If you are thinking about SAP certification, it is time to gather some information and brainstorm. You want answers to questions like – "Is it worth going for?" and "Can a beginner expect to land in her/his first SAP job after getting certified?"
Unfortunately the answers are not straightforward and there is lot of debate on this topic. I can safely call it a burning topic on which different analysts have different opinions.
The discussion may be helpful for – students doing graduation or post-graduation, experienced SAP professionals who have questions about certification, and for those who are looking for breaking into one of the SAP careers.
Let us start the discussion with some basic information about the Certification, if you are new to it, so that you can observe the ongoing discussion on various platforms in perspective and make an informed decision.
SAP Education is the body in SAP Services responsible for training and certification. SAP software is huge and SAP keeps on enhancing it by adding new features to keep ahead of the competition and to make use of the latest technologies. It releases newer versions, enhancement packages and support packages in doing so making SAP software to evolve incessantly and keep up with the market expectations.
Now one of the major challenges it faces in the process is to keep its customers and consultants updated on these changes to the SAP software. SAP achieves it using social media, creating online resources, events like TechEd, Sapphire and developing and offering trainings.
SAP Education offers a full suite of educational courses and certifications for various solutions and focus areas. There is a discussion on the various certification areas and levels and how to choose the appropriate one for yourself.
The next discussion is about the SAP certification options referring SAP website which should help you find the certification in your area of interest. Explore there detailed SAP Certification information for your country and Certification focus area and solution.
SAP certification is aimed at bench-marking SAP knowledge and skills. The customers can consider it for recruiting SAP professionals to ensure they are served by professionals with right knowledge and skills for the job at hand.
SAP Market on Certification
Then, SAP encourages the professionals involved with their various business solutions to go for certification according to the roles they play in their projects. This can help SAP projects to objectively assess, recruit and deploy the required skill sets and build a qualified team to deliver the reliable solution.
SAP has invested a lot into this area and is continuing efforts to create space for SAP Certification in the market.
The certifications are available to its employees, customers, partners and independent consultants. SAP partners are the companies enrolling SAP partnership program and provide SAP solutions and services e.g. IT consulting companies like IBM, Accenture, TCS, etc.
Independent consultants are for freelance career and provide consulting services to clients in their specialized skill area.
In the SAP's scheme of things, what does the Certification mean for its partners and independent consultants? For them it means to validate their experience and skills with the relevant SAP certification leading to increased customer trust and marketability. Experienced SAP consultants can use SAP Certification for adding credentials to their profile. SAP employees also certify to showcase SAP's commitment on this front and to benchmark their services.
Time for a reality check ! In practice, SAP customers don't generally treat certification as a mandatory requirement. And they don't link certification to the experience and expertise gained by an SAP professional working on projects. We can say that SAP consulting market is not a certification driven market like for some of the other technologies. Naturally only a small percentage of SAP professionals are certified.
Apart from SAP provided training and certification, there are third parties which provide SAP training and award their own certification. Naturally, such certification does not carry any value. I don't mean that all third party training is worthless. There may even be genuinely good and quality SAP training programs and suitable for your learning needs.
On your journey on the SAP career path, there is no direct answer to the question – Can you gain a clear advantage from being a certified consultant?
In conclusion, while that is not to say that SAP Certification is entirely useless and may add weight to your profile. But it can not replace the expertise and experience gained through working on projects. The clients will always like to onboard experienced professionals who have done the similar work before instead of a lesser (or not at all) experienced certified one. There is one possibility - provided rest of the things in the profile remaining same, the certified professional can have an edge and can prove to be tie-breaker.
Though for experienced SAP professionals, it may be a matter of choice just to add more credentials to their profile, it is a different ball game altogether for the beginners, who want to make a career switch to SAP.
For a beginner, SAP Certification can fetch the first SAP job. But you can not be sure. You may get a break. You may not. SAP Certification can be useful to break into SAP careers but other factors including educational background, domain experience, SAP knowledge (ability to recall what you studied) and not the least, chance factor (interviewer's expectations, etc.) also play role.
Students too have their pick of the SAP stuff during their graduation and post-graduation programs.
SAP has a University Alliance Program (UAP) through which the universities have access to SAP systems and offer a 10-day certification course to their students.
Hope the information above gave you a broad understanding of the topic. Best of Luck in your quest ! Don't forget to leave your comments below about your thoughts.