Q

Should I go for SAP ABAP certification?

Read Jon Reed's advice on whether SAP ABAP certification is the right choice for someone with a degree in information technology.

Currently I hold a bachelor's degree in information technology. Should I get certified in SAP ABAP from Siemens Informations Systems LTD? Keep in mind that Siemens is very expensive and that holds a lot of weight in the final decision.

If you do not think I should pursue a career in ABAP, which technical field should I choose in SAP?

ABAP is not a bad area of technical fundamentals for you in SAP, but remember that the programming side of SAP generally has lower rates and a higher level of competition from project offshoring. You might find that getting a NetWeaver type of certification, or even a BW/BI certification, is ultimately more marketable. I don't know a lot about the Siemens SAP certification, but Siemens is very well respected in the SAP field so it might add some credibility to your resume. Having said that, I will tell you that I rarely encourage SAP certification for those who are tight on costs. I feel that in many ways, a better use of time is to focus on marketing your existing skills to customers running on SAP and break into SAP from the inside. Remember that SAP consulting is really not a certification driven market the way that some other software and hardware markets are.

Project experience is the key, and investing time in books and research into companies running SAP in your field could be a better option. I'm not saying don't get certified in SAP, just be realistic that it may not be the key to landing an SAP position. I think knowing how to make your current skills appealing to SAP customers and their IT departments may be more important. One good exercise is to review current SAP jobs on sites like SearchSAP.com and see what kinds of skills are required. See how often certification is listed as required or preferred, and what other skills are needed. This will not only give you a better idea of what skills are truly hot, it will also help you to see how important certification really is (or isn't). I think you'll be surprised at how few SAP jobs actually require certification in order to apply.

The key to breaking into SAP remains hard work, good overall technical and business skills, and savvy self-marketing. Certification can help too, but the other areas I just listed are more important in most cases.

 

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This was first published in July 2007

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