I have recently read many articles disregarding the importance of certifications – the argument being that experience is always regarded upon much more highly during the hiring process. This seems to be the belief nowadays with many SAP users/consultants. Here is an example of this:
While I don’t necessarily disagree, I think it’s important to remind people that certifications can be useful, and there are times when it can advance your career. I have personally seen it benefit me in certain situations. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons:
1. Reassures the client
Part of consulting is to make the customer feel comfortable (the same goes for internal SAP teams, except the customer in the case are your end-users). Whether you have the perfect solution, or a complicated work around, it doesn’t matter. As long as the customer is convinced that you have provided them with the best solution for their situation, they’ll be satisfied. A certification gives you that extra push when you’re making an impression and selling the solution. It will help you gain the client’s trust. It would be similar to getting a CA to do your taxes. It’s not necessary, but you would feel more comfortable if they were certified.
2. Marketability outside of the firm
Every consulting firm needs to win projects. One of the steps in the process is to submit a profile of their candidates to the client for evaluation. There’s no personal interaction here, so the only thing selling you is your CV. Simply having the word ‘Certified’ on it will not win you any project, but will the reader with a better impression of you (the same can be said for freshers looking to get into SAP).
Note: As always, experience still plays a bigger factor, but being certified would make it look better.
3. Marketability within the firm
A requirement of SAP is that it requires SAP selling partners to reach a number of certified consultants to maintain their partnership. If you can help the company reach their targets, your perceived value in the firm will undoubtedly increase as well. Not to mention, if a project comes along in your field of expertise, you will more likely have the opportunity to take it on.
“consider the case of an MM/PP consultant or employee who has always wanted to break into APO but never had the chance. So, they go out and obtain an APO-related certification on their own time, on their own dime. As it turns out, this kind of pro-active investment makes a very positive impression on employers, and it also gives the consultant an expanded knowledge base in an area that "extends" from their core skills.”
4. Prove your knowledge
Even if it’s not for the purpose of impressing your company or clients, it is worth proving to yourself that you understand the fundamentals of the modules. You might have several years of experience, but having your knowledge validated will give you a confidence boost. The next time you present solutions and ideas, you’ll sound much more confident. That in itself is worth a lot.
5. An opportunity to learn
I had a few years of experience with SAP before taking my certification exam. Even so, while studying for the test, I learnt a lot of SAP functionalities that I never knew existed. It also gave me the chance to see how all the pieces of SD were connected together. I can say that I was surprised to see how much I learnt.
I have seen non-certified SAP professionals (with experience) not being aware of standard SAP functionalities. They end up developing solutions that could be performed by a simple checkbox in configuration. No matter how many years of experience you have, you will be surprised as to how much you can learn by studying for the exam.
Clearly, an SAP certification doesn't mean that you’re qualified to lead an SAP project. The same thing could be said about people who look only at the candidate’s number of years of SAP experience however. It is impossible to judge a candidate by either, but if you want to increase your value and expand your knowledge, having a certification can only benefit you.