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Is there a place in SAP for a FoxPro/Oracle programmer?

Last year, I was exposed to ABAP programming and data warehousing on Oracle. I am very comfortable with the latter. However, with only one hands-on project under my belt, I am not able to market myself to an IT company. I have good knowledge of SAP functionality for SD and one implementation experience. Do you think I have worked too little on too many things? I want to specialize in SAP I'm not sure where to go next.

I have been programming since I got out of high school. I was a FoxPro programmer and then moved to Oracle. After...

that, I worked with Java while studying for my master's degree in Computer Applications. I then joined a major Pharma in India as a legacy programmer (for a FoxPro based system.)

Last year, I was exposed to ABAP programming and data warehousing on Oracle. I am very comfortable with the latter. However, with only one hands-on project under my belt, I am not able to market myself to an IT company. I have good knowledge of SAP functionality for SD and one implementation experience. Do you think I have worked too little on too many things? I want to specialize in SAP I'm not sure where to go next.

Well, you've certainly been exposed to a wide range of skills over the years. As for your desire to focus your skills into a specific niche, I couldn't agree more. True IT consulting success means finding a marketable niche and maintaining that focus over multiple projects. Now, you are choosing between SAP and Data Warehousing. But you haven't really said what YOU want to do. I believe it's a mistake to choose an IT career path solely on the basis of perceived marketability. Reading through your background, it seems that you felt "very comfortable" in an Oracle/Data Warehousing setting, so that may be an area to consider seriously. On the SAP side, you mentioned SD functional, but then a bit of ABAP background as well. If you don't have a strong preference for one or the other, I think you have to take a look at the overall strengths of your background, and choose the areas of SAP that play to those strengths. It sounds to me like you have a lot of programming experience, so there is certainly an argument for pursuing a techno-functional SAP career path that includes the latest SAP web development tools. But in the end, this is all hypothetical, because you can only do what folks are willing to pay you for. So, unless you have two job offers in hand, one in data warehousing and one in SAP, you have set up a kind of "false choice." Once you have some actual job offers to consider, you'll have a much clearer idea of what your immediate options are. Of course, you can still look ahead to a long term skills transition, but the most effective skills transitions are gradual, starting with your next project. So, go out and find the most interesting projects you can, and then perhaps you can fit that project into the context of some long term career goals that will take you where you want to go.
This was last published in February 2004

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