Skip to Content

Expertise or Certification ? What Matters More ?

Hi All,

When it comes to the SAP World, whether an individual is  an SAP Developer or a Client or a Partner, the most controversial question that comes to everyone’s mind is,

What matters more : An SAP Certification in a module? Or actual expertise/experience?

The answer to this question is really difficult to conclude. But there are always these 3 possibilities:

1. An SAP Certified individual is always “Hot” in the market as they say. The reason, being, that the person has spent innumerable amount of time and efforts (and of course, a lot of money) into studying each and every aspect of that particular module. It is assumed that a Certified Person is a walking/talking encyclopedia for that module.

It is a given that he/she knows everything about that module, in and out.

But the question arises here is that, will the person have that presence of mind and the ability to solve huge problems a customer is facing while using an SAP Product?

Quite a dicey situation. Beacuse there is a huge difference in knowing what to do and knowing how to do it.

Then comes the second possibility:

2. Walks in a person, claiming to be an expert, who has  put in years  of efforts and hard work to acquire the knowledge gained by a certified person in just a few months. Now, it may seem that this person has an equal amount of knowledge as a certified person (let’s say).

But the only difference, and a huge one in this case, is that this person has learnt all of it the hard way. This person knows the actual ins and outs of the issues he/she has faced during his tenure of hard work. This is hard-earned knowledge which can never be left unnoticed. But will this person be able to face the customers? Will he have that presence of mind of what to do when actually the problem occurs? Quite difficult. Not everyone can do that.

Now, what if the above these 2 points are combined? That is where the 3rd possibility comes in:

3. What if a person has considerable amount of expertise/experience, and is also SAP Certified? Deadly Combination, isn’t it?

This means that the person has the expertise, as well as the knowledge. This person will know  what is to be done, when it is to be done and how is it to be done.

The best combination, a complete package any recruiter would love to have? May be.

But is it a protocol that such people will always have the upper hand/advantage over others?

Does this mean that after completing a certain time in SAP, you have to go for SAP certification?

These are the questions that may never be answered perfectly by anyone.

Please excuse me if I have mentioned anything which is  misleading. These are only my personal thoughts afterall. But I would love to know what you guys think about this?

Please share your thoughts.



You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      • So what do you recommend when SAP does not offer a certification in your area and refuses to do so?  This model breaks down for SAP CRM because there is no certification for a SAP Webclient UI Development even though the toolset has been around for five years and is at the heart of the SAP CRM solution.

        I have even told the approriate people within SAP responsible publicly and privately and they have ignored the need and act like that that role doesn't exist.  That's why I strongly disagree on the value of SAP certification for SAP CRM, because SAP refuses to provide certification paths that match actual consultant roles for their solutions.  That being said since I have open mind there may be other areas outside of SAP CRM where certification might be effective and useful.

        I will kindly change my stance when a person responsible for certification at SAP will provide answers beyond that web client development is covered in other general certifications and does not merit it's own certification path.

        Final point under some of the responses using certification as a criteria instead of experience, I guess I'm not qualified for your SAP CRM projects.  Too bad I wrote a book on the subject, but because I'm not certified well that means I know nothing under this model.

        Take care,


        • Hi Stephen,

          I understand your frustration and helplessness. But there are always going to be a few exceptions. I am sure you will not have to wait for long.

          SAP will surely give you what you want.

          Patience is the key. 🙂



          • Ugh.. there is no point in waiting as the folks who run the certification program for SAP, will not change their mind on this issue and they have stated this explictly.  It's basically like talking to a brick wall when it comes to certification for SAP CRM.  It's 2014 and I first mentioned this issue to SAP Education in 2009.  I'm sorry they aren't going to fix it.  The weird part of this issue is they offer two multi-day classes on the topic that needs a certification. It's not like I'm asking for a certification for an area where SAP Education doesn't even teach the topic(that wouldn't be fair).  Every SAP CRM project has consultant/support role for this development, so it's not like I'm asking for a role specific to a single customer.  Yet somehow SAP Education feels that testing you on the subject in SAP Sales, Marketing or Service certification makes you a qualified web client developer.

            In a ideal world where SAP Education would actually update/design their curriculum to truly match the needs of SAP customers and software supported by SAP Education, then Andy's concept is correct.  However at this point expecting SAP Education to provide a certification concept like Andy's is unrealistic and is not in the goal of SAP Education IMHO.

            Also please note I'm talking about SAP Education in particular and not the folks who produce the actual product.  The group responsible for the actual product contains an awesome group who has really embraced sharing information with everyone and filling in those knowledge gaps when regular training doesn't suffice.

            Take care,


          • Yet somehow SAP Education feels that testing you on the subject in SAP Sales, Marketing or Service certification makes you a qualified web client developer.

            LOL SAP Sales, Marketing or Services certfication doesn't even qualify you in its own respective area 😈

            I'm sorry to be so negative, but is something which I allways I wanted to post and I never find the opportuntiy. Right now makes more sense spend 2-3 years in an area, be lucky to work with people with more experience, be curious and professional to invest some time and money in nice readings, spend time testing and understanding the "whys", then you can affort to try to pass the examen, but wait, are you a consultant or an elephant? Because some exams are only made for people with an elephant memory, so you can pass the exam with 0 understanding 0 tools and 0 skills, but hey, "there are only 5 product categories" or "an integer has 4 bytes".

          • That's another point of disagreement with folks running certfication, that multiple choice quizzes actually measure ability for technical areas such as programming.  My argument is show me a computer science program that allows you graduate by only taking classes that exam via multi-choice and we might have a discussion.

            I don't know about you but my introductory programming class in college(required) was done where we had to write code manually on paper and had points deducted for syntax errors in our manual writing.  Most of my advanced classes were long-form exams or projects.  I'm not saying I was the best student, but multiple choice wasn't even an option for an introductory class on programming.  I'm not sure how you can equate mastery of knowledge with multiple choice tests.

            That being said those are issues that don't reduce or eliminate the need for certification.  It just shows that things really aren't ready for primetime to be a standard.

            Take care,


        • If we talk about CRM, the training material is like buying a TV, look at the instructions and find some buttons are missing, then you discover by trying or looking into forums, if we press button P1 once goes to program 1 but if you press it twice turns off the TV. Definitely the certification path is not right, each area is far to complex to resume it in just one training. I have all the SAP CRM Training material and some SAP Press books, access to the online help and  very nice account in SCN, Guess where I go wen I face some trouble 😉 .

      • Hi Andy,

        I love your blog but the problem is that your scenario cannot be generalized. Organizations which follow  this protocol are best suited but most of the organizations prefer otherwise.



        • Hi Sid,

          to get this whole subject to move forward, the subject must be genaralised.

          The only way to generalising this subject is for everybody, lead by SAP, to come to a common agreement that our industry needs measureable internationally valid standards and to become more professional.

          Using medicine as an example, the title Doctor is an international standard and measureable internationally.

          If everybody in the SAP world agrees, that our industry needs internationally measureable standards, then subsequently the next step will be to agree what standard to use ?

          The standard will need to be something which is respected internationally.

          Something which is known internationally.

          Something which is the same internationally.

          Something specific to the SAP world, from functional people, to developers, to administrators, to project managers, to architects etc, across the whole spectrum of roles in the SAP area.

          There is such a standard in place already, and that is SAP Education and Certification and it meets all of the above criteria.

          So, if the world can agree that to get our SAP industry to the next level of professionalism we need international standards, then SAP Education is the solution staring us all in the face.

          Best regards,


          • Hi Andy,

            Taking your example forward, let me ask you something.

            A person just graduated from Medical School is a doctor. No doubts in that?

            But, an assistant/nurse who is working in the same field for say, 5-6 years definitelt has more know-hows than the newbie doctor.

            The newbie doctor knows what needs to be done. But the experienced assistant knows how to do it well.

            Again, I am not saying that you are wrong. I am not even saying that certification is wrong. Nor am I saying that experience is better than certification.

            If you look at the 3rd point in my blog, I personally feel that the combination of these 2 is unbeatable.



          • Hi Sid,

            likewise when my blog is read all the way through I am saying the same as your third point.

            The Doctor analogy points out that there is a basic understanding that the person has a certain level of measureable knowledge.

            We can forget the Doctor analogy, let's go one step back, the common path into SAP IT is to go to University, get a Bsc or Msc and then go into the IT world. Using your nurse analogy we can remove the University step and take people from school straight into IT. But why don't we, what does the Bsc or Msc bring ? It brings recruiters the standard that the candidate has a certain level of knowledge and discipline which can then be built upon.

            To move this whole subject forward, there is only one question which needs to be answered and find a concensus, and is, let's put the simple question:

                      does our industry need standards or not ?

            That is the simple question.

            Yes or No ?

            Best regards,


          • All industries need standards. But we cannot ignore the major role which is played by experience/expertise.

            So all I have to say is, both play an equally important role.

          • Hi Sid,

            good, you agree the SAP IT Industry needs standards, in that case would be kind enough to visit the poll and vote.

            Best regards,


  • Hi Siddhant,

    In our organization, usually the experienced resources are more valued when compared to the certified ones. The experienced vs certified debate goes on and on 🙂



  • What matters most is ability to get the job done. The best way to determine that will depend on the job. Sometimes experience will matter, sometimes theoretical knowledge (aka. ability to pass exams) will matter, sometimes both, maybe even sometimes neither.

    There's no right answer to this.

    • Hi Steve,

      yes there's no right answer, but until we try to answer it this question will perpetually go around in circles.


      edited as it was the wrong thread 🙂

      • And my answer is "it depends" 🙂 . My problem with the standards focus of this discussion is that I don't see how you can standardise "it depends", so I don't see the point in the discussion. I guess I'm not understanding what you're after?


        • that's my fault Steve, I have that problem a lot 🙂

          I will add a vote option, not sure/undecided, how's that ?

          in the meantime I will try to better explain what I want to say


    • What matters most is ability to get the job done.

      IMHO this is a very dangerous sentence, how many times the job is done, but has a bad performance, horrible extensibility, etc. ? Get the job done is important, but have the knowledge or the skills to get/understand the knowledge "on the air" I believe is vital, once you got this, you really get the job done.

  • Nice blog... This debate goes on !! But what I have seen , People having realtime experience solves any issues in a better way than a certified fresher.

    However Category 3: Experienced with Certification are always in demand 🙂