightly integrated with BW, so skills in BW lend themselves to skills in SEM. I cannot tell if you are trying to become a functional consultant or not. I'm not sure that now is a good time to try to become a full-fledged functional person. As tough as the technical market is right now, the "junior level" functional market is even worse. To answer your question about 4.7 exposure, sure, anyone who gets 4.7 exposure will be more marketable in the future. For an ABAP programmer, I think there are two keys to success : (1) expand your skills in web-based programming and application integration in order to keep pace with SAP and also acquire more non-proprietary skills; and (2) make it harder for companies to "outsource" you by becoming more than a back office programmer. Expand your technical skills to include more "soft" skills, such as business process knowledge, industry-specific know-how, and overall communication skills. If you combine my suggestions with your own, you should have a well-rounded strategy going forward.

This was first published in August 2003

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