Considering SAP Learnings' digital skills initiative going live last year, I thought I would share a rough guideline for those out there who are starting from scratch or from non-traditional backgrounds toward their career path in the SAP ecosystem.
The target role of this blog is going to be a consultant – specifically an SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, but I hope a lot of the other information on this blog will be helpful for other goals as well.
Disclaimer: be sure to check your local job market to understand what specific skillsets are being sought – this may vary according to region and industry.
There are two career situations that I would like to focus on, and they will modify your starting point:
Starting from scratch
- You have no idea what SAP is
- You have never held a job in the tech or “white-collar” domain
- You didn’t graduate from a 4 year college
Transitioning or laid-off
- You have experience in the tech industry and have been laid off or you’re looking for a change
Starting from Scratch
If you find yourself in a situation with little to no white-collar job experience, it’s a good idea to start with the basics while exploring the more technical topics in parallel. Jump back and forth between this content and the courses under the “Transitioning” section at your leisure.
What is SAP?
The first thing you should figure out is what SAP is all about to determine if a job in the SAP ecosystem is right for you. (The SAP ecosystem encompasses SAP itself, partner companies that extend SAP’s reach globally and customer companies running SAP software. – All of whom may offer employment opportunities.)
Hopefully with this information you can determine if you’d like to take steps toward upskilling for a job in this domain.
If you still need a better understanding, I can attempt an analogy: Think of an amusement park and the magical experience it provides visitors with its rides, atmosphere, and fun experiences. Now think of what goes on behind the scenes of that experience – the carefully timed ballet of machines, electronics, music, art, food, and people that make it all happen. Most park visitors can only appreciate the experience being sold to them without giving the mechanism behind it all a second thought, but others are interested in looking a bit deeper, in understanding how it all works behind the scenes. Can you see yourself being part of that second, more curious group?
SAP is running the carefully timed ballet of behind-the-scenes processes that make some of the highest profile consumer brands run. Ask yourself if being one of the specialists who helps make this happen is an intriguing prospect.
Soft skills and business acumen
Depending on your employment background, you may need to brush up on your soft skills and business acumen. These are the things the folks going the traditional path of 4-year universities and master’s degrees are going to have a bit more practice with. But not to worry; the resources on these topics can be found with your favorite internet search engine. Think of things like presentation skills, professional communication, problem solving, analysis etc.
First things first – do you know how to learn? This may sound silly, but I am a product of memorization-based education where learning and study strategies were never taught. I can recommend learning how to learn if you also find yourself in this situation.
Next, consider opening a free account at the Accenture Skills to Succeed Academy. Accenture is one of those companies in the SAP ecosystem that hires people like consultants – they know exactly what is needed to get the job done. You can find free courses on most critical soft skills that they are looking for in new hires.
Understand the job role
Up until this point, everything covered is universal to all jobs across the SAP ecosystem. Let’s address the consulting role. Do you know what a consultant does? Are you sure you’d like to be one?
I’ve personally interviewed a SAP S/4HANA Consultant on the SAP Learning Insights podcast, you can listen to our chat here. As a consultant, you will be working directly with an organization (your customer) who is working to implement an SAP solution. You will be working to understand their processes and how they fit into the SAP solution that you specialize in. There will be challenges and opportunities that you need to identify and communicate in your plan. You will need to be fast on your feet and adaptable to changing conditions and new information.
Look at these resources for more insight:
If you’ve got some money to spare, I can highly recommend the SAP Technology Consultant Professional Certificate. This is the one stop shop of almost everything someone lacking experience in this realm needs to get up to speed. The resources and case studies are provided by real SAP partners implementing real SAP projects. A reasonable study pace is 20 hours a month for three months to complete this. (It’s about $20 a month for those in the United States – if you study faster, you pay less.)
If you do decide on a Coursera plus subscription, try out a few more skills:
Transitioning or laid off
If you already have some experience in the tech sector, consider can starting here. If you are starting from scratch, you can already start exploring this as you cover the fundamentals listed at the start of this blog.
Baseline technical knowledge behind SAP (22 Hours)
This learning journey is going to begin laying out the big picture and prepare you for the more advanced role-specific training ahead.
Introducing End-to-End Business Processes for the Intelligent Enterprise
Optional: Introduction to a specific consultant skillset (10 Hours)
This is the start of your role-specific training. Understanding the product and your mission.
Explore RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Note: this learning journey is already incorporated into the next journey as an all-in-one certification prep.
Detailed consultant technical skillset - prepare for the SAP Certification Exam (25 Hours)
The how you will accomplish your mission. This is what your certification exam will be testing you on.
Onboard with SAP Activate for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition
Get certified (1.5 Hours)
This is the exam that will add your first official SAP credential to your repertoire. You can buy a certification attempt here. If you are a student, buy a discounted attempt here. Or you can apply for a free certification attempt with the digital skills initiative.
SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition implementation with SAP Acti...
Apply for internship or job
Check out the Career Corner for job openings as well as other job boards. One cool thing about the career corner is that you can post questions about postings and get answers from the folks within the hiring company. Give it a try!
What do you think? Anything missing here? Let me know and I add it!
Thanks for reading.