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Training for a career change

I am an ABAP programmer with 6 years of experience programming in SD, MM and FI modules extensively. I am desperately looking for a career change and I am confused as to how and what I need to do. I was thinking of taking up some trainings/certification in new technologies like Web Application Server, NetWeaver, etc., I don't know if that will help. What do you suggest for me?
I'm not sure why you're looking for a career change, but I'm assuming that it's because you've been having difficulty finding work using your core ABAP skills. I think it's good that you're looking into the "next generation" SAP technologies like NetWeaver, and it's something I think all ABAP programmers should do. However, I view that less as a dramatic career change and more as a skills enhancement. You would still be an SAP developer, but you'd have some additional cutting edge skills that a lot of folks don't yet have. You'll note that I answer ABAP questions frequently in this column, so there's a lot to read if you are rethinking your ABAP focus. Overall, you're taking the right approach. Of course, there is no guarantee whether your efforts to expand your skills will pay off or not. I can tell you that the SAP programmers who seem to be the most in demand right now are typically some kind of ABAP/Java hybrid, well versed in SAP web development as well as core ABAP. Whether that means you will find a niche there remains to be seen. I think you are someone who would also benefit from some time scrolling through different kinds of SAP jobs in the "Careers" section of this site. Look at the different rates being offered and the how they correspond with different technical skills. And take a good luck at how the best jobs match up with your current skills. Identify the gaps, and push to fill them. Unfortunately, in the modern "free agent" workforce, there are no guarantees and there's no sure fire path to success I can offer you. But, I can tell you that the consultants I know who are staying marketable have these skills in common: a thirst for cutting edge SAP technology, a commitment to training and self-education, and a "whatever it takes" mentality towards gaining the needed project experience. Whether it means working seventy-hour weeks, traveling internationally, or compromising severely on rate, the most marketable consultants are prepared to make those sacrifices sometimes in order to stay ahead. Good luck.
This was last published in July 2004

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