Not everyone wants to start their own business, and who can blame them? It can be a pain more often than not – long hours, hiring and managing employees, managing a budget and expenses, dealing with vendors and customers. For many, working for someone else saves them from having to focus on areas that don’t interest them and allows them to focus on what they want to do – whether that’s accounting, IT, being a lawyer, or any other of a variety of professions. While this mentality is understandable, even the most dedicated employees need to consider the advantages of thinking of their career as their business.
This doesn’t mean taking ownership in the company you’re working for – although that is an admirable quality as well. Instead, it means handling your job, your skills, and your career path the same way you would handle a business. You and your skill sets are marketable goods. Your current company and any other companies that might hire you in the future are your customers. What can you do to ensure you’ll always have a ready and willing stream of customers now and in the future?
The first thing to consider is not relying on just one company’s products for your livelihood. No, this isn’t a pitch about getting several part-time jobs rather than one full-time job. We’re talking about IT solutions, and just about everyone is guilty of a certain amount of tunnel vision.
For example, many people make a living off of setting up and launching Windows networks. However, as unrealistic as it might seem right now, there may in fact come a day when Microsoft is no longer the gold standard.
If that seems a little too unrealistic to contemplate, consider a few ghostly names of tech giants past – Yahoo, Sony, AOL and Research in Motion. A number of these companies set the bar in their particular fields back in the day – and were promptly surpassed. How many people who were developing for the Blackberry ended up having to switch fields as Apple became the leader in smart phones? Did anyone ever think we’d progress past the days of dial-up on AOL to a world dependent on broadband? And as each of these technologies shifted, so did the work force.
Hopefully the sceptics are starting to get an inkling – it’s not enough to know just one particular program. One particular system. One particular language. You need to be able to adapt when the tables turn. If all you know is ABAP and you don’t have a grasp on other types of computer programming, how will you adapt if Java ever stops being the darling of the programming world?
A career in SAP starts setting your feet on the right path – as a business solution, it almost forces you to learn other areas of technology by default.
- Mobile access
- Cloud computing
- App development
But don’t limit your education to just SAP – while it has a stable foundation and a solid-looking future, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know more general concepts about ERP systems than just what SAP provides. In fact, learning systems like Oracle and SalesForce can provide you with some new perspectives on ERP systems that will make your SAP understanding just that much deeper.
SAP may be the market leader for years to come, but having these additional skills to draw from makes you more valuable in the short-term and makes your career more adaptable in the long-term.