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Experienced System Architect weighing SAP technical/functional careers

Should an experienced SUN System Architect pursue the technical or functional side of SAP consulting, if the goal is to move into management in the future?

I am exploring ways to enter the SAP field and I would appreciate your suggestions in choosing between technical and functional areas of SAP.

I'm a computer engineering graduate with 10 years of experience in software development working as a Systems Architect (a SUN Certified Architect) and I'm also currently pursuing an MBA with finance management major, having long-term plan to move out of the technical line and into management.

I am bit confused whether to pick technical aspects of SAP or the functional area. I learned finance only as part of my MBA with some simulation exposure. I have no actual real-life experience.

I appreciate if you could throw some light in making choice between SAP technical or functional consulting. Which would would be better in regards to growth prospects and also better rates?

I don't think there's any question that the functional side of SAP, overall, commands better rates. In addition, it seems that functional consultant is not as vulnerable to offshoring trends. So if you're picking solely on the basis of what is more marketable, I would go functional. However, as the NetWeaver and Enterprise SOA era comes into focus, there are going to be some tremendous technical opportunities in SAP also. Therefore, it's important to follow your passions and not assume that all the good positions are on one side of SAP or the other. In the long run, all SAP consultants, technical and functional, are going to have to combine their niche focus with broader business process and industry know-how to be successful in the age of eSOA that is heading towards us now. One thing I do like to remind folks is not to be too close-minded towards one career option or the other - especially when you are just starting out. It's good to have a long term plan, but in the short term, "go where the opportunities are" is often the best philosophy.

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