But where exactly does it lead you?
High demand, diverse job offers and a considerable salary – SAP consultants are sought-after like never before. The on-going success of SAP AG causes more and more companies to use SAP software. Or, vice versa, more companies buying SAP software causes SAP to be so successful. From which perspective you decide to see it, it is a fact that with the number of SAP customers rising, the demand for qualified SAP consultants becomes higher as well. But what exactly do you do as an SAP consultant? Where do you work? And what if you do not want to work as a consultant?
SAP AG counts more than 180.000 customers world-wide in 2012 and there is no prospect of an end to this success story. New technologies such as Business ByDesign and HANA, an In-Memory technology that allows filtering and analysing terabytes of data within seconds, are becoming increasingly important. But also classical applications such as CRM and BI have not yet seized to trigger new customers. SAP is constantly working on new products and improving their old ones. That means more and more customers need to be supported and consulted. Therefore, evermore consultants are necessary.
“SAP Consultant”, however, is not an official job title. There is no ready-made way of education. What you need, though, is knowledge of economic matters as well as technical know-how, e.g. from Informatics or Engineering. On top of that, you need a good grasp of different SAP modules. You can acquire a lot of this during internships and extra curricula SAP courses aside your regular studies. Additionally, social skills are as important as a good degree and practical knowledge of the subject matter. As a third aspect, work experience plays a distinctive role for consultants and because most graduates have not yet gained any or enough work experience, a trainee program is a good way to do the first steps into the world of consulting. Trainee positions can be found directly at SAP as well as at all kinds of consultancies (Accenture, IBM, T-Systems etc.) and big enterprises (in-house consulting is very widespread these days).
As an SAP consultant, you finally choose between three areas of activity: Business Consultancy, Solution Consultancy, and Technology Consultancy. Business consultants analyse a company’s business processes and recognise necessary changes that will help to improve them by means of SAP software. Solution consultants actually present the different SAP modules and help companies to find the right solution that matches their needs. Technology consultants help to create the basis for SAP products: They implement the system and customize the software in order to mirror the company’s business processes.
As a consultant, you can either be employed by a consultancy which means that you will be working on varying projects and with varying clients from all over the world. Or you can be employed by a company to be an in-house consultant. In both cases, it cannot be narrowed down which field a company has to be active in in order to offer jobs for SAP consultants.
Considering the number of 180.000 SAP customers, SAP consultants are sought-after in companies of all kinds of areas and of any size. Self-employment is another good alternative. Due to the high demand for SAP consultants, the order situation is very good and so is the salary.
Not anyone wants to be a consultant
SAP-skills are of great importance for a successful career, but you do not have to feel pushed into consultancy after acquiring them. SAP-skills are important in almost all other positions today: Marketing, Controlling, Human Resources… Every business process can be – or is – represented in an SAP System. So, if you have no interest in supporting a customer by implementing a new system for his company, you might still be interested in knowing how to use this system. Acquiring this knowledge on-the-job is hard work and it prevents you from taking job-related tasks in the first weeks and months at your new position. Thus, leaving the university with SAP-skills will make it easier for you to handle a foreign SAP system at your future employer. By implication, that means that a company is more likely to employ you when you can start with your tasks right away and do not spend much time on acquiring SAP-skills anymore.
Which field of SAP is the most suitable for you depends on the expectations you have about your career path. The general SAP product most companies use is SAP ERP. All further SAP knowledge is built upon that. Without any former experience in SAP, you are well-advised to start with SAP ERP and then decide what’s next. SAP CRM is the most interesting for people who plan going into marketing. SAP PPS (Manufacturing) matches your needs when you wish to go into process engineering or product management, and ABAP is for those who are planning to become software developers and want to make direct changes to an SAP system by using this programming language. SAP BI is the most suitable if your goal is to become a business analyst and/or manager at some point. BI is a tool for data warehousing (being an informative system in contrast to ERP, CRM or SCM being operative systems). It helps structuring and analysing data, which helps managers to make valid decisions in order to improve processes of any kind.
As you see, there is an SAP product for all areas within a company (the mentioned ones are by far not all existing products) and you are very likely to face at least one of them during your future career. Preparing for that cannot be the wrong decision!
SAP Skills Help You Starting a Career – No Matter in Which Field
To constantly offer the best counselling possible, SAP consultants need to be very well-trained in the use of different SAP modules. Due to new programs and versions coming up, “life-long learning” is inevitable. Also for employees who use SAP software products, further training is part of the job because as technology changes, their users have to stay up-to-date. Starting to develop an understanding of SAP software whilst still at university increases every graduate’s career opportunities. Being able to show an SAP certification when applying for a job is always a big bonus. On top of that, erp4students gives you the chance to acquire a second certificate (by the University of Duisburg-Essen) that states your practical skills on the system. An SAP certificate proves your knowledge of SAP theory. It does not say that you can actually use the system. That is why the university certificate from Duisburg-Essen is so valuable.
Your future employer will see that you will not need extensive on-the-job training, no expensive SAP in-house trainings and that you will be able to start with your actual job right away. These are strong arguments in your favour.
In a close cooperation with SAP University Alliances, erp4students wants to give you the best SAP education you can get aside your regular studies. For more than seven years erp4students has been offering SAP e-learning courses and more than 1.800 students have become certified by SAP already. Take the chance as well: Increase your career opportunities and prepare for your future job by acquiring invaluable SAP-skills!