Side note: I provide the information of the number of points for every man/woman I cite and also a link to their profiles/ business cards. You can check the credits of the people to judge, if you can trust their opinion.
Welcome back for the second part of the blog. As I promised the last time, I am going to come up with some thesis about how the SCN contributions can help your career.
I have learnt that without the SCN site some of the people would not have any SAP career at first place. People starting the SAP career mostly don´t have the SAP directly related education, because there are not many universities, which provide official SAP training/ study programs (but there are some! Check for yourself). That means that the newcomers understand, how to do the development in some common programming languages or how do the business processes flow, but have no experience with the way it works in SAP. For these people SCN is a great place to start.
A great example of a newcomer who is happy to start his career thank to the SCN site is Arakish (150 pts): I had no official training in SAP and before joining this site I had no real notion of what my future with SAP could hold. After spending time reviewing the various forums on SDN I now have a better idea of what my career can be. In fact before joining I was not 100% sure I would continue working with SAP in the case that I lost my current employment. Now that I have the info I found on this site I know that there is a place (as a functional consultant) for me in SAP. My "job" is now a career thanks to SDN.
Even if the newcomers ask the same questions again and again, some of the will become the SCN new superstars and could save your day one day. That is what I keep in mind when dealing with the questions about the things I consider to be totally basic and fundamental.
What about the recruitment procedures? Does anybody use SCN to track the candidate's professional career before hiring him/ her? Does that mean you contributions could really help one day, unexpectedly? True or false? There are people who think both ways.
For example Philippe Marque (160 pts) comments: If I were a recruiter, I would appreciate someone who participate in forum and help others from time to time, but I would ask me questions about someone with several thousands of points: will this guy work for me on my projects during his work hours or will he spend 2 or 3 hours per day in forums for his own glory? If you get this idea from a man, who claims to have 17 years of SAP experience, you must consider it seriously.
Jelena Perfiljeva (2760 pts) suggests staying cautious: I decided not to mention SCN contributions on my CV (or resume) for the already mentioned reasons. In this economy no one probably wants a potential employer/client to start wonder "is this person going to work or post on SCN?" Although my SCN activity has never affected my performance negatively (sometimes I even get carried away and stay after work) and my current employer very much encourages learning, you never know how others might perceive.
Luckily, there are people who claim that mentioning their SCN contributions helped their career. For example Keshav.T (5200 pts): It was a great advantage for me to get my recent job. It's like some firms promote SCN Contributions, some doesn't.
Here comes the important point: some companies do promote SCN and appreciate the contributions, some don´t. And it is the same with the people, I believe. I have not figured out how to recognize if the company or a man/woman likes SCN or not (without answering, of course). Once I figure this out, I will blog about the secret....
There are some more people, who are proud about the contributions, like Jaishankar (4000 pts): When I became an active contributor in SDN forums and started sharing my ideas, I have got 3 or 4 offers from reputed IT service companies (One of them was from SAP itself). Apparently the Project leads, who were looking at SDN either for sharing their knowledge or getting their issues discussed, noticed my involvement. I also mention I am an active contributor in SDN forums in my CV.
Here I ask myself a question. How could we help promote the value of the SCN contributions? How could we make more people to value it (of course after some research on the person, not when the decision is made based on the points)? And how could we help the SCN leaders to get a better job? Maybe we could use a flag like "open to job offers" on a business card? Maybe we could use a better integration between a business card and the career center? Then one would be able to see if the man/woman, who is interesting for him/her (that´s why he is browsing his/her business card, right?), is open for a job offer.
We have the same thing on LinkedIn, which is cool. When one uses the SCN + LinkedIn integration, the recruiter can see the points/ status (like active contributor etc.) on a single screen (well, has to scroll, if you share a lot about yourself). But if we would like to promote the SCN status/ reputation more, we could use the same thing here. And... by the way, maybe we could have the integration widen? (like new badges, fancy graphics, link to the blogs, please suggest some more).
If there is a recruiter reading this blog, he can benefit from the opinion and the "brief" SCN screening procedure description by Athol Hill (1160 pts): I do actually make a point of checking people on SDN before hiring them to see the level of questions they ask. It's an easy way to establish how much knowledge they have but I don't use it as a reference for project experience, just to check if they ask really basic questions without attempting to solve them on their own.
I would never hire someone based on their points. I would not hire them based on their questions. It's easy to gauge two things from a person's questions:
1. Does the person understand why the problem is occurring, or have they at least tried to understand. I.e. do you even bother to check what the error message actually means?
2. Have they bothered to follow basic problem solving techniques to try solving the problem. There are some basic problems which are not documented in the training material but can be resolved quite easily if you follow basic problems solving techniques.
3. Are they methodical?
4. Are they lazy? Are they trying to get other people to do their work for them?
5. Do they understand the business process behind the area they are trying to configure?
By the way, I have seen some very nice descriptions about how to screen a candidate. But most of them didn´t mention anything about the networking stuff or the SCN involvement. Why is that? Is that because the people, who are not the members of the community, are not aware of the existence of the Community? Or they don´t understand the purpose, the reputation concept?
Or is that because it takes some more time to change the habits of the recruiters?
Or maybe it is because many of the recruiters don´t have any idea about the SAP related terms, skills, don´t have any deep SAP knowledge to be able to judge the quality of the contributions?
Maybe we should help them changing the habits? Maybe we should help them understand how SCN works?