We see many questions in this forums from recent college graduates seeking advice for how to break into the SAP marketplace. I'd like to hear your story! If you are currently working with SAP configuration, programming, security, or system administration (not end user): how did you get your start? This thread is for stories. I am also starting another thread which will be for abbreviated versions which will be more easy to tally.
My journey started as an undergraduate. Although I studied microbiology, I was an ardent computer gamer. As a side effect, I learned about all things PC related including building machines from scratch and the ins and outs of DOS as well as other operating systems. All of this was essentially a hobby.
In 1989 I graduated with a BS in Microbiology and proceeded to UCLA to pursue a PhD in Biology (genetics but part way through I switched to X-ray crystallography). As a poor grad student, I supplemented my income by building computers and installing software for a small client base in Los Angeles. Also, in my first year of graduate school, we were all required to take an "Computers in Biology" overview class. The graduate student who taught it was horrible! I volunteered to teach it the next semester and continued to teach it for the rest of my time at UCLA (under the guidance of the magnificent Professor Simpson.)
My interest in the intersection of biology and computing grew and I frequently helped faculty and students with their computational problems. When the person who ran the computational facility retired in 1994, I knew the systems better than anyone else, so they asked me to take over. I stopped short of my PhD, earned my Masters and agreed.
In the years that followed at UCLA, I spearheaded major advancements to the data center and to the university's approach to instruction (I helped the Biology department migrate instruction from chalkboards to powerpoints/web sites among other projects.). A friend of mine asked me one day what I knew about SAP. I pulled the most recent over-sized Computerworld issue off my shelf, flipped to the back, and showed him the advertisement that claimed SAP consultants earned between $100 and $200 per hour. He immediately went for an interview and was hired. I continued at UCLA for another year or so until my friend called me one day, out of the blue, and told me SAP America was hiring and that I should check it out.
My projects at UCLA were running smoothly and had pretty much plateued. I was confident that others could carry on what I'd started, so I researched SAP in a bit more detail. The SAP architecture and the idea of helping companies improve efficiency appealed to me, so I applied.
I was hired by SAP America in 1998 to work as an SAP Basis consultant. At the time there was not enough SAP talent out in the world, and hiring experienced os/db administrators with no SAP experience was the only way for SAP to get the necessary employees. I'd say at the time I was pretty typical for the new hires. Most had 4 to 6 years of system administration or database administration experience. We had a mix of UNIX and Windows backgrounds in the class. I underwent a 13 week training ordeal and was placed with a senior consultant at a customer site. I worked for SAP America for 12 years before I had to get off the road. During that time I worked over half a dozen go-lives, worked with dozens of customers, lived in Germany for over a year, moved my family 8 times to support projects, and built a network of friends and colleagues that I cherish. Today I work for a small SAP firm who focuses on one geography. This has allowed me to continue with SAP work but stay off the road.
One note: In 1998, there was no pool of experienced SAP Basis folks on the market from which SAP could pull. SAP America did a few more New Hire waves but I think the last I remember was 2004 or so. After that, SAP only hired experienced SAP folks. I conducted the lion's share of the technical interviews for my region (SAP's technical consulting practice was broken into 4 or 5 national regions at the time), so I can tell you my experience was that most applicants to SAP from about 2005 and on got their start in the SAP support group at a customer. I'm curious to hear the stories others in this forum have to tell.
Please include the year you started serious (not end user) SAP work. If you were hired into the position, please relate how your work history/experience compared to others who started in your organization at about the same time if you can. Also, please mention if/when you were certified. I certified in Basis in 1999 and again in 2004 I think. I certified in Solution Manager in 2010ish.
Hopefully we'll get a good mix of functional, programming, security, and basis stories. If I missed anyone (training? org management? project management?) feel free jump in. Don't forget to register the short form of your story too! The question is open to all!
I hope this will be enlightening!
My path is,......No IT backgorund .......Never think of SAP 18 years back when i joined first job....But was the great attraction to IT industries...
Bachelor degree in science------> Get in job manufacturing industry in Quality control dept-----> Spent 18 years chemical & petorchemical industies as QC incharge ------> Get oppoturnity as core team while implementation in domain-------> Left job & Join as SAP QM consultant in IT industries--------> From last 3 years SAP QM_PP Consultant...
It is very intresting and inspiration blog for SAP professionals to start and remain in SAP community..
Your story is inspirational to many. Some think that it is difficult or even impossible to switch to SAP after 18 years, but as your story attests, it is not only possible but happens all the time. I would argue that for functional consulting, you are far more valuable to a customer as compared to the freshly minted MBA just starting out since you have a wealth of real world, practical experience and wisdom you can provide during the blueprint and don't have to rely solely on what you've read. I'm not saying that MBA freshers don't add value, just that folks are often too quick to dismiss the added value someone who has really lived their specialty can bring.
Best wishes for continued success!
This is Ajay from Pune, India. Currently working in IBM India as SAP ABAP Consultant. From childhood I wanted to become a doctor & serve people. But when I saw computer game for the first time in 2000, I changed my mind & took Computer Science instead of Biology for Senior High School (11th & 12th standard). I enjoyed every bit of learning about how PC works, softwares, games etc. Even though in 2001 there was twin-tower collapse & sudden IT doom, I had made my mind that I'm gonna make career as a Software Pro. So enrolled for B.Tech Information Technology course (2002-2006). Now starts the journey.
I heard about SAP from a friend in 2004 (in 2nd year of my B.tech). He used to tell that SAP is such a big thing & that after B.Tech he is gonna do a 1 month course of SAP & will get a starting salary of 5-6Lac INR pa. We (classmates) used to laugh that it is a big joke. That time it was indeed a huge salary considering the fact that freshers used to get a salary of Max 2Lac INR pa, till 2006 when I graduated.
I wanted to make it big hence enrolled for MS Information Technology course (2006-2008) from IIIT (1 of the top 10 engineering colleges of India). I got job offer from IVL India & Sun Microsystems. IVL India was the First Company to start providing SAP Services in India long before 1995. But Sun was my dream company hence joined it. Then in 2009 Oracle acquired Sun which started the horrible time in midst of global recession. Also the girl whom I wanted to marry was in Kerala & her family put a condition that they will be ready for marriage only if I work in Kerala. FYI, I'm from New Delhi. There is lot of cultural,linguistic difference between our families. Its like a German marries Japanese ! There is a great novel '2 States' by Chetan Bhagat which emulates my marriage.
So here I am from New Delhi => Trivandrum, Kerala, looking for job. Got a call from IVL India for SAP ABAP. Went through the written/interviews & started career in SAP ABAP in August 2009. Collabera acquired IVL India. Its office is in Technopark Trivandrum, very beautiful, green, fresh air & what not
Collabera has a SAP Certified Addon Product called Optisuite. I was part of multiple implementations of Optisute & learned a lot from clients about their respective businesses. Then joined IBM, Pune. I still miss Collabera for its quality work culture & awesome place. IBM work culture is also cool, learning somany things in so much little time. Its great feeling
So at the end I would say that I got a SAP Career because of my Wife (maybe this is one of cases where people say "There is a woman behind every successful man.")
What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it! For US based colleagues, 5-6Lac INR pa equates to about $10,000 to $12,000 per year starting salary (if I'm using my currency converter correctly) for a brand new ABAPer right out of college, which you and your friends thought was outrageous since $4,000 per year was standard for college gradate. Those numbers were quite shocking to me when I read them. In the United States, that equates to the kind of salaries high school dropouts expect. It really highlights the reasons behind the massive outsourcing of jobs to India over the last few decades.
I was also interested in your description of the differences between regions in India. Many in the US think of India as one seamless country when in fact there are significant regional differences. Yet if you ask an American if folks are the same in New York (or any of the Atlantic States) and Alabama (or any of the Southern States), you'll definitely raise a lively discussion on the differences, yet we all speak the same basic dialects and have much more in common culturally when compared to differences inside India or China or a number of other countries. It is for stories like your that I opened up this thread. Delightful!
I wish continued happiness and success for you and your family! Thanks again!
I am a very determined and enterprising female Aastha, from Delhi the capital city of India. Currently, I am a SAP ABAP Consultant, working in Mumbai.
My association with IT has been 2 and half years long. 2 months more than my experience in SAP. It has been a very smooth journey for over two years in SAP ABAP, now.
Let's talk about the year 2005 when I set foot into first year of my graduation in Mechanical engineering. I was a Maths and Computers student and used to be spectacular with C and C++, I loved programming. I bagged several feathers in my cap owing to my programming skills, in the school days.
However, I was always fascinated by Mechanics and Aeronautics . Hence, I planned to pursue Bachelors in Mechanical engineering and down the line, Masters in Aeronautical engineering. I enrolled for Mechanical Engineering class and started chasing my brainchild. My dad always wanted me to work in an air-conditioned cubicle rather than fixing machines in a fevered workshop. He insisted that I should switch to studying Computer Science and work for some prestigious IT firm; I had to give a nod. He had a word with the manager of my college and I was moved to CS . I immigrated into my new Computer Science class. The next 3 years of my graduation vanished creating code snippets. In the third year of Graduation, I was selected by Larsen & Toubro Infotech, in the phenomenon of campus recruitments. That was the year 2008 (I was to graduate in the year 2009), the year of global IT slump. Hence, my joining date in the company was indefinitely delayed. I decided to move on, and joined HCL BPO, the day I graduated 10th of June 2009 (the only job requirements at that point of time popped from the BPO sector). I worked for a technical process of AT & T, for a period of 3 months. Nonetheless, I was not happy with the work there; owing to the odd shifts we had to work in (US time). I decamped from HCL and joined Dell in a Hardware profile but that work as well could not make me sojourn. I quit in another one month. It was the month of November, 2009 and I was not sure about the things ahead. Conclusively, I decided to further my studies and started preparing for the GRE exam, to pursue MS from the USA. Howbeit, destiny again played it's cards, I got an email from L & T Infotech confirming my joining date to be the 6th of January, 2010 .
I joined L&T on 6th of January. I underwent a rigorous training and got cross skilled on various platforms for a period of 2 months. Finally, I was selected to work in SAP as an ABAP developer.
Since then, it has been an amazing world of possibilities for me to explore. I am still burrowing into it, in the quest of seeking enlightenment
I intend to get certified in ABAP at the Tech Ed-2012.
So, this is how, I bumped into SAP and happened to be a proud member of the SAP community.
You never know where life will take you! Thank you for sharing your story! I plan to use your story as a prime example for something I say often. Get the job first, then get the training/certification! I see too many folks who have been convinced by an institute that they need to pay for all of their SAP training up front, before getting an SAP job. My experience (as well as yours and many other from what I can tell from the short version of this thread) has been that companies hire for entry level positions based on many factors, but certification is not one of them. Certification can be a big help in the middle career and is certainly a good validation that you have covered the basics. I can tell, though, that with or without certification you have a long and bright future ahead! Thank you again for sharing your story!
Best wishes on your continued success!
Hi Tom -
I actually had a unique situation. I was hired as an Organizational Change Management intern on an SAP project my junior year at the University of Southern California. I later discovered that USC has an academic partnership with SAP through which students may become certified in MySAP Business Suite. I jumped at that opportunity, and it was a great hands-on experience. Fast forward a few years down the road, after I'd moved to a consulting firm, I met a guy who was on the Basis team at CSU Chico. He was responsible for maintaining the USC course servers housed in Chico. Small world!
I began in an end user company, a manufacturer of ceramic tiles. After my university in Economics, my former interest was statistics and econometrics. But as my computing skills were weak, I decided improve them. After some time I learnt Visual Basic (I forgot it all now !!!) and after some time woking as a clerical worker I was hired by this company in 1998. In this company I built little applications for finance (I was a kind of Assistant Controller for budgeting, reporting, treasury,...) with MS Access and VBA. In 2000 they decided to run SAP. I became the key user for CO and I was trained in ABAP (in the company we were the only workers with programming skills) for a release 46B. Other of my roles was create the files to populate data in SAP, so, I learnt a lot about dictionary, functional flows and so on. As the key module was SD and there were a lot of gaps, my bosses gave me the opportunity for guessing to solve them (I remember a SAP Mentor calls this learning way 'dirty hands') in typical issues: reports, forms (SAPscript), customizing gaps (CO reports, layout to enter data in CO, ...).
During 2002 I was trained in some customizing tools (LIS, advanced COPA,...) and after some time I began to do more complicated things in SD (pricing, VOFM subroutines,...) and with ABAP.
In 2007 I left this company and I guess as a Senior SD in a Consultancy Firm where I was working during a year. After one year I left this consultancy firm because I had the opportunity to work as a Senior Business Analyst (where I go on) because it is a retailer, and I understood that perhaps I will never have again the opportunity to handle an IS-Retail and because I needed return to ABAP.
HI Tom and all SAP Friends,
Well your stories are interesting, i would also like to share my story with you all and would appreciate if you guide me further way in this.
I have decided to become software engineer when I was in 8th std and was not knowing much about computers except some basic fundamentals. I started my carrier in 2007 in well known Automobile Company called Skoda Auto as an after sales officer which was not at all related to my field (IT field) initially. Parallel I was doing MCA and same I completed in 2010 with so much of hasals as because i was doing job i was not attending the college and MCA being a regular course attendance was compulsary but my friends helped me lot for giving my Proxy in class. i used to go to college twice in a week only. I left the Skoda and went to Pune for .net course in last year of MCA after coming from there my marriage got fixed and I came to Bangalore in Dec 2010 one of my husbands Friend had offered me to work in his company (Jockey India) as SAP SD tech support. I thought why not…let’s take a chance and I started working in it but I was not known to the depth of SAP that time and its market value. Sometimes I used to feel very boar while working in it as being a fresher I was not having much work to do. But slowly I got hands on SAP SD pricing and many other interesting areas and now I don’t have any second thought about it...I learnt MM too small part and ABAP debugging and problem finding in very short span of time. Now my BOSS is dependent on me….i want to switch my company and my target is SAP Labs I want to see my self working there with all grate SAP people.
Thanks Thomas....thanks for the complement. Thomas I would request you to please let me know any book or some study material to understand more about SAP SD. it will be helpful for me. Whatever the knowledge I gained that is from SDN posts and some documents which I created by my own with issues I came across. So if you can help me in this it will be grateful.
Since I'm a basis guy, I don't have any SD books that I've read myself that I can recommend. I did, however, put together a list of introductory level books that available through SAP Press and/or Amazon. You can find that list at Learning SAP when you don't have an SAP job already - Books.
Hope this helps!
How can you ask such funny questions on the forum? What would you expect from the forum members? There are not here to prepare the interview questions and answers. They are only here to help you and give you direction. If you mug 100 questions, then interviewer will ask you 101st question.
Please note that you are putting your questions in public forums and you will be watched by everybody.
I hope we did not discourage you from asking questions! Asking questions is good and healthy. We're just trying to channel your efforts into the most probable path of success. Without more info, though, it's hard for us to give good advice. I wish you much success in your journey!
I share many of the opinions of Ravi. Preparing for a technical interview is counterproductive. Do you have enough experience to apply for the position in the first place? If you are a fresher with only a certification and you are applying for a consultant position, then the answer is no. Please go back and read Advice for Recent College Graduates (aka "Freshers").
If you have been doing ABAP for a while as your primary job and are now applying for a job that requires experience, relax and be honest with your interviewer. ABAP is 5 miles wide and 5 miles deep. No one is going to expect you to know it all. Be honest about what you know and what you don't know. If you get asked about something about which you know nothing, say so. Then describe how you would go about learning more on that topic and discuss whether or not that topic is something that interests you. If it does interest you, let them know how eager you are to learn more about that topic. If not, then that's important information too. They are not only selecting you, you need to select the right opportunity. If you take a job doing something you hate, you'll burn out.
Make sure the company and the job are a good fit for your interests. I realize at the lower levels, you may not know where your interests will lie. You should look for a job that will expose you to a wide variety of tasks within the ABAP programming field.
The worst thing you can do is to land a position for which you are not qualified. If you study up for an interview and "trick" him/her into hiring you for a position for which you are not qualified, you are going to fail at the job. SAP is a small world. Failures, especially failures that have a halo of dishonesty around them, will haunt you for a long, long time and may very well prevent you from getting positions that you are actually qualified for and which are right in your primary interest zone. Don't risk that. Be honest. Study ABAP for the love of extending your knowledge and competence, not just to get a job. In the long run, someone who is passionate about their chosen subject will be successful. Find your passion.
Hope this helps!
This is Sanjay from Hyderabad, I have always been interested in developing my career without the support of my parents. My father has his own Firm(Financial Planning). If I would have done B.COM or any other accounting courses, i could have joined him and worked for his firm which wouldn't have required any struggle, but since, i was always focussed on making a career which is different & dynamic and also brings in fame and adds to my individuality, i choose IT. I was a computer-freak in my secondary and higher education, 24*7 on social networking websites, checking in with new application & gadgets in the market, upcoming technologies and many other stuffs. My mother always wanted me to work with my father, in his firm, but i would always deny and convince her that i would make a career and develop on my own.
I took B.Tech-CSE in my graduation in 2007 from Mahaveer Institute of Science and Technology(Was in top 10 colleges in my state). In the last semester, I was offered a job by HCL Technologies. I accepted the offer. After successful completion of my graduation, I was waiting for a call from HCL for 8 months. In the meantime, i gave few interviews for BPO & KPO's,but nothing was working my way. Finally, i gave an interview as a s/w engg in MAQ Softwares and cleared all the interview rounds. When i was about to sign an agreement with MAQ, I received the Call from HCL. I was confused on which offer to accept & which to deny. I consulted few friend of mine. HCL was offering me SAP-ABAP domain and MAQ was offering me .NET platfrom. All of my friends suggested me to join HCL as its a brand and SAP-ABAP is a course which would fetch me higher pay and recognition with higher opportunities. Since, I wasn't sure about what to do, i started surfing and finding details on net, when comparing .Net & SAP, i understood that SAP is vast and will provide me lot of learning + enable me to understand Business Processes. Finally after lot of survey, I decided to go with SAP-ABAP in HCL.
I've been trained in SAP-Abap Basics for three months. I loved the software. Every single day, i would learn something new about SAP. After completion of the training, i worked with the acadamy on some research and development in SAP. Today, being on bench(waiting for project to work on),I do not feel disappointed, as SAP is ocean of knowledge. Daily, i come to office and check out with different domains in SAP and feel amazed at its solutions for different realtime scenarios. Right now, I am trying to understand SAP-CRM domain by using some pdfs and other documentation. Do help me with presentations or case-studies which would help me in understanding it in a better and easier way. Hope, I get some project to work on ASAP.
Today, I feel happy that i made a right decision and my parents are proud of me working in a corporate world.
Thanks Tom for the opportunity. Hope my story encourages others who aspire to join & work with SAP.