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Will NetWeaver or WAS certification help advance career?

I've been working as an SAP Jr. Basis Administrator for nearly two years. The only training I have is on the job. My supervisor is one of those people who tries extra hard NOT to share information. She likes knowing more than everyone else. My pay is moderate, about the pay of a Help Desk associate. Next year, we are upgrading to Enterprise and I have been told that I will only maintain the old system.

Do you think I should go for WAS or NetWeaver certification on my own? There is no guarantee they will take advantage of my new certifications and I will have to pay for them myself.

Well, if you have read my column in the past you know that I "straddle the fence" a bit on certification. That's because I don't think certification offers as much "instant gratification" as some people seem to think, in terms of immediate project opportunities. On the other hand, in the long run, a consistent investment in certification and training will expand your knowledge base and give you access to more opportunities and situations than other consultants. But in your case, it sounds to me like you have a bit of a tough work situation on your hands. If you already know that you won't be able to get onto the Enterprise project, I would be surprised if the certifications would be enough. It seems like you are enmeshed in some politics that will be too rigid to provide a breakthrough for you. One thing you could try is to put aside your frustration, and tell your supervisor you really want to be on the Enterprise project, and that you are willing to finance your own certifications, and see what she says. Obviously this is not an easy thing to ask, but it would give you a real gut check as to where you stand going forward in this company. If you find out that you still won't be able to get a more cutting edge role on the project, you might want to start looking around for new work situations. It seems to me that the combination of a difficult supervisor and poor technology exposure is something for you to get away from if at all possible. One of the two is bad enough - both of them together is a lot to take on. I do agree that you need to think seriously about getting some of the latest technical SAP skills. One of the best ways to keep yourself busy on projects and reduce the risk of being outsourced is to have technical know-how that has not become "mainstream" yet. Good luck with your situation, and remember that with a bit of determination, you should be able to find yourself in a more rewarding work environment.
This was last published in February 2004

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