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With functional experience but no academic background is a job in MM possible?

With functional experience of two years in materials management, but no academic qualification in the field is it possible to get a job in MM? Career expert Jon Reed responds with meaningful advice.

I have functional experience of two years in materials management, but no academic qualification in the field. In this context I would like to know how long SAP would remain relevant for my career. In case it loses its relevance, will the experience in SAP count for job opportunities in MM?
I feel that SAP has at least a ten-year window where jobs will be challenging and fairly plentiful. However, there are no guarantees and I don't want to hear back from you a couple years from now complaining that I led you astray. The way you build a career is around functional areas of expertise -- from time to time, you may have to switch software programs, but you keep building on your underlying core skills either way. This gives your career continuity and protects you from downturns.

I do think that MM will eventually go away -- I doubt there will be any MM consultants ten years from now. It will...

mostly be SRM and supply chain consultants at that point, and the modules should change dramatically. But manufacturing and materials management is not going to go away, so what you need to do is to keep on the cutting edge and ride the next wave.

For example, have you thought about trying to incorporate RF and perhaps RFID into your skill set, along with some warehouse and inventory management skills? I always say that it's better to try to move ahead in SAP rather than chase it from behind. In the end, the best way to find out about your level of marketability is to put your resume out there. The more phone calls and inquiries you get, the more marketable you are. It's a simple test and a lot more accurate than any advice I could provide. Good luck.

This was last published in July 2005

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