Happy New Year and welcome to Careers and Skills space for 2015. As SCN is a little quiet at the moment, I have had the time to explore and noticed quite a few regular members and thought leaders out there summarise their year for 2014. I thought it might be worthwhile to do the same for this space. Whilst still on a holidays and being the SCN addict I am, I had time and motivation to write this piece.
I became one of the Moderators for this space about 6 months ago. My motivation for joining the team of volunteers for SCN was to improve the quality and content. Too often Careers space became full of Frequently Asked Questions without context and personal details. As well as that, some respondents took a cookie-cutter approach to provide answer to questions.
So what was SCN Careers and Skills Space like for this year? To answer this question, I have limited my analysis to discussions, blogs and documents created in 2014. In some cases, I may have called out a few older blogs that are still popular and useful based on my observation of seeing them in my news feeds, etc.
BASIC FACTS AND DATA
Current Followers of this space
As of today, we have 944 SCN members following the Careers Space. This number does not consider growth or active members or members who frequent the space but do not follow it. It would be interesting to get those numbers J
Summary of the content created in 2014
These number are based on content with a creation date for 2014 and taken from the Content summary of the space.
Mostly asking for careers advise
In hindsight, probably should have been a blog 🙂
Not a bad effort consider there are about 200 in total for this space! Of these, 16 were related to the “Run with Purpose Challenge”
Top 5 Liked Blogs
These blogs received the most likes by the SCN community.
Top 5 Discussed Blogs
These blogs garnered the most discussion (based on summary numbers). Admittedly, some responses may have been ones of the gratitude and thanks.
In 2014, we had 68 authors of the 95 blogs. It’s great to get a diversity of members writing and I look forward to seeing who contributes this year. As there are quite a few authors, I have not listed everyone’s name (was tempted to but the blog became quite long).
Thanks for your contribution and hope to see more opinions and advice for careers and skills development in 2015.
These members were awarded SCN’s Topic Leader Award for Careers and Skills space in 2013-2014 competition period. Congratulations and thanks for your words of wisdom J
Refer to the following blog for background and listing of topic leaders for other spaces.
For those of you who participate in SCN and would like to be a candidate for 2014-2015 period, blog writing within the Careers space were the main reason why these members became top ranking. In some cases, it was due to quality blogs written in 2012 and 2013 that member still find value to this day. It goes to show, if you have an opinion and write quality it can hold value to the community for quite some time.
My 5 favourite Blogs for 2014
These are in no particular order (and it was hard to limit myself to 5). I love reading the blogs in this space as it helps me think through aspects of my career that I need to focus on and develop. These blogs can apply to all areas of SAP and most apply to all levels of experience and expertise.
Why faking your CV would hunt you for life? By Ravi Sankar Venna. It was a great piece and discussion relating to faking of CV and the ethics. I am very passionate about this topic as I see what unskilled work on a system can do.
Good Education: Why It’s Central to Your Growth as an SAP consultant by Mark Chalfen. Such a thorough explanation of the importance of Education in your career and straight up calls out that learning never stops – especially after certification.
From Developer to Solution Architect: Essential skills for climbing the IT professional ladder by Jocelyn Dart. Again, another great discussion and also a diversity of members coming to career space to contribute their opinions and open it up further for more discussion.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing by Graham Robinson. What I liked about this one is a reminder to all of us to consider our views and opinions when making recommendations. As a trusted advisor, we must be careful that we back our opinions up with fact and ask ourselves if we are qualified to make a recommendation. It also is a good reminder that we need to keep our skills current and keep up with latest technology (at least awareness).
SAP Career FAQs: Blogs for students still in school or who have just graduated. by Thomas Dulaney is a succinct blog that pulls together links for some Frequently Asked Questions for recent graduates looking to enter SAP. It would be fantastic if new members went to through these blogs first before posting a question.
Career is a hard word to spell
I was surprised at the number of members asking for assistance who could not spell the word CAREER. CARRIER seemed to be the most common spelling. Maybe it’s the phonetics of the word depending on which part of the world you are in. A close second was CARER advise as well.
Asking for Careers Advice
Most career advice discussions are by first-time posters to SAP. Unfortunately, many do not familiarise themselves with SCN rules or engagement or realise SCN is a professional community. As a result, questions can be vague with insufficient information for anyone to provide guidance to. As a community, we need to find a better way to encourage these members so they learn before they post in other SCN spaces.
New Members to SAP
The message is starting to get out to members that a career is SAP is not easy to enter and not a guarantee to be a highly paid job or easy promotions. At the same time, there are opportunities and those who want a career in SAP need to be prepared to work for it (like everything else in life).
It is fantastic that members wanted to contribute to this space and help out a fellow member. However, too often, I found myself cleaning up the queue due to posts adding no value as they were a copy/paste generic response to the question. My observation was poor advice was given when:
- The respondent gave a generic copy and paste answer to every career questions. In some cases, it was a list of all of the SAP modules that could have been found through Google (this just creates noise)
- The respondent provided the recommendation to learn their discipline when the person asking for assistance had none of the skills, interests or acumen to go down that path. For example, someone would say there were from a Finance Accounting background and admitted to little technical ability and yet programming was suggested as an option (of course on HANA platform)
- The respondent may not have been qualified to provide the guidance. They didn’t know the product or have sufficient experience. Alternatively, they were qualified but their answer was poorly worded without context to explain why they were providing such a recommendation. Most of these posts were removed through moderation
- The respondent added no value as they gave the same advice already provided by another member. It’s great to be keen but it is considered noise if you respond without adding additional perspective. If you agree with someone else, then like their comments to show your support.
Good advice, on the other hand, was given in this space and I’m certain those asking for assistance are well on their way to a successful career in SAP. Those who gave quality advice generally showed the following signs:
- They took the time to read the questions and provide tailored-advise to the person asking for assistance
- They only answered questions they were qualified to answer. In situations where it was not their core competency, they qualified their background and explained their limit in assisting. This allowed the person asking for assistance to make an informed decisions
- They never told the person asking for help what the “right” career decision was. These people realise what is right for one person is not for everyone and that you can only know what is right for you.
- They remained silent and alerted the moderator when the question was poorly worded or insufficient information was given.
MY WISH FOR 2015
As mentioned, I became a Moderator to improve quality. I took the view that you need to be the change you want. This year, I would love to see our space improve quality and participation. To achieve this, I wish:
Members Alert Moderator when they suspect issues of poorly worded questions, providing personal details, copy/paste answers that add no value, piggybacking of threads, SPAM or other rules of engagement violations. As a moderator, I am online most days but assistance from the community makes the job easier.
Career spaces can be susceptible to SPAM due to Recruitment and Training Agencies. This content is not acceptable and will be removed. Also, personal contact details must only be entered in your profile and shared to SCN member based on your profile security settings. This keeps your contact information in one central location that can be controlled by you. By helping out and alerting moderator, the content is removed in a timely manner. Immediate removal of this content reduces the chances of another misguided member breaking the same rules.
Show your appreciation
As a member of this space you can show your appreciation of other members by:
- Liking a blog if you think it add values to the space
- Rating a blog based on your opinion and provide feedback
- Provide feedback and comments to blogs – continue the discussion and (sometimes) debates as they can add as much value as the original blog
When providing ratings and feedback, it is valid to provide negative views and ratings so long as they are constructive. Too often, we are taught that if you don’t have nice to say then don’t say anything at all. The problem with mantra is it provides no honest feedback to the author to enable them to improve.
Those who want advice and assistance take the time to do some basic research and provide information that will allow members to provide good advice.
Those who provide advice only do so if they believe they are qualified and have the necessary experience to provide answers.
Get (Quality) Blogging
More Blogs and opinions from the community would be fantastic to see. The type of blogs that would be a great addition to this space could be:
- Write about your area of expertise: what is the area about, what is the career pathway, future group, skills and attributes you believe are necessary to excel in that field.
- Write about your country: what is the job market like in your country, what are the popular SAP modules or products, what are example pathway entries to get a job, is certification important, etc.
- What skills do you think are important for your specialty
- What about non-SAP complementary skills: what are other skills or training that assist to succeed in your career path and why (this could be industry certification, soft skill development, etc)
Of course you would consider if you are qualified to write it and check that it is a new topic so we avoid duplication. Remember this is a professional community and what you do can impact your career and work opportunities. We want to avoid 100+ blogs of freshers discussing their entry to SAP or a heap of blogs on being an MM (or insert another module) consultant.
It took quite a while to reach this point as I kept discovering content I missed over the year. I might take this as a resolution to go back over the spaces I follow and look through the year. Again, thanks to everyone who contributed to this space in 2014!
But for those of you are out there and followers of this space, my question to you: what did you like about Careers in 2014 and what are your hopes for this space in 2015?
Moderator, SCN Careers and Skills