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Use a financials background to find an area of current demand

Learn how to match your financial skills with a high demand job market in this expert tip from Jon Reed.

For the past 10 years I have been in the IT industry and I have been exposed to financial processes, etc. Prior to that, I was in the financial industry, where I was an accounts officer for 10 years.

Currently my role is more of IT analyst. I am planning to shift my career to SAP. But the question that comes to...

me is: should I go for FI/CO? I was advised that the market is already overwhelmed with SAP FI/CO resources and that it would be difficult to enter at this point of time as a fresher.

I am looking at my future SAP career while considering three things:

1. Start an SAP career where the market is moving (I was advised to do research on SAP CRM).
2. Build a career on top of my experience and be more productive.
3. Long-term sustainability.

What's your advice?

I think all your questions really fit into one answer: You want to pick a marketable area that allows you to find an area of current demand and also build a successful long-term career path. I think you are smart to think carefully about where to dive in before you start, and I like your thinking as far as bringing your previous experience to bear on SAP.

It's true that all things being equal, it's probably easier to break into CRM than FI/CO. But things are never truly equal, and in your case, I think your deep financials background plays better to financials-related SAP projects. Remember, CRM is not that easy to break into either. You still need some hands-on project experience to get your first break. If I were you, I'd apply for financials positions with companies implementing or running on SAP. Ideally, they will be about to embark on an upgrade or have plans to do that in the not-too-distant future.

It would also be helpful if the role you assume is tied to work with either the IT department or the SAP functional teams. This way, you can begin working your way towards an SAP role from the inside. The next alternative is to go get CRM training and see if you can get right on a CRM project with just the course training under your belt. That's a risky strategy that I don't see working as well for you, but if you have money to spend and an appetite for a bit of market risk, that would be the other option to consider. These days, however, most people break into SAP by getting pulled onto their company's project team during an upgrade cycle.

This was last published in March 2006

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