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SAP Basis administrator vs. Oracle Apps DBA

I have been working as an Oracle DBA for the last 6 years and would like to get into the ERP arena as preferably either a SAP Basis administrator or an Oracle apps DBA. I am not sure which one would be the better move for an Oracle DBA. I am a certified Oracle DBA on versions 8i, 9i and 10g. I have some basic knowledge and understanding of architecture on both. Could you shed some light on things I need to get familiar with to break into SAP Basis administration, if I choose SAP? I have been researching to find which path is good for me without prevail. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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In all honesty, I like an Oracle Apps career path just a bit better for an Oracle DBA. It just makes sense. Oracle databases are especially compatible with the Oracle Apps architecture. On the SAP side, especially as we move more into the mid-market era, we see less emphasis on Oracle as the database of choice. SAP has been pushing IBM's DB2 database, and then you have Microsoft database options also.

Having said that, I think you could also be successful as an Oracle DBA on the SAP side. I think you should send your resume to both kinds of employers -- Oracle Apps shops and SAP shops -- and see who bites. Go with the software that has the most demand for your skills. Assuming that is SAP, I would suggest finding a fairly large SAP project. The reason for this is that larger SAP projects tend to have an Oracle DBA role that is separate, for the most part, from an overall Basis role. This would allow you to fit comfortably onto an SAP project team from day one, focused on your Oracle DBA work. As you get more familiar with the SAP environment, opportunities to shift into a Basis-focused role might well emerge (for example, you are the trusted Oracle DBA and a Basis support person takes a job across the country. So, you are hired internally to take over the Basis role and manage the new Oracle DBA). A lot of people get hung up on certification, but what I've just described is a more reliable way of getting into SAP because it leverages your current skills.

This was first published in July 2006

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