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.NET developer to SAP financial consultant is a three-step process

Breaking down your career change into three steps can help you achieve your goals, Jon Reed advises a .NET developer moving into financials.

Dear Jon,

I am presently a .NET software developer working for an electrical utility company with approximately two years...

of experience. I currently hold two masters degrees (a masters in computer applications and a masters in computer science). I also hold an undergraduate degree in commerce (major in finance, management accounting).

I have been considering a career change to SAP Financials, primarily because my passion is finance and would like to use my IT skills to work within the field of finance. My goal is also to move away from development and move into a consulting role (BA/PM role).

Could you please advise me on how I could pursue this path?

I often advise people to break down their career goals into more than one job change. In your case, you want to shift from a .NET software developer to an SAP functional consultant. That is a tough jump to make because it's really three career moves at once: first, from technical non-SAP to SAP, then from technical SAP to functional SAP, then from functional SAP to functional SAP consulting. Any one of these moves is significant. If you have trouble making the full jump in one job change, consider breaking them down into three moves.

In that case, your first move would simply be to go from .NET technical to SAP technical. How would you do that? By finding a full-time technical development role with a company that is implementing SAP and using .NET as their development environment. That's not the easiest thing to pull off, because there aren't that many .NET SAP shops, but there are some, and there will be more. So I'd pursue that first, because that is the SAP role where you would have the most to offer from day one -- an important consideration to employers.

From within that SAP shop, you could then focus on transitioning over time into a more functional role. Once you have some significant functional SAP skills under your belt, you could then look at making the jump to SAP consulting. I realize the path I have outlined is more time-consuming than a quick jump from where you are now to where you ultimately want to be, so I'd try to skip the steps I recommended and see if you can hit a home run with your first job switch. But if you can't pull it off right away, then break down the steps as I suggested and see how that goes. My recommended tactics are not foolproof, but they do represent the best of what I've seen from consultants in the market.

This was last published in March 2006

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