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Is SAP XI a hot career area for consulting yet?

In this expert tip, career expert Jon Reed discusses the future career outlook for SAP XI consultants.

I have more than 20 years of experience in full life cycle development of software solutions in client/server environments, usually on the AS/400 platform. I also have extensive data modeling skills and have worked in data warehouse projects. I have been a consultant since 1992 working for companies like IBM and Synon.

I am ready for a career change and would like to break into SAP as a certified consultant in the NetWeaver area. I already bought a SAP XI book and I am going to pursue the development courses to become certifed as a SAP development consultant for XI.

I understand that this is more architecture than development. But I want to move away from development. So my question: Is NetWeaver or XI in high demand?

Hopefully you are clear that XI is a part of NetWeaver, which is the "umbrella" term for SAP's new technical architecture. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't pursue a development/architecture role in XI. XI is not in high demand yet, but as more and more companies upgrade to NetWeaver-based releases in the coming years, you can expect the demand in XI to rise accordingly. XI is the integration hub within NetWeaver, so you can't have NetWeaver without XI. And within three years, virtually all SAP customers will be on some version of NetWeaver. That sounds like a pretty decent market opportunity to me.

Of course, in the short term, you may have some trouble breaking in. It may be that the development side would generate more work for you in the short term. I would stay open-minded and try to find the area that fits best with your skills. With your data warehousing background, you might want to consider BW (now a part of BI) opportunities as well.

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