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In last two months I attended ITIL & TOGAF trainings (thankfully sponsored by my employer), attempted & passed the exams and was certified in IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture. A great addition to my earlier Prosci Change Practitioner and SAP Associate Project Manager & HR Application Consultant certifications, I happily shared the updates of my recent achievements with my professional network. The feedback was overwhelming and while I received many congratulation messages I also received number of queries, mainly the “why”, “what” and “how” of the qualifications. I’m writing this 1) to thank you all for your kind words and 2) to share my learning experience, to answer

  1. Why not just SAP Qualifications?

  2. What non-SAP Qualifications? And

  3. How to obtain SAP and other qualifications?

Before I answer the above, I’ll ask you to focus on following 3 principles:

  1. Interestingly it’s neither qualification nor experience the ‘actual’ requirement at work; it’s the skill. You have to have the skills to perform the tasks you are assigned to.

  2. The qualification is considered relevant when it is aligned with the skill in demand. You have to pursue qualification which teaches or endorses the skill(s) required in the job market.

  3. Goal-setting (aiming for something) and time planning (distributing time evenly between activities) help one in targeting and achieving relevant qualifications.

Now coming back to the questions, here are my answers.

Why not just SAP Qualifications?

There are number of SAP qualifications which you and I can take to enhance our technical skillset. However, when it comes to demonstrate such expertise, at an implementation project or a support role, an incumbent is required to do more than merely showing how a certain application works. (Read Are they serious? Yes, they are! Expectations of SAP Users from SAP Consultants in an Organization)The businesses need certain problems to be solved and for you to provide a suitable solution you have to have certain additional skills, including the ability to see the big picture and to recommend (not one but different) feasible, workable, and long-lasting solutions. This is where a need to have additional qualifications arises for a SAP Consultant.

What non-SAP Qualifications?

For a SAP Professional, the knowledge of other areas, beyond his/her specialization, is good as it helps in guiding customers on integration aspects. However, generally most of us have mastered one / two areas, to serve particular lines of businesses or a verticals, and have the relevant certifications to showcase our abilities to potential employers. In order to succeed, you have to have variety of skills. (Read Skill Set a SAP Consultant need to have, to succeed). Depending on your interest, you can add few other IT qualifications to your profile to get your skills and experience endorsed by professional bodies of knowledge.

Currently (and since early 2015) I’m on a Change Management role within a SAP Support function and as such I was keen to have Prosci and ITIL certifications (now I’ve them). Similarly you can choose for yourself which qualifications match your aspirations.

How to obtain SAP and other qualifications?

The biggest challenge Consultants have, while they are engaged at projects, is to avoid distractions and to focus on additional learning. It’s not only our challenge, being Consultants, it’s actually everyone’s. My wife has the same concern but she manages the chores well and she always tells me to allocate some time for activities which are important for a healthy life. I haven’t applied her advice to exercise yet but have done so for learning new skills : ) And here it is;

  1. Do not set unachievable targets, instead give yourself enough time.

  2. Do not overload yourself, as there are other priorities as well.

  3. Follow the schedule you set for self, as much as you can.

I shared few tips at Developing learning profile with openSAP courses as well. Read them through to benefit from free learning source.

Celebrating 2017 Achievements and Setting Career Goals for 2018

I can say 2017 was a productive year for me from many perspectives including the professional qualifications i.e. TOGAF and ITIL and I’m aiming for few other qualifications (SAP and others) and hope could have them soon. Have you set your goals already for 2018?
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