Hello. I've recently completed a course in SAP BI and am studying for my SAP BI Certification.
Now, it seems starting out in SAP as a mid-career switch is not that easy, especially if you do not have 3 - 4 years of SAP experience already.
But being a lucrative career, it has attracted a lot of unsavoury SAP wannabe "consultants" who will do almost anything to get a job. You can read more about SAP Consulting fraud here.
Coming from the other side of the fence, I thought I'd share what really happens on the other side. (Yes, it's like storm-trooper training on the death star)
Everyone normally would want to move himself into a better place, and that is perfectly fine. Having more means you can better help others too. (I do it for God, what about you?)
Therefore after doing some research, one finds that SAP will lead to a good career. All's great, where do I sign up? Naturally, to be able to be a SAP consultant, one needs to know SAP, so one will do a course.
When researching SAP courses, there's the problem that the official SAP courses are VERY expensive. There are also other SAP courses that are not run by SAP.
When one joins one of those non-official SAP courses, the school mentions that all we need is the knowledge and the (SAP) world is our oyster.
What surprised me was that besides the usual people who have other IT background, or core business background like Finance, HR, Sales etc. are people who are not from business or IT backgrounds. Okay, nevermind, everybody gets a chance to improve their situation.
Going into class made me realise something else - there are people who are generally interested and there are those who paid good money, some even twice, but who simply refuse to participate in class. I have no idea why they take the course if they are not interested.
Then after the course ended, we were in what was supposed to be an "internship" but really, it was an instructor teaching about SAP project management and just implementing a simple configuration document (I dare not even call it a blueprint), and we were supposed to have completed "1 SAP Lifecycle using ASAP". Incidentally, I even found the so called "blueprint" on the internet so it can't have been a real company. The school even had a "CV design consultancy" which basically modified our CVs to put in some SAP experience, but mainly it's all the technical SAP jargon and nothing about the project (which is quite useless). However, I did learn a lot about what actually goes on in a project and about ASAP methodology which is good.
What I experienced in that class was generally a feeling of desperation. Everybody there was so desperate to get ahead fast that it seems morals were flung out of the window. One of the instructors told us to be "smart" when going for interviews, in other words, to fluff up our experience. We were taught what a 3 - 4 years experienced consultant could have learnt in just 8 weeks or so it seemed, so we were qualified as it was claimed.
Seems like nobody wants to do things the slow and right way anymore, to cut your teeth, learn on the job and grow as a person. I've come across people who stretch the truth to blatantly lying on their CVs and LinkedIn profiles. Friends, firstly, if your intention is to cheat and lie, how can you complain when you are having so much trouble getting a job? And secondly, why do you risk disgrace if you did get the job and was discovered later?
To BE a SAP consultant, you need to know the material inside out, and then go out and help people. If you are a carpenter, you need to know your woodwork and then build something for someone. If you are a doctor, you need to know the body, and then save lives. It is the same with SAP, know your product, and then solve a business problem. I would be terrified if my doctor had someone interviewed for him or had lied in his CV, wouldn't you?
I'm never going back to the school again. But it's not just about the school, it's about you too. If one compares things now with when it all began, now I know much more about SAP BI and where to traverse in the SAP world, which is infinitely better than a few months ago when I did not even have a clue where to start. SAP being so vast, now that I know more, I can learn more, which is GOOD. But watch your own intention, because it'll either lead you to your destination or your destruction.
For me, I'm going to do my certification and then see how that works out. Maybe with my experience in consultancy in business intelligence in my company, it'll take me somewhere. I've read Thomas' article here and it's true, most of my friends I know have gone through the path of starting in a consultancy or through working with a client company. However, lying and cheating will just bring you sleepless nights and having to keep making lies to maintain your cover, which is infinitely more difficult, is just plain wrong. And the internship? Well, it was a learning experience for me, on how to integrate with other core modules and how projects are managed, but it's not going in my CV as experience.