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I have many people reach out to me weekly asking for tips on how to break into SAP industry so I thought I would provide my top 10 tips on how to join the world of SAP and get rich while doing so:

  1. Make your #1 reason for choosing SAP career be about the money
  2. Focus on an SAP area that you “heard” was hot
  3. Have no relevant business experience in the SAP area you want to focus on
  4. Only work on projects where you can be on the implementation team as end user support will get you no where
  5. Spend as much time as you can getting SAP Certifications
  6. Make it know that you only work 9-5 as you have many other outside passions
  7. Don’t focus on time killers like social media, conferences, or the SAP Community Network as you have money to make
  8. Hoard your knowledge as last thing you want is for anyone else to get rich
  9. Make it known that travel is off limits and you ideally would like to work remotely
  10. Let everyone know your personal schedule up front so they can plan their SAP projects around it

As you can see you have to stay focused on a number of areas if you want a lucrative SAP career but why should it be difficult. Would be curious if each of you could provide some of your own “tips” to help spread the riches 🙂

I hope you can tell this article was in jest though unfortunately I have heard many of these at various points during my SAP career. In all seriousness if you do or expect the opposite of every one of these you will have a better chance of long-term success as it really takes a ton of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, luck and passion. On a side note I wrote Valuable Lessons to Make the Most of your SAP Career a few years ago with some real tips.

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47 Comments

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  1. Raja Kishore Jogam

    🙂 – Nice one

    To add a few more

    • Bill the client extra every minute (, while you can take a 2 hour lunch break to catch up on personal stuff
    • Your area of expertise is the only area you need to know of.. HANAH, you mean Hannah Montanna?
    • Look for projects with more billing rate when already on a project.
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  2. Vivek Seelin

    A few more…

    – Customize the solution so much that just about every nook n corner is filled with complex enhancements, the client will be in quick sand & you can be the hero

    – Sign a contract which has a clause of $ 1 paid to you for each entry in any of the tables, it would suddenly feel like the slot machines have gone bonkers

    – If client is smart & nothing works… call ‘Helicopter Ben’, who will elevate you from millionaire to billionaire league overnight

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Vivek and sadly your first one is all to common on many projects with the mentality of “I make it complex and custom they will “need” to keep me forever” 🙂

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  3. Fred Verheul

    Hi Jarret,

    Too bad you blew it in the last paragraph. Here I was thinking I was well on my way to become a millionaire (already applying most of your tips, esp. 1, 6 and 7). Then the last paragraph totally ruined my day. Damn! I’ll sue you for this because of the emotional damage done to me.

    But seriously: great post, and you know exactly how to entertain your audience!

    Cheers, Fred

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  4. Susan Keohan

    Jarret,
    Excellent work, distilling all your years of hard work down to 10 bullet points.  My personal fave?  ‘Only work on projects where you can be on the implementation team as end user support will get you no where‘ – for me, having been on the customer side, and faced years of post go-live with the products that have been delivered has been a real eye-opener.  And a forehead-smacker.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Susan and I personally have learned more on staying around during production support than I have on many projects.  You get to find out how users REALLY use SAP as well as some configuration that looked great on paper does not work well in real life.

      When I see consultants that have only been part of implementations and rolled off before the go-lives I always discount that experience.

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  5. Tom Cenens

    Jarret

    Nice blog post.

    Sadly enough there are plenty of training companies who advertise SAP as “want to make money quickly, take our SAP course today” with all the nitty gritty promises along with those statements. They fool enough job seekers doing that.

    There are plenty of consultants who do knowledge hoarding. Not a good idea in my opinion but it’s very common, whole companies do it as well. I believe in gaining knowledge more quickly by collaboration and by spreading knowledge, it’s actually one of the main ingredients of an article I wrote for the SAP Mentors quarterly Q2 2012: http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/SAPMentors/SAP+Mentors+Quarterly

    I do hope the certifications get lifted to a higher level. I’m curious to learn about recent changes on the certification program (conf call later on today). Recertification is coming up most likely and it’s not a bad thing. Just gathering certifications doesn’t make sense. Doing something with the aquired knowledge does make sense and from a learning perspective, certifications can be the driver to learn something so at least it has a postive impact in one or the other way.

    Best regards

    Tom

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Tom,

      I agree with everything you say.

      Sharing and collaborative learning is one of the fastest and most valuable ways to build sap knowledge.

      Thinking more about what you have been saying in recent blog responses about the work you are doing with the Certification Influence Council (or forgive me if I have the name wrong), I keep wondering what the SAP Customers can do more to insure and ensure that the resources who are joining their teams really have the required skills.

      Something I have just thought of, and so far I have not seen any blogs or wiki’s on it, there seems to be a gap that needs filling and documenting, that is….  Guidance for Hiring Managers, Project Managers, Team Leaders on how to give technical interviews (even if their knowledge is weak in the area concerned). Perhaps it’s time for a series of blogs and wiki’s to help Hiring Managers, Project Managers and Team Leaders with bullet point guidance on how to give technical interviews, tips and tricks to really ascertain as much as is possible, if the candidate for the role is really as qualified as they say. The guidance could be drilled down to vertical component levels, and other softer tips like, include your strong technicians in the technical part of the interview process etc.

      This would surely help solve the problems and from the other end of the problem.

      All the best.

      Andy.

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      1. Tom Cenens

        Hi Andy

        Getting more quality out of SAP certifications would help customers out for sure along with recertification (validness of knowledge).

        In regards to Hiring Manager, Project Managers and Team Leaders, blogs and wiki entries etc can help out but and this is but there are a number of profiles. One of the biggest problems is that those profiles don’t reside on SCN in general so it’s a problem that they are not here, joining the conversation and reading up on all the wonderful content that is already available.

        I’m convinced that there are many blog posts that can help them out, from getting a basic understanding of SAP to getting tips on hiring the right people. I really hope SCN puts up it’s booth on the SAPPHIRENOW floor at SAP TechED/SAPPHIRENOW Madrid. Last year they were in the SAP TechED hall but the problem is that most people there are using SCN already so the booth was not visited that often I think (from visual perspective, looking at the booth when I was around in the hall). SCN should get advertised to the business side and somehow they have to find a way to make the business people feel at ease in this development / technology focused community.

        A handfull SAP project managers have read my blog post on SAP product naming confusion for example and they stated to me it helped them out to get a better understanding on SAP product naming and versioning.

        Perhaps it’s also not such a bad idea for them to follow a couple of introduction courses on SAP either. At least it can give them the basics on how SAP is build up from a technical point of view for example (SAPTEC).

        I do like the idea of content that is geared towards helping project managers and alikes get a better understanding of SAP.

        Best regards

        Tom

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    2. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Tom for the thoughtful comment and looking forward to get an update from you on the new and exciting (somewhat) stuff the SAP certification team has planned.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thank Ravi and very true on “no short cut to success” but that doesnt stop many people from “believing” they are owed a lucrative SAP career after a few weeks of training.

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  6. Jansi Rani Murugesan

    Hi Jarret,

    Thanks for the sharing,

    6.Make it know that you only work 9-5 as you have many other outside passions

    7.Don’t focus on time killers like social media, conferences, or the SAP Community Network as you have money to make

    some time it is true!!  🙂

    I would like to bring Mark’s thoughts here Can Social Networking really drive business value? | Bluefin Solutions

    Must learn how to use social networking on billable way!!! other wise we get trapped.

    Regards,

    Jansi

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  7. Tobias Hofmann

    Some of the points are simple work life balance. Others are considered a must by SI.

    I guess rule #1 is: Don’t be a freelancer. This way you can hide behind a big company a flee to another project when the mess you made is going to blow up.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Kevin as I have seen everyone of these multiple times so it only took about 10 mins to write this blog. Some things we see in the SAP industry will never cease to amaze me.

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  8. Jelena Perfiljeva

    One would be surprised how many people actually follow these rules (sad, really). I’d say that in any carrier (possibly with the exception of investment/banking) if you’re in it solely for the money, it’s not going to end up well.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Jelena and I am a big believer in if you follow your passion OR do something that you enjoy and are willing to put in the effort in most cases you will be able to make a decent living because you will be good at what you do.

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  9. SP RO

    other tips for those who’s after money / to be a rich man :

    11. forget about your friends/family , don’t waste your time talking to useless people

    12. live in offices (sleep near your desk) – you can’t miss a business call/e-mail – make sure you have several handsets always ON (several phone numbers)

    13. always ask a maximum rate saying “iamthebest”

    14. never test what you’ve done ( i remember several cases when high paid senior consultants did their work extremely bad )

    😆

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment PPIO and I have worked with some senior SAP consultants that feel that testing or documentation is beneath them. I must have a sick sense of enjoyment but I like testing as it makes me feel comfortable and able to sleep easy at night that everything is going to work at go-live.

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  10. Custodio de Oliveira

    Hi Jarret,

    It’s a nice blog indeed. I have one comment/question:

    3. Have no relevant business experience in the SAP area you want to focus on

    But in your “valuabe lessons” blog you wrote:

    I remember wondering if I was cut out for the career change as my previous experience in the grocery business did not quite prepare me for learning Human Resources as well as SAP at the same time

    Could you comment on this? I really don’t see “previous relevant business experience” as a must, but it obviously helps.

    Cheers,

    Custodio

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Custodio and I think for a functional consultant having business knowledge is one of the most important things that can set you apart but agree that when you are starting out or coming from college that may be something you have to learn on the job.

      As far as my case I had actually worked my way up to become a grocery store manager so I had some business experience in HR, managing people but it still didnt prepare me for learning HR on a broader scale at the same time I was being introduced to SAP. On a side note the dynamics in the market have changed quite a bit and I could never break into SAP today as I did back in 1998 so needless to say I was lucky.

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  11. Greg Robinette

    It would be more funny if there was not a significant element of
    truth in all of your points.

    I would add the following:

    When a client wants something try new code development first,
    advanced configuration second, and tested and tried basic confoguratio0n last.
    that way you look like you are saving them money by reducing and streamlining
    your own mess.

    Also have a deck of PowerPoint’s showing a project methodology
    heavy in milestones and checkpoints along with deliverables that require documents
    and reports but no actual production delivery.

    I worked with CATS client for four months after a consultant had
    spent the prior 13 months designing the CATS plan and integration with their HR
    system. Ended up re-designing it from the CATS config down to the interfaces.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment Greg and I think in all humor there is a little bit of truth 🙂  I like your two additions to the “list” as I went through something about 13 years ago where a consultant spent 8 months blueprinting payroll….most of the budget was spent and then he told the client he wasnt a good fit for the realization phase as he didnt know payroll that well. Needless to say it was a busy 4 months as we had a Y2K deadline that was hard to push out.

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  12. Andy Silvey

    to put a balance on this SAP Standard and Customising SAP Standard question,

    we all know the safest way to implement SAP is to stick to the standard out of the box

    yet every blue chip customer I go to,  they’re changing the guided procedures, changing the entry screens, changing the processing, etc etc

    and then things take longer and have more chance of a prolonged path to success

    stick to the standard I say

    no, it doesn’t fit our business processes the local business process experts say

    oh well

    All the best,

    Andy.

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Well said Andy but sadly it sounds like you are giving real good advice and hopefully you know the goal of this blog was how to get rich….so how does doing what you said make people $ 🙂

      (kidding of course)

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      1. Andy Silvey

        Hi Jarret,

        thank you.

        You know, I am one of the legion of fans of your contribution to SCN, and Twitter.

        Only this week you gave an intriguing insight into the plans for Cloud, Mobility and HCM.

        It is fascinating for the rest of us to hear your narrative of meetings and information coming out of Palo Alto.

        But, this blog, for me, goes against the grain, I don’t like the negativity of it and would rather prefer to a see a blog from the positive perspective where all of us are giving junior consultants the mentoring level guidance on how they really can become wealthy in so many ways (friends, career experience, techno/functional knowledge, worldy, and of course the bread and butter financially) from a successful SAP career.

        Speaking for myself, I am 14 years as a Basis Technician and the last 13 of them as a Freelancer.

        One of my biggest priorities is doco, and man, do I collect doco, and do I have a technical
        library. I been harvesting useful information from SDN since the beginning of Iview Studio and for the last few years, over a coffee each morning I search the latest OSS Notes for the main areas of my technical orbit. And during the course of my daily work, solving problems, implementing, integrating I come across more useful OSS Notes and doco and collect it up.

        To try to give back, since early this year, every time I find an interesting OSS Note, I have micro blogged the OSS Note on Twitter, under, http://twitter.com/sap_contractor  .

        I find it surprising how many new relevant extremely important OSS Notes are coming out each week.

        This week I started executing a plan to bring to the attention of the Basis Admins Community on SCN the latest most interesting OSS Notes for Basis Administrators.

        We all know when we open an OSS Message, we are asked, have we searched the SCN, on the flipside, there is so much rewarding information in the OSS which does not come up in the SCN search.

        My goal for blogging OSS Notes on the SCN was to bridge the gap between SCN and OSS.

        I blogged these amongst others:

        http://scn.sap.com/blogs/Andy.Silvey/2012/09/17/sap-on-the-cloud-support-instances-products-platforms-landscapes

        http://scn.sap.com/blogs/Andy.Silvey/2012/09/17/rapid-deployment-of-operational-reporting-with-sap-hana

        In my opinion, these OSS Notes are GOLD, and there are millions more of them. I have a rule, I don’t blog problem OSS Notes, I only blog how-to and guidance and tips OSS Notes.

        The above blogs were removed from the main blogs list by the SCN Moderators because they were deemed, that in the eyes of the community this content was not palatable, and the moderators considered these blogs to be notablog.

        My goal was moving forward to stop posting OSS Notes on Twitter and put them on an SCN Wiki page as a rippling stack, with regular blogs highlighting interesting OSS Notes and linking back to the SCN Wiki page rippling stack,  it seems however this plan is not acceptable, hence I continue with Twitter.

        Moving forward, us seniors must give more, you do that already, I am trying to do that with Twittering valuable OSS Notes, but back to this blog, what about making a new blog, a nemesis to this one, where all of the seniors, and juniors contribute openly the tips they would mentor others with to give others the best chance of a long and fulfilling and weathly SAP career.

        One of my contributions would be, have no fear to tell the truth. One of the first things I do when I begin at a new customer is speak with my Manager, my Project Manager and explain that if ever I am given a question I will always give one of three answers, either,

        a) I know the answer

        b) I don’t know the answer, I am guessing, and will come back with full confirmation

        c) I really don’t know and will findout the answer

        Everybody in SAP knows that nobody knows everything about SAP and anybody who says they do is a liar, therefore, everybody in SAP understands if somebody is asked a question and does not know the answer, good SAP consultants should have no fear to say, I don’t know, I will get you the answer by xyz.

        All the best, thank you for excellent blogs,

        Andy.

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Thanks for the detailed comment Andy and glad to see that you have caught the bug to be more active on SCN.

          I typically have 2-3 blogs a year that go against my “normal” grain and fall into the “rant” category which always surprise me in that they generate a lot of discussion (both positive and negative) but is something I plan on continuing to do if there is something I feel strongly about. Several different things lead to me writing this blog but I have actually heard EVERY one of these 10 over the years if you can believe that 🙂

          Your last point was great and wish I had thought of adding an 11th “You should strive to answer every question as soon as it is asked, dont worry if incorrect as most people will never remember” 🙂   On that note it was my first point in Signs you Should Not Trust your SAP Consultant

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          1. Andy Silvey

            Hi Jarret,

            you’re right and I apologise for leaving my sense of humour on the plane 🙂

            Good news is I’ve found a wrapper for the OSS Notes blogs which the mods community seem to find acceptable.

            Ok next step is to get a wiki page for all these great OSS Notes.

            Finally, in the spirit of the blog, what can I add ?

            #12) When tasks come in that you’re not interested in, or don’t want to get stuck with, be sure to look real busy and make sure your colleagues get lumbered instead 😉   no hotshot wants to get stuck with boring stuff do they ?

            All the best,

            Andy.

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      1. A prasad

        money doesn’t guarantee happiness

        This is very famous comment by those people who are not able to make money,to console themselves. 😉

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          I have found over the the years that having financial freedom does help in overall happiness but definitely a each person is different.  That said if you are struggling to put food on the table for your kids it is harder to be happy.

          The bottom line is EVERYONE working in the SAP industry should feel extremely lucky as there is lots of opportunity on a number of levels.

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  13. Christopher Solomon

    #63. Documentation? We don’t need no stinkin’ documentation! (*ie. never produce any reference materials….there is even MORE money to be made if your customers must always call you back for help and support.)

    #64. Make your Statement of Work (SOW) as narrow as possible. There is good money to be made in “Change Orders”!!!!

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