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Where to start when switching to SAP via NetWeaver

I have been working with a telecom company for three years, but my knowledge on telecom is diminutive, as I have been mostly involved with an application tool that renders documents. As such, the tools didn't involve any development, just maintenance. So I thought I should change my profile. I have some knowledge in Java and am preparing for my SCJP certification. I am planning to switch my company profile to the J2EE platform as it's hot right now. I am thinking of switching to SAP, but since my experience with SAP is null, I am little bit reluctant. Will NetWeaver be my answer, as it also involves Java, J2EE and SAP? Will it be easy for me to switch to SAP NetWeaver? Are there any certifications especially for this? Will some basic training on SAP NetWeaver be enough to switch to this?

I have been working with a telecom company for three years, but my knowledge on telecom is diminutive, as I have been mostly involved with an application tool that renders documents. As such, the tools didn't involve any development, just maintenance. So I thought I should change my profile. I have some knowledge in Java and am preparing for my SCJP certification. I am planning to switch my company profile to the J2EE platform as it's hot right now. I am thinking of switching to SAP, but since my experience with SAP is null, I am little bit reluctant. Will NetWeaver be my answer, as it also involves Java, J2EE and SAP? Will it be easy for me to switch to SAP NetWeaver? Are there any certifications especially for this? Will some basic training on SAP NetWeaver be enough to switch to this?

My ultimate aim is to stay in a European country or the U.S. I am in Asia now. I think I can achieve this with...

SAP NetWeaver.

I like this question because it really shows a good handle on SAP's new releases and NetWeaver technology. So many people who write me about breaking into SAP don't know much about the new suites, despite the fact that there is a huge amount of helpful information on NetWeaver on the TechTarget sites and many other places.

At any rate, I like your thinking about trying to use your Java/J2EE skills in an SAP environment. There are a couple of good reasons.

  1. I think you will find that work challenging and interesting -- enterprise-wide systems bring you more into the realm of techno-functional thinking and solving business problems.

  2. If you can tie your Java skills into a "mission critical," high transaction system like SAP, your Java skills will be worth more. I would estimate there is a $25 an hour premium if your Java skills are within an SAP environment. The challenge is breaking in.
I don't think NetWeaver training will be enough to get you in, though it would be good to take the training if you can (see my blog for more on the value of training in perspective). I would recommend applying to companies running on SAP that can use your current skills. Don't even worry if your immediate role isn't too SAP-specific. Just do your best to get on the technical team and hopefully you'll get pulled into the action. Just remember to apply to companies running on 5.0 or in the process of upgrading and using the NetWeaver components seriously. There are still a lot of 4.6C shops out there where you can't get NetWeaver exposure on the technical side. I agree that you should be able to do this in either Europe or the U.S. Good luck!
This was last published in May 2006

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