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Long-term SAP career prospects

I was trained in SAP-SD module 4 years ago. Since the market was not good that time, I shifted my career to Web...

technologies -- Java, Broadvision, and Bowstreet. Now I would like to take a plunge into SAP once again. Would this be a right move? What are the long-term prospects for SAP as a career? Well, if you've been following SAP's technical evolution, you know that Java and web-related skills are more and more relevant in the SAP technical world. And the good new about these kinds of skills is that they are less proprietary. In other words, if you compare the future prospects of an ABAP programmer and an SAP Java programmer, one major difference is that the SAP Java and web programmer has skills that are more relevant outside of SAP environments. What this does is make your question about the long-term prospects in SAP less relevant. As long as a decent portion of your skills are not proprietary, then the future of SAP is not the concern to you that it is to an ABAP or Basis person. And I have said before that if you add ERP into your web toolkit, you should be able to raise your rate by at least $10 an hour, if not more, because there is a big difference between programming your friend's web site and working on an enterprise-level project such as those for major ERP systems. So my feeling is that whenever you combine Java/XML skills with ERP, you will upgrade your skills and rates.

In terms of your basic question about SAP's long-term prospects, I do feel confident in the 5 to 10 year window for SAP as a career. Beyond that, it's hard to say what will happen. But SAP is entrenched in the IT environments of the largest companies in the world, and seems to be having a decent amount of success helping these companies to move forward in the Internet age with much less competition from the hotshot vendors like i2 that made SAP nervous in the late 90s. In terms of getting back into SAP again, my classic advice still applies.

This was last published in April 2004

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