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Follow the configuration experience

SAP configuration experience is crucial to the SAP professional skill set. Expert Jon Reed guides a transitioning SAP professional towards decisions for a healthy SAP career.

My company is going through reorganization, so I will be leaving the company in couple months. I want to become a SAP consultant. Right now I work as the first line for user support to the Logistics group on SAP SD/MM and i2. My job entails maintaining master data, trouble-shooting operation issues and providing business solutions. I don't get involved with the SAP system structure, configuration, mass updates or upgrades. The company has the SAP consultants doing all that as the second line for support.

I have ten years experience in accouting/finance and three years experience in master data and data migration for financial objects in SAP implementation projects. I've been in my current position for four years. If I stay in the U.S. to get the education and become certified, given my background and the future outlook of SAP, which area would you suggest; FI/CO, SCM or CRM?

There might be some SAP consultant job opportunities within the company's offshore offices, but typically the salary is less than half of what I'm making now. Would it be better to take the overseas job, gain the experience for the next two to three years then come back to the U.S. to become an SAP consultant? Or should I take classes in the U.S. and become certified then hope to land a job that works with structure and configuration?

I'm reluctant to advise you to take a job that involves heavy overseas travel and cuts your pay in half. However, I do think that when you can, getting configuration skills with your current employer is a better option than just getting trained in the U.S. and trying to break into the field. Yes, you could get a lucky break in the U.S., but you could also find yourself locked out of the SAP field because you don't have the deep configuration experience.

One thing I can say with certainty -- and there are others in your situation -- is that it's not good for your marketability to be doing everything BUT the configuration. When you are not allowed to configure the system, you are missing out on a crucial piece of SAP implementation know-how. Whatever you do, if you decide to stay in SAP, you do want to find a way to get configuration experience one way or the other.

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