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In last two months I attended ITIL & TOGAF trainings (thankfully sponsored by my employer), attempted & passed the exams and was certified in IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture. A great addition to my earlier Prosci Change Practitioner and SAP Associate Project Manager & HR Application Consultant certifications, I happily shared the updates of my recent achievements with my professional network. The feedback was overwhelming and while I received many congratulation messages I also received number of queries, mainly the “why”, “what” and “how” of the qualifications. I’m writing this 1) to thank you all for your kind words and 2) to share my learning experience, to answer

  1. Why not just SAP Qualifications?
  2. What non-SAP Qualifications? And
  3. How to obtain SAP and other qualifications?

Before I answer the above, I’ll ask you to focus on following 3 principles:

  1. Interestingly it’s neither qualification nor experience the ‘actual’ requirement at work; it’s the skill. You have to have the skills to perform the tasks you are assigned to.
  2. The qualification is considered relevant when it is aligned with the skill in demand. You have to pursue qualification which teaches or endorses the skill(s) required in the job market.
  3. Goal-setting (aiming for something) and time planning (distributing time evenly between activities) help one in targeting and achieving relevant qualifications.

Now coming back to the questions, here are my answers.

Why not just SAP Qualifications?

There are number of SAP qualifications which you and I can take to enhance our technical skillset. However, when it comes to demonstrate such expertise, at an implementation project or a support role, an incumbent is required to do more than merely showing how a certain application works. (Read Are they serious? Yes, they are! Expectations of SAP Users from SAP Consultants in an Organization)The businesses need certain problems to be solved and for you to provide a suitable solution you have to have certain additional skills, including the ability to see the big picture and to recommend (not one but different) feasible, workable, and long-lasting solutions. This is where a need to have additional qualifications arises for a SAP Consultant.

What non-SAP Qualifications?

For a SAP Professional, the knowledge of other areas, beyond his/her specialization, is good as it helps in guiding customers on integration aspects. However, generally most of us have mastered one / two areas, to serve particular lines of businesses or a verticals, and have the relevant certifications to showcase our abilities to potential employers. In order to succeed, you have to have variety of skills. (Read Skill Set a SAP Consultant need to have, to succeed). Depending on your interest, you can add few other IT qualifications to your profile to get your skills and experience endorsed by professional bodies of knowledge.

Currently (and since early 2015) I’m on a Change Management role within a SAP Support function and as such I was keen to have Prosci and ITIL certifications (now I’ve them). Similarly you can choose for yourself which qualifications match your aspirations.

How to obtain SAP and other qualifications?

The biggest challenge Consultants have, while they are engaged at projects, is to avoid distractions and to focus on additional learning. It’s not only our challenge, being Consultants, it’s actually everyone’s. My wife has the same concern but she manages the chores well and she always tells me to allocate some time for activities which are important for a healthy life. I haven’t applied her advice to exercise yet but have done so for learning new skills : ) And here it is;

  1. Do not set unachievable targets, instead give yourself enough time.
  2. Do not overload yourself, as there are other priorities as well.
  3. Follow the schedule you set for self, as much as you can.

I shared few tips at Developing learning profile with openSAP courses as well. Read them through to benefit from free learning source.

Celebrating 2017 Achievements and Setting Career Goals for 2018

I can say 2017 was a productive year for me from many perspectives including the professional qualifications i.e. TOGAF and ITIL and I’m aiming for few other qualifications (SAP and others) and hope could have them soon. Have you set your goals already for 2018?

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  1. Michelle Crapo

    Ha – goals for 2018?   I have trouble thinking about this month.

    No, seriously I do have some goals.   You’ll laugh because a goal should have a date associated with it and be attainable.   Meaning I have to really take these from a high level to a lower one.   I’ll attempt to do that here.

    1.  Use the SAP Community to improve my skills, contacts, and build my own brand.   A good high level goal.   But I could put a lot under this.
      1. Try to bring people back and have new people join the SAP Community.   We need them badly.
      2. Bring discussions back to blogging.   If the blog is interesting, but you would like to add your experience do at the end.   Look for those questions like the one above.   This goal could actually be split apart too.   What can I influence myself?   Read and add comments to blogs when I have time.
      3. Ask questions here.    After or even before I ask a question – try to answer questions when I can.
      4. My favorite thing here is “meeting” the people.   So try to network with the others and comment on blogs.  🙂
    2. Be better at my job than I was last year.
      1. Go to SAPTeched if I can.
      2. Learn at least one new SAP skill.
      3. Learn about the new technology.
      4. Try to understand what is available in on-premise and what is available in the cloud.
    3. Be home when I’m not working.   And that statement doesn’t mean just be here.  It means stop thinking about work, and focus on my family.
      1. Try to schedule vacations when my son will be home from college.
    4. Build my own brand.   Not really sure how I’m going to do that yet.

    And four goals for the year are good enough for me.   What is interesting is I will change and refine these throughout the year.

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    1. Faisal Iqbal Post author

      Well, that’s the corporate definition of goals to have some date and to be attainable. At the personal level, I think if they change, there’s no harm as such. Sometimes priorities change.

      You have got quite a few goals, I didn’t think of so many : )

      1. The best thing I see you are doing here, at SAP Community, is responding and engaging in conversation which is definitely the best way to build a brand as well as to grow your network.
      2. Performing better at a job in future greatly depends on the skills one learns. And it’s beneficial to both the employer and the employee. My current employer is very good in this aspect; always trying to develop their employees with additional skills which in turn help the business staying on top.
      3. Spending maximum & quality time with family has to be a priority always. One way of managing it, what I’m doing at my current job is, to stay near office which saves a lot of time which otherwise is spent on commuting between home & work place.
      4. If you are planning to have a website, as part of building your brand, I may share my experience as I have it for quite sometime now and I’m using it as an e-portfolio.

      A few more days to welcome 2018!

      (1) 
      1. Michelle Crapo

        Mmmmm….   A website.   Do share your experience.   I didn’t really think about that.

        Thank you for the response!!!

        Yes – 2018 is coming up fast.    It’s amazing how much time flies.

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