I am a regular reader of your column and you are doing a great job. I have been working in SAP for the last five years. Initially I started my career in ABAP and after 1 year moved to Basis; I also have functional experience in MM/PP. I have been a team member in the implementation cycle, I have four years of experience in Basis and I am also an Oracle-certified professional, but I'm not an expert and there are quite a few areas I am not familiar with or have not worked in like upgrading OS/DB migration projects etc. I am currently getting interested in BW & APO, as I have little knowledge in these areas. My question is, is there any need to take the certification on SAP Basis so I can prove myself in the outside market? Also, please let me know in what areas I need to improve my knowledge so that I meet the industry requirement.
I am always a sucker for regular readers, especially those who can give me a thoughtful overview of their skills and dilemmas like yourself. In terms of Basis certification, I recommend looking at actual jobs in the SearchSAP.com
. I think you will find that very few of the Basis positions require Basis certification. My experience, in general, is that 1% of SAP jobs require certifications, and about 10% consider it "nice to have." At best, certification is a tie-breaker between two equally qualified applicants. On the other hand, the training and knowledge you acquire in the process of getting certified can really help you get a foothold on new technologies, and that can get you closer to the hands-on project work you are seeking. That is why it makes sense to seek certifications *not* in areas you already have skills in (like Basis), but in related areas you want to move into. Therefore, I recommend obtaining some type of BW or APO certifications, as that is what you are really interested in now. Choosing between the two, I think you have to go with BW. APO is only appealing to certain companies in certain industries, whereas BW is fully integrated into many different SAP applications. I'd get the BW skills next, and then look to build a niche on top of that, which could be BW-APO, BW-SEM, or BW/NetWeaver, etc.