Some Diversification Is A Necessity
When selecting an area to focus on in SAP and information technology in general, there are a number of factors a professional can consider. What kinds of jobs are available? What trends are just emerging? Are there any legacy systems to become familiar with and help transition to new technology?
Plotting out a career path based on the current types of jobs available on the market is not necessarily a bad move. It shows some foresight, particularly for young people who decide to go with what might get them hired and not what will prepare them for a future minimum wage career unrelated to their field of study. That said, a little more analysis might prove even more beneficial and pave the way for an even more lucrative career.
Consider the problem with selecting something that is currently trendy: trends come and go, and what might be top of the line now could end up in the bargain bins in short order. This analogy can easily be applied to jobs: it may have seemed like a good idea to hire a bunch of SAP HTML5 programmers recently, but how long will the industry’s fascination with the language last? Do those programmers have a strong enough foundation in anything else that their skills will transfer? If not, they may soon become bargain IT professionals themselves.
In information technology, it often pays to be the “little black dress” of professionals – a classic, suitable for any occasion, adaptable to be dressed up or dressed down, and easy to accessorize.
For those not quite comfortable with a fashion analogy, this is the basic message: Honing a core skill set is certainly still important – after all, it is possible to diversify too much and to become just knowledgeable enough in a few areas to be dangerous. But many employers are getting smarter about their hiring, and will look not only for a few key buzz words related to their initial job posting, but other skills that show a dedication to the IT field in general and the potential for unique approaches to the IT issues their company faces each day (i.e. the “accessories” that make the core skill set even more attractive).
Put another way, consider the old adage,
“to the man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
To someone who has only ever worked with SAP, they may not be familiar with other ways to address enterprise IT needs. Far from detracting from your SAP knowledge, learning other systems may give you more ideas on how to customize your particular SAP system to incorporate desirable features or address business processes you were not sure how to map properly.
Or, if getting your feet wet in another system does not sound all that appealing, at least developing a basic understanding of business, accounting, human resources, or the manufacturing process can help you become that much more appealing to employers and that much more empathetic to the needs they have and how to incorporate them in the SAP system.
In order to be a well-rounded IT professional, it does pay to focus. Concentrate your work on a particular area or segment of the field and build your knowledge, demonstrating your commitment to your given niche.
It shows dedication to future employers and helps you stand out from the crowd of generic IT professionals out there. But, having a secondary skill set that enhances the first is just as important, whether it means taking business classes or doing an introductory program on, for example, Oracle, just to see what other systems besides SAP are doing.
Some employers even conduct their resume searches based not just on who has the most experience in a given field, but who has secondary skills that might make them more effective overall. SAP professionals are therefore well-advised to have not only a strong foundation in SAP, but also in other skills that enhance their SAP knowledge base.