Thursday, June 20, 2013

SAP Careers for Beginners


What is SAP?

SAP AG is a German multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. 

The above definition sourced from Wikipedia doesn’t obiviouisly imply on what a career in SAP be like.

To understand the career opportunities possible in SAP one needs to understand SAP as a software product. The SAP world also, has its own lingo which I shall try my best to explain, highlighting them in blue.

What are SAP Products?

SAP Business Products - 

SAP ERP product is called ECC (Enterprise central component). It is the most prominent SAP software as it servers all major functions a company may need. ECC is the centre of any SAP customer landscape. All major transactions happen in this system, like Finance (FI), Costing, HR, sales and distribution (SD), material management (MM) etc. 

Other SAP business products are peripheral to ECC and provide additional functionalities that are not directly provided by ECC. 
CRM -
SRM - 
SCM

SAP Functional Consultant  - 

Professionals (consultants) are needed to configure the above products for the customers. These Consultants are referred to as SAP functional Consultants. Every consultant is trained and is an expert on atleast one of the above mentioned functionality. 

Ideally, to begin a career in SAP as a functional consultant you will need to have practical experience by working in one of these domains, also you need to be formally trained and certified in the same.

If you already have experience of working in any of the above domains you can get trained in SAP training centers and complete the certification. For freshers the best would be to get hired as an MBA student by an MNC, which may train you in one of the above SAP Modules. 


SAP Technical Careers

SAP is marketed as a Business solution but there are a lot of technical products that are involved in its implementation.
Technical systems like BI, Portal (EP), Portal, Middleware (PI), Data Management (MDM), etc.

For fresh Engineers possible ways to get into SAP technical jobs is if the company that hired you decides to train you in one of the above skills. Or if you can convince your employer to get you trained in it.  To self start a technical career in SAP you will need to take up training and get yourself certified in one of the below skills. Now I would not comment on how easy/difficult it is to get a job as fresher. It is a different matter all together.

SAP ABAP

Every customer ‘s need is different and SAP as a software provide functionalities to tailor needs of a large customer base across various industries.  Hence every customer has to make changes to SAP and develop additional programs in SAP to run their business. SAP coding language is called ABAP. Professionals who code this changes are called  ABAP Constants or ABAPer. 

There is no pre- qualification to be a ABAPer but having knowledge / Degree in software development is  obviously a big advantage. 


SAP BASIS

SAP Basis is slightly more difficult to explain to someone who has not worked in SAP and who does not understand SAP eco-system. A BASIS Constant is someone who is an administrator to all SAP systems running for a customer. There is no natural or well defined path that leads you to a career as a BASIS Consultant. DBAs or OS Admins can take up a conscious decision to get trained and certified  in SAP BASIS.  

SAP ABAP and BASIS are two technical skills needed for all SAP projects. These are 2 major skills with which most people begin their SAP technical career.

EP Constant  - SAP Enterprise Portal
If you have knowledge / experience in JAVA it will be quite easy for you to pick up this skill. 

BI Consultant -  SAP Business Intelligence 
One of the SAP best products and has always been a hot SAP skill. 

PI Consultant - SAP Process Integration
This is SAP's middle ware software which acts as a message broker between SAP systems and it also helps with communication with the Non SAP systems.