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ABAP and Basis: outdated in the SAP job market?

I want to jump into SAP. People have recommended that I go into Basis administration but my interest lies in software. I want to pursue software but I do not have any prior experience, and moreover I do not have any past experience in Oracle database administration or Linux system integration. Which path should I adopt: ABAP programmer or Basis administrator?

I am a networking professional working as a technical support engineer in a multi-national corporation, with two years of experience in this field. I am into installation, configuration and providing technical support to clients buying products (router, print servers, wired and wireless lan cards, modems etc).

I want to jump into SAP. People have recommended that I go into Basis administration but my interest lies in software. I want to pursue software but I do not have any prior experience, and moreover I do not have any past experience in Oracle database administration or Linux system integration. Which path should I adopt: ABAP programmer or Basis administrator?

My second query: After reading all your forums, I see that certification is not necessary for experienced SAP Basis consultants. But what about me? Do I need to go for certification? I can't decide, since certification is very costly and I do not have any idea of its relevance in the SAP market.

I write about certification all the time in this column, so make sure to read through the rest of the archives. Bottom line: SAP certification is "nice to have," but is not the key to breaking into SAP. I caution against investing in certification unless (1) your employer is going to foot the bill, or (2) you have the money to afford it and are thinking about long-term career growth rather than finding an immediate job.

As far as Basis versus ABAP, that's easy, in the sense that Basis positions are much less likely to be outsourced than ABAP roles. That means higher rates and more job security. However, it's good to know that both ABAP and Basis are becoming a bit outdated in SAP terminology. Before you go too much further pursuing SAP, I would urge you to educate yourself in the NetWeaver platform and technologies.

This was last published in December 2005

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