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Springing from developer to managerial level

I have 8+ years experience in SAP ABAP development and I am currently looking for a position as a manager. I have been a team leader for several years. What is the best way to go about searching for a job? I have tried the website route(monster, careerbuilder, etc) and have not met with much success.
I have written pretty extensively on the topic of progressing into management from hands-on ABAP programming, so take a look through the SearchSAP.com archives of my answers for this column. It's hard to diagnose your problem based on the information you've given, because every situation is a little different.

But, here are a couple of ideas: it is possible that you are trying to "pole vault" from ABAP programmer to project...

manager instead of gradually working your way into a project management role. The gradual path is going to be more effective, and you get there by first working your way into hands-on team lead roles, and doing your best to excel as a leader of larger and larger teams. From there, you are in a better situation to pursue project management. Another thing to keep in mind is that it's a lot easier to get your first project management job from within your current employer than to find that first project management role for another employer. So, if you are an ABAP programmer applying for project management roles at other companies, they may be holding back because of your lack of management experience. So, if you can get yourself promoted within your current project and develop more of a track record on the leadership level, that might help you also.

Remember that the key to technical positions is *not* the amount of ABAP in your background, but a gradual path of increased project responsibility. There was a time where anyone with SAP on their resume could skip steps and land high level positions quickly, but in this competitive market, you have to work your way into such positions gradually. If you're totally stuck, you might want to even consider getting an MBA. This kind of business credential might open up some doors for you as you attempt to climb the project ladder.

This was last published in March 2005

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