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I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your support, advice, guidance & good wishes by giving very good response to the blog namely DOs & DON’Ts for SAP Career (Certification) on the basis of my on going journey from an Accountant to SAP FI Consultant.

Special thanks to Sir Ravi Sankar Venna – my inspiration & Sir Jarret Pazahanick for giving coverage to the blog even beyond horizon.

Further to the blog and all its comment thread I was forced to analyze the root cause of almost all the problems discussed.

Let’s take collective efforts in defining and diagnosing the root cause!!!!!

  • Is Job assurance and its non compliance a problem?

No it is not the heart of the problem as I don’t say that authorized training centers do not take any efforts in providing placement, they do, even they are worried about their own reputation, In spite of all their efforts they are unable to provide placement to new comers / fresher.

  • Is it economical problem? There are no jobs in the market at all?

No, I do not see it as economical problem. If we go through any job portals we see enough employment opportunities. Employers are even willing to pay satisfactorily.  But this is not the case with fresher as no employer is ready to bank on candidate who has just taken training from institutes and has entered into the market. That is the reason why only fresher are expected to pay to work or to work for free.

  • Is employer’s attitude or long term bond a problem?

No, an employer who is investing in an employee he does so, only with profit motive in long term, therefore I say that he must be rewarded for it by the employee by serving him at least for some definite period. If long term bond is transparent enough and carry two way clauses without having hidden intentions of fraud or exploitation; it is not a problem at all. And even if it is a problem, why this problem is faced only by fresher? Therefore I don’t see this problem as core problem.

  • Is limitation of individual candidate a problem?

No, this is not individual specific problem; this is common problem with all the new comers / fresher in this field.

  • Is an unauthorized training center a problem?

No, I don’t see it as major problem as, piracy is a universal problem and I say that competition has always proved batter in economy than that of monopoly or duopoly especially from consumer / customer’s point of view. Business man may not think so. I believe that education should not be treated as a business.

  • Resigning from existing Job a problem?

No, if one is confident enough and passionate he may do so and jump. Sailing on multiple boats simultaneously also has got its own risk & dis-advantages.

  • Is cost a problem?

No, nothing is free and market automatically finds the point of equilibrium.

  • Is knowledge sharing a problem?

No, help.sap.com, service market place, other valuable materials available and on top SCN bridges the entire gap, Thanks to all the Gurus, Mentors & Volunteers who are helping others by sharing their knowledge & experience.

Than where does actual problem lie???

As I see, the core problem, heart of the problem, principal office and womb of almost all the problem, lies in training system.

  • The training is not conducted as an educational activity rather it sounds like a business. Please refer to the blog “My experiences with SAP Authorized Training Centers” by Sir Ravi Sankar Venna
  • There is no point of interaction between market demand and the training course that is the reason why no employer is ready to employ new comers / fresher.
  • It is not developing a candidate enough so that they can enter into the open market independently that is the reason why fresher need to pay to work or to work for free.
  • It is only theory base training. Practicals are not given any weight age.
  • It does not give confidence to the candidate for survival in competition.
  • It gives a certificate which is like a Commodity otherwise why should even an experienced consultant opt for a certification even after working for many years on SAP platform? Is it adding any knowledge? No it just an addition to an A4 size paper in their career folder which can be encashed in open market.
  • It is not delivering quality education. Please refer to the following message by Mr. Marssel Vilaça on the above referred blog DOs & DONTs…

Marssel Vilaça Aug 14, 2012 3:27 PM (in response to Ravi Sankar Venna)  


Ravi,


What you think about SAP Academy training quality?

I was SAP trainer for over 5 years in unofficials SAP Training Company and I can tell you it isn´t ilegal. It just aren’t allowed to conceed certification test.


They overcome the very weak didactic of official courses. A power point datashow didatic to be specific. For example my education program is a short implementation through ASAP Methodology with focus in localization. So Many students from SAP Academy have done this trainnig because is a very pratical directioned.


I do not want to encourage people to look for unofficial courses, because I myself have seen plenty wrong. But if you know courses with good references  it could be a good idea for low cost and more practical training. The risk and investment are lower. Afterward you can do a SAP Academy if you are sure of you want this.


The best scenario is the improvement of SAP official Academy and reviewing of its educational content and Powerpoint classes to get better. The Clients needs real consultants preparation to invest.  The One new SAP academic doesn’t fit into any project demand. They only be left a shadow by one or two years after starting into the market and the salary is too much low.


Regards

 


On the basis of my ongoing journey and above thoughts I am of the opinion that Improving quality of the certification training course is the only way out.

My recommendations in this direction

  • Bring awareness to the candidates that the course objective is not just to have a certificate but to gain knowledge and experience which otherwise will take many years to gain the same level of knowledge and experience in open market or through unauthorized training centers.
  • To focus on proper execution of education program including case studies and dummy project.
  • To provide solution to dummy project along with all important documents sample like business process document, business blue print, configuration guide etc. as a part of course material.
  • To incorporate a live project experience into the curriculum so that on the basis of dummy project candidate can also have a look at live scenario and by the time they enter into the market they are seasoned and Job is waiting for the candidate and not the other way round.
  • Make the course 100% practical oriented / market demand oriented so that market / employers can welcome all the new comers with open arms.
  • Candidate should NOT be allowed to / able to abscond practicals, else – No certificate.

Please add your valuable experience and looking forward to have your views, input and recommendation towards conclusion & perfect solution that can help new generation.

Regards

Chirag Shah

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13 Comments

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  1. Marilyn Pratt

    Love it that you are continuing the passionate conversation.

    Yet I find myself puzzled by your seemingly contradictory statements (back to back)

    “I believe that education should not be treated as a business.”

    nothing is free and market automatically finds the point of equilibrium

    Obviously education is a line of business for SAP.  You yourself claim that “nothing is free”.  I believe in easy access to knowledge.  Should that have a price? Provocative question (purposely).

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    1. Chirag Shah Post author

      Dear Ms. Marilyn,

      Not only with SAP but every where in world education has became a business and it goes without saying “with profit motive”. Day by day education is becoming costly affair. Common man can not afford to have or provide education to their next generation. I guess this was not the case when we were studying. Those days education was considered to be a noble profession.

      How will you feel if because of un affordability of medical treatment expenses if a patient dies? Same way just because of non affordability of educational expenses many talented people can not develop their god gifted qualities and it dies.

      As per the data available on internet SAP’s contribution to the total ERP market is 32% and of course SAP must be trying to move towards 100%

      This can only be done with the help of educated personnel and Human capital assets.

      I think my message is not conveyed properly in the blog.

      I don’t say providing education for free, of course it attracts some cost and the same should be recovered from candidates but either without profit or with nominal profit. This will give a bunch of highly talented consultants to SAP with the help of whom SAP can move towards its target in ERP business. That is the area of business and where point of equilibrium comes into picture and not in education.

      I understand that capturing market share in case of ERP business should be the business aim and not educating people. I hope it should be continued as noble profession only.

      Think of a situation where there are no SAP consultants available for further development of ERP business, what SAP would do?

      Also think from candidate’s point of view, what will happen if even after spending enormous amount on education if he fails, he will sunk, and that is what happening with many candidates these days.

      I hope my thoughts are conveyed in this message if not in blog.

      Regards

      Chirag Shah

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  2. Thomas Dulaney

    Chirag,

    I respectfully disagree. The problem is one of expectation. Recent college graduate (and sometimes mid-career switchers) expect to be able to get a job working on a support team for an SAP system or as an SAP consultant, and that’s not a valid expectation.

    SAP systems form the life blood of any company in which they are implemented. Companies are rightly protective of their SAP system and seek the best quality employees to support/implement that system. This means that they are, in general, not going to want fresh college graduates anywhere near the system. They want employees with long track records of success and previous hands-on SAP experience. Certification is often viewed by hiring managers as verification that the applicant’s hands on experience was not too limited to be of value and that the applicant has a grasp on the broad base of their area of expertise.

    SAP certification is neither necessary nor sufficient to get a job in SAP support or as an SAP consultant. SAP certification is, however, a significant differentiator between two candidates with equal hands-on experience, so it does play a valid and useful part in the mid-career of folks pursuing a career in SAP. (Note to future commenters: Please do not quote the first sentence out of context. Both sentences are required to make my point. Feel free to disagree/debate the issue, but you should include both sides of the coin in the discussion.)

    This immediately leads to the question: “I can’t get hired without experience, but I can’t get experience without getting hired. How can I break this trap?”

    The answer there is that customers will promote hard working individuals in related areas into the SAP support organization after they have proven that they are effective employees and understand the business. This is, by far, the largest source of new talent into the SAP universe. I include in this employees who get included into SAP implementation projects when a company first implements SAP which is a significant component of this stream but requires you to be at the right place at the right time and is therefore not a factor for someone who is consciously trying to break into SAP.

    So most recent college graduates should be looking for starter positions at companies as SAP end users, not trying to break directly into SAP configuration on the SAP support team or as an SAP consultant.

    I’ve read your previous article, DOs & DON’Ts for SAP Career (Certification) on the basis of my on going journey from an Accountant to SAP FI Consultant., and you have my extreme sympathy for your situation, but I think it illustrate my point as well. You have a wealth of experience in Financials, but you have no hands-on experience with SAP outside of a training class, if I read your article correctly. So to an employer, it is safer for them to hire someone with similar FI experience with a history of hands-on experience with SAP, even if it’s just as an end user.

    This is why my primary advice to all recent graduates and potential mid-career changers is to use the experience they have to get a job, any job at a company who is already running SAP. Once hired, I tell them to keep their eye on the goal and to get as involved as they can in the change management process. That is, they should evaluate the system and look for gaps, then request that the gap be filled through the company’s change management process. When the change is approved, they’ll be able to work with the support team and specify the requirements for the change as well as test the change. With sustained interest, they should be able to prove that they understand the system and how it can be improved and move into the support group. Alternatively, they can use their experience with the change management process to get a job on the support team at another company because now they have a track record to show of hands on use (albeit as an end user) but also a track record of how they’ve helped improve the system even though it was not their primary job function. That demonstrated passion can go a long way. With SAP certification, it goes even further.

    I recommend against, in the strongest possible terms, quiting an job at which the person is currently employed in order to pursue SAP training and certification. This path is fraught with high costs, high unemployment, and very low success.

    Yes, the training and certification itself can be improved. Training should always evolve to meet the current market needs. But in the end, 25 days of training and a test will never be enough, on its own, to convince any employer to hire anyone. It is only in combination with work experience that someone who missed the initial recruitment into the SAP world will be successful.

    I mentioned “someone who missed the initial recruitment”. There is an alternate method for folks to get started in SAP, and that is to be recruited prior to graduating from their undergraduate or MBA program. Some companies specifically seek students to hire upon graduation. It’s part of their business model. This is primarily the large consulting firms, but there are others. The thing you need to know is that this track is valid for only a small percentage of the overall entries into SAP careers every year. And if you are not recruited while still in school, then that path is generally closed to you and the longer, more tried and true path down which the majority of folks in the SAP universe travel is the one that remains.

    I agree with most of your other points and truely value your contribution to this forum. Thank you for sharing your story and continuing to push for improvements in the SAP world.

    Best regards,

      –Tom

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    1. Chirag Shah Post author

      Dear Mr. Tom,

      I very much thank you for your guidance as how to break the trap.

      I agree with you on a point to break the journey and start working with a company where SAP is installed.

      I myself have started taking initiative in that direction to break my journey and I am looking for an Account, Finance, Management or Taxation related Job in a company where SAP is installed.

      But I am still afraid as I have seen many cases where more than 8 years of end user experience was not taken into consideration for SAP consultant’s JOB.

      Expectation is definitely a root cause for almost all the problems in life and not only in SAP career. If we deduct expectation from life then there will not be any journey itself and discussion will get closed but our area of discussion starts once the Journey starts.

      I agree with your point that SAP certification is neither necessary nor sufficient to get a job in SAP support or as an SAP consultant, but our entire discussion is based on SAP Certification itself.

      Very well said & I absolutely agree with you that “This path is fraught with high costs, high unemployment, and very low success.” This sentence can be used as a one line definition for SAP Career.

      My efforts are towards defining the root cause, as unless and until a disease is diagnosed it can not be cured. I agree that some diseases may not curable but still we can not drop hopes and can not stop fighting against it.

      Thanks once again for all your guidance & appreciation.

      Regards

      Chirag

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      1. Thomas Dulaney

        Let me be clear on what I mean by end user experience. Again, being an end user and just doing the transactions day to day will not help you break into the support side. Every company with SAP has a change management process.

        Gaps are identified, often by end users. (e.g. I need a report that does this or we have to use a spreadsheet at this step, it would be better if SAP did the calculation automatically or I have to log on to a completely different system to get information to do step XYZ, can SAP interface with that system to fill the field automatically?)

        Once gaps are identified, a request is made to fix the problem. A change board examines the request and decides if it really needs to be done and if it does, what priority it has.

        Once approved, generally the person who identified the gap is assigned to work with the support team to provide requirements, describe what success and failure looks like, and to test the fix provided by the support team.

        You need to be that user, the one who identifies gaps and volunteers to help fix them. The end user who comes in to work every day, punches the clock in the morning, does the same transaction all day without thought, then punches out at the end of the day, is not an attractive applicant for an SAP support job. You have to be able to tell the story of how your efforts have identified and eliminated inefficiency. Both types of end users exist at every company as well as many who fall in between on the spectrum, but it is the fixer, identifier, streamliner who has a shot at a career on the other side of the wall doing SAP support/implementations.

        I hope that clarifies things a bit about what I was proposing as a general course of action.  Please see How did you get your start in SAP? for stories from folks about how they started their SAP career. I am in the process of extracting the data from that stream and will present an analysis in a week or so.

        Best regards,

          –Tom

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  3. Narendra Konnipati

    when i was reading  this blog ,i realized how to get a success in any where with more confidence .May be this blog woke up so many people into their dreams.

    Many thanks for sharing your opinions with experience .

    Thanks,

    Naren

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  4. Marssel Vilaça

    Hi Chirag.

    I had read this blog, but I’ve been quite busy and traveling a lot on last few days and could not able to participate. Thanks for mention my comment and I hope it helped.

    Indeed it’s very difficult to joint the SAP Consultant market because the hight level of demand and the very hifgh expectations. This is easily realized when we talk about costs of SAP tools. However I believe that there are projects for all Consultant levels and it’s perfectly possible to join and grow. The big problem for freshers is undoubtedly the first opportunity and you must be in a region with many big companies and projects.

    A fresh out of Academy can be very useful. You can create documentation and manuals. Can be helpdesk tracking under a more experienced professional support. After getting a good base you can go far.

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  5. Nagaraj V

    Hi Chirag,

    This is really good move and i appreciate your interest for helping the freshers

    Regards,

    Nagaraj V

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  6. Suseelan Hari

    Hi Chirag,

    Some of the points that you have mentioned in the blog is very useful for freshers and new comers. Your blogs are very expressive and informative. I request you to post many blogs for freshers and it will be very useful. Please dont stop blogging in SCN. This community is great platform to brush up & reach our knowledge and career destination.

    Regards,

    Hari Suseelan

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  7. Rajesh Chary

    Hi Chirag,

    It is out of the ordinary blogs 😎 . SCN is a place of views, experiences, ideas & solutions. It is common that viewpoint of every individual is different but ur analysis will be helping new comers & SAP fresher’s.

    Keep going

    Regards,

    Rajesh Chary

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