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Happy New Years fellow Career-space followers! Since last year’s review gained a bit of interest and positive feedback I thought it’d be good to make this a tradition. So, Welcome to the 2nd annual review of the Careers and Skills space.

It’s taken a bit longer this year to get this blog out as I’ve been away from SCN for past 3 months. As a result, I did a bit of clean-up of the space to remove inappropriate content (mostly duplicate posts, personal information, etc.). Therefore, you may have received some Moderator notifications in the past few days going back to October for removed content.

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 2015. Statistics are as of today.



BASIC FACTS AND DATA

Current Followers of this space

As of today, we have 1246 (was 944 last year) SCN members following the Careers Space. This number does not consider active members or members who frequent the space but do not follow it. It would be interesting to get those numbers as well as how many first time SCN members come to this space. On a positive, the membership is growing!

Summary of the content created in 2015

These number are based on content with a creation date for 2015 and taken from the Content summary of the space.


Item

2015

2014

Comment

Polls

1

0

We need to think of more polls for this year!

Discussions

589

813

A lot of posts were also rejected in moderation queue relating to juniors/freshers wanting careers advice but the post had insufficient information for the community to provide non-generic answers.

Documents

4

2

Still most should have been blogs

Blogs

60

95

Although a substantial decrease, last year’s count included 16 run with purposes challenge blogs. In addition, we raised the bar on quality and rejected quite a few blogs related to beginner’s experience of SAP to reduce duplicate content (they would have been accepted if they had new messages/view points) that could be part of the Blog it Forward posts.



Top 5 Liked Blogs

These blogs received the most likes by the SCN community (excluding my posts). It’s great to see a mix of different authors and it’s not all the same names as last year. As a note, there were a few quality blogs published late last year may have made the top 5 if they had been published earlier prior to end of year holidays.

Likes

Author

Title

48

Denise Nepraunig

From Secretary to Software Developer: the hard way

23

Matt Fraser

Banishing Basis Burnout

19

Shruti Joshi

Keeping the Client HAPPY!!!

16

AMOL MARATHE

Top 7 crimes SD consultant should not commit

16

Ravi Sankar Venna

What kind of individuals you come across in your career?

Top 5 Discussed Blogs

These blogs garnered the most discussion (excluding my posts and based on summary numbers). Admittedly, some responses may have been ones of the gratitude and thanks.

Comments

Author

Title

45

Kulbhushan Kulkarni

JOB After SAP Certification ??????

36

Shruti Joshi

Keeping the Client HAPPY!!!

27

Mark Chalfen

S/4HANA – What do I need to do now?

23

AMOL MARATHE

Top 7 crimes SD consultant should not commit

20

Matt Fraser

Banishing Basis Burnout

Blog Authors

In 2015, we had 48 authors of the 60 blogs. Like last year, it’s great to see a high level of authors instead of the same people producing all of the content. Again, as there are too many people I have not listed everyone.

Thanks for your contribution and hope to see more opinions and advice for careers and skills development in 2016.

Topic Leaders

These members were awarded SCN’s Topic Leader Award for Careers and Skills space in 2014-2015 competition period. Congratulations to Ravi for making it two years (at least) in a row for this space – his blogs are always quite informative and he makes the effort to engage in the community through discussions in the feedback/comments section.

Ranking

Member

1

Ravi Sankar Venna

2

Colleen Hebbert

3

Not awarded

Refer to the following blog for background and listing of topic leaders for other spaces.

Announcing the SCN Topic Leaders for 2014-2015



Again, writing blogs were the main reason these members received the award. There was no third place as no other member met the criteria for minimum points. Hopefully, next year will see all slots filled.


MY OBSERVATIONS

My Favourite Blogs from last year

It was quite difficult to choose 5 favourites. I could have easily included all of the blogs above as well. What was fantastic was the diversity in authors and topics. It was great to read careers and skills advise across the SAP ecosystem. It really gave me a lot of inspiration and opportunities to reflect on my own career.

About Doors, buses, stolen cheese and purpose by DAIRO LEONARDO LOZANO RODRIGUEZ – this blog hasn’t got any comments at the moment and I’m a bit surprised. I found this blog quite appealing to me due to my current circumstances and a great reminders to remain open and willing to new opportunities instead of focussing on what we miss out on.

From Secretary to Software Developer: the hard way by Denise Nepraunig – great to see a different pathway into an SAP career. It shows that hard work and seeking opportunity pays off. Also, ask for the opportunity – what have you got to lose? And finally – developing your career and making dreams comes true takes time – years even – so don’t give up!

The golden era for software engineers by Matthias Steiner Matthias Steiner – started as a Twitter discussion and turned into a blog to justify why the developer has a future. It’s a great article to educate any manager who focusses on the cost of a developer without understanding their value. And if you’re a developer thinking your days are numbers, this article will help you change your mind.

Adjust it the way you need it for today by Jelena Perfiljeva – always entertaining to read Jelena’s blogs. The simple message here that I loved is to keep developing your skills. And by this it doesn’t mean to chase the latest buzz word (although there is merit in this) but to keep learning something new to you. Staying still is the risk in your career.


Careers is still a hard word to spell

I give up. Carrier is the new word for Career.


Poll: What is your first choice in keeping your skills and knowledge current?

This was the first poll for the careers post and it’s a pity SCN platform doesn’t allow us to rank options. I won’t comment on accuracy of results and read too much into implications for formal training (e.g. SAP Education products) as this is not a scientific poll. We did, however, have 300+ respondents which gives a bit of substance to the results.

Choosing one was too difficult for members. What was great about this poll was it opened up discussions as to the options available to continue learning.

I loved that SCN is the favourite of the members (almost 50%). SAP is a smart company to realise early the benefits of investing in a platform to encourage customers and partners to educate and help each other. We have a wealth of knowledge here – and it’s all free!

For your reference: What is your first choice in keeping your skills and knowledge current?


Think before putting yourself out there

Careers space is quite unique from most other SCN spaces. There is no right or wrong answer here. Almost everything is subjective. It’s not difficult for posts to escalate in a highly emotive environment. After all, we all flock to this space to reflect on our own careers and to help each other out. Decision we make and issues we face have a direct impact to our livelihoods.


My recommendation for this year is to pause before posting comments. You may be frustrated at job opportunities. Life is unfair (I’ve learned that more in this past year). But to come to SCN and complain without facts and evidence to support your opinion may end up being a disservice to you (future employers and even current ones if you mention where you work).


That’s not to say that constructive criticism is unwelcomed – I’ll always support and encourage controversial or harsh opinions if they can be supported by facts. However, I did have to some content this year which was slanderous or came across as sour grapes.


Freshers, Level Entry and Beginners

There are only so many times the members of this community can say it: entry level jobs are hard to come by and competition is fierce. The industry has matured and changed. It is now a case of buyer beware when it comes to investing in your education for a SAP career.

The ethical route takes hard work, patience, perseverance, flexibility and sometimes just dumb luck to get your foot in the door. Unfortunately, when livelihood is at stake, we hear of stories and see advice by members recommending to embellish resumes or have other members apply and interview for jobs. These are forms of fraud and members are at risk of being found out once they start a job. I find it troubling that someone can convince themselves it is acceptable behaviour to lie as that they think they are “right” person for a job on a multi-million/billion dollar system if only they were given an opportunity. They justify their actions as they have studied hard, passed an exam and spent a heap of money doing so. But then again, a telling sign/condition for fraud to occur is when they person finds a way to justify it.

We had a high volume of discussions from Indian locations with most questions coming down to ‘I’m a fresher and spent a heap of money but no-one will hire me’. I’m going to be blunt (again): LIFE IS NOT FAIR. I cannot comment personally on India market as I’m not from there but I empathise with all level-entry job seekers. It’s hard to get your foot in the door. Less doors are open to inexperienced hires. Employers have the luxury to choose someone with practical experience over someone they need to invest money to train.

My hope to all SAP-career aspirants – enter this industry with your eyes wide open. Think through what it will involve and how you can get your start. Please, I beg a 1000 times over, do not quit your job to transition careers unless you’ve been given an iron-clad contract guarantee that a job will be secured and it’s more than basic data entry. And to those encouraging beginners: please be honest with them.

Education and Certification

I did move a bit of content over to the SAP Certification space if directly related to certification. However, the common question here is whether or not certification will guarantee a job. This question is really going to come down to country/region and product speciality. Some places require certification as a mandatory pre-requisite. Others have the luxury of quality applications so use certification as a mechanism to short list applicants.

Certification is not a job or interview guarantee but it can help. It is particularly helpful where it is a new product/major version change. By retraining and certifying (along with existing experience) you may find your chances improved. What is evident in this space is going out and obtaining certification without any existing experience is unlikely to secure you a job unless it’s a graduate level-entry position (see section above).

I personally believe in obtaining certification (or at least attending training) as a way to measure how current my skill set. It’s something I need to prioritise this year as part of my career development.


Education Providers and Placements

This year I have removed a lot of content relating to advise or complaint of training providers. My reason for doing this is to avoid SCN rule violations – advertising of service provides and potential slander by members who complain.

For those who want advice on training provides, go to the SAP Education hosted sites to find the providers. If you have attempt to seek out an unauthorised provider to save money you need to consider if this will impact eligibility for certification and also their quality of training. Cheaper is not always better. If you have a bad experience with an authorised training provider then provide the feedback to your local SAP education office.

Should you find a training provider guaranteeing placement on completion of the course, find out what this actually entails. Are you going to get proper project experience or are you going to end up being the coffee-fetcher or data entry guru? Remember, these companies are a business and their goal is to profit in the education sector. Their job is not to make sure you have a fruitful career full of opportunity.


Training Systems

If I could have one wish list item from SAP for 2016 is for them to provide cloud-hosted SAP applications for a monthly rental. And to add to my wishful thinking: it’s affordable to an individual who wants to self-train.

SAP Education does have some service offerings for courses but in most cases it is limited to purchasing “hours” of training. For someone who wants to keep their skills current or diversify, they need all the free time they have.

I’d happily pay $50-100 per month if I had access to the systems I need to practise on – and not just an ABAP stack. For technical members, we need access to systems to practise system integration (e.g. security person wanting to connect a GRC or IDM systems to another system) which is difficult to come by.

Further value proposition to SAP: I know I could contribute more to SCN if I had system access to troubleshoot and prototype.


MY WISHES FOR 2016


My wish list items for last year remain unchanged but I would like to add a few more.

Be the Expert when you are

It is fantastic to see the willingness of members to participate in discussions – especially when it comes to providing career advice. My wish is that you consider if you are qualified to offer the advise before contributing. I removed a lot of basic/frequently asked career advice questions during pre-moderation as they would have all received the same reply.


As a member, if you are doing to suggest a module or technical area for a member please take the time to provide justification as to why you think it would be appropriate. Otherwise, we end up with key-word advise answers (I’m almost at the stage where I could pull together a decision diagram) such as technical means you should do HANA; developer means you should do Fiori/UI5 and functional is whichever module matches a key word.


Avoid Self-promotion unless valid

Writing a blog or answering a question, when done properly, takes time. Our blogs all have a life of their own. When first published we get a lot of attention and then it drops off. Sometimes, the blog is referenced elsewhere and has another round of attention. There is nothing wrong in linking to your blog when giving advice. So long as it makes sense.

Please tread this careful line when it comes to self-promotion. Try not to keep redirecting members to your blog as a ‘this might help you’ when it’s barely related to their question.

More Skills Discussion

Most discussions in this space relate to personalised careers advised. From observation most come down to which technical (Basis, Security, Developer) or Functional (FICO, SD, etc) career should the member choose. It would be interesting to encourage the community to discuss other jobs in the ecosystem. For this reason, I’m going to start up discussions for specific jobs (e.g. Test Analyst/Manager or Release Manager) and encourage the community to discuss the skills, experience required, career pathways, etc for such positions. It might even inspire you to write a quality blog about the job profile.




It’s been a great 2015 in this space. I’m proud to be a moderator here and love seeing the different people who pop in from time to time. We have a mixture of members from beginner to 20+ years of experience. We see SAP employees, customers and partners contributing content. For a non-technical space, we see a great mix of the community. I hope this continue into 2016 and we continue to thrive when we change platforms.

So, I’ll end the same way as last year with a question to the members: what did you like about Careers in 2015 and what are your hopes for 2016?

Regards

Colleen

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7 Comments

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  1. Ravi Sankar Venna

    Colleen Hebbert

    Hope you are well. What a fantastic compilation and thought provoking tips to the Community. I am glad and privileged to find a place in your blog. Thank you so much for all your efforts. I am sure your blog motivates many others to write more quality blogs in the Careers space. Certification and Career space go hand in hand and I am so thankful for all your help in managing these spaces.

    Thanks once again and wish you a successful and happy New Year 2016.

    Kindest Regards,

    Ravi

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  2. Tom Cenens

    Hi Colleen

    Thanks for the nice write-up and for your efforts on SCN.

    Denise’s blog is one of my favorites allround of 2015 really, I love inspirational stories.

    Ofcourse other entries also deserve credit and Matt has good pointers for the Basis guys, for sure 🙂 .

    It used to be possible (in the very beginning of SCN 2.0) to create polls but somewhere along the way, the creation of polls got restricted to only moderators or something? So that explains why low amounts of polls are being created since regular community members cannot do it. Unfortunate in my opinion.

    SAP CAL can provide the opportunity for cost based learning, based on runtime of a system on a cloud provider so I would suggest you pass this suggestion on to the team(s) behind those products (GRC, IDM) since SAP GRC and SAP IDM aren’t in the list (for example). It would indeed be a good thing if more SAP products would get covered.

    Best regards

    Tom

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    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      Hi Tom

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ll need to follow up on SAP CAL. I only used my components as examples as they aren’t the straight out ABAP systems. Also, you need multiple systems to actually configure something.

      Matt’s blog was an example of how to choose only 5. Burnout is sadly a frequent outcome for many technical members. I think the tech teams have hard job as their work is at all hours, the main team which could have a have priority one incident, need to be across multiple platforms and components, etc. As much as items are simplified, they are still complex behind the scenes and that’s where a skilled Basis Administrator is worth their weight in gold.

      In relation to polls, I know it’s restricted. I wonder if it’s due to points allocations (you get points for voting in a poll). If you have suggestions for a poll, feel free to DM me

      Regards

      Colleen

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  3. Susan Keohan

    Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for pointing out some very interesting blogs in the Carriers 🙂 space.  I haven’t really thought much about blogging about ‘my career’ in SAP but perhaps you (and others here) are just the inspiration I need.

    Cheers,

    Sue

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  4. Matt Fraser

    I give up. Carrier is the new word for Career.


    I guess change comes whether we like it or not!


    Colleen, yet another excellent blog, and far more in here than just a roundup of the year for the space. You provide excellent advice on multiple fronts, whether it’s about writing blogs, posting questions, and answering questions, or on choosing career paths and educational opportunities. Thank you.

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