I have had some discussions recently around the value of SAP certification and thought I would just jot a few of my thoughts down and share them.
SAP has been advocating for the last couple of years for consultants to be SAP certified. I have no issue with that and our organization is slowly endeavoring to have all our functional/technical people sit for the examination. With our existing people, the preparation to sit for the exam can act like a refresher and make them re-evaluate their current knowledge of the HCM module and ensure the design they offer to a client is the most appropriate and not based on their knowledge of several years ago. Of course, we also expect our people to keep up to date via blogs, webinars, conferences, etc. The concern is the people who believe that if they get Certification they will be able to walk into an SAP role.
However, would we hire someone just because they have SAP Certification? Definitely not. In my experience of interviewing people who have obtained certification, it is possible to attend a couple of weeks training, sit for an exam and pass without gaining any knowledge of the product. These people are usually bright, capable of absorbing information and completing a multiple choice questionnaire without realizing any context around what they are regurgitating. As stated above, I am not against certification, but it needs to be complemented by experience as well.
Many years ago (and I am talking R/3.0B days), if you spelt SAP when asked what you were working on, rather than saying the word sap, you were highly sought after and looked up to as a leader in the field. Finding work was not an issue. Pressing the F1 key and trying to understand some of the German that hadn’t been converted to English was the norm though. I think configuration was referred to as trial and error. But the people being employed were either experienced HR/payroll practitioners with the ability to learn or came from a background working with another payroll product.
The need for experience still holds true today. However, rather than thinking you will get a role as a Functional consultant merely because you have Certification, look at joining an organization as an end user (gaining knowledge of HCM and its legislative compliance implications, especially). Seek out roles as a Business Analyst working alongside knowledgeable, experienced Functional people and learn the complexities of good design and meeting a client’s requirements. With the way forward being in the cloud, it is more important than ever to be able to work WITH the business and guide them to achieve the best business outcome, facilitated by the system.
And finally, don’t give up. Provided you have the aptitude and the attitude you will make it and be very glad you sat for the Certification exam and passed.