How to become a SAP consultant?

From time to time I get emails along the following lines ... 'please advise on how do I become a SAP consultant?' Obviously there is no one answer and everyone enters the market slightly differently.

Firstly determine in what area you want to specialize. Functional (example SAP SD, MM, FI, ..) or more technical (example BASIS, ABAP) or add-on products (BW, SRM, CRM...) or end-user training or some other role in the SAP "industry". If you are not 100% sure -; speak to fellow consultants or see where the demand might be in your area.. Search job sites to familiarise yourself for who wants what.

Here are some ways that I know how people got into SAP:
  • Join a consulting company
    If you have strong business knowledge (and now you want to to learn SAP)? Join a consulting company that do lots of SAP projects. Deloitte, Accenture, IBM, EDS . etc. This entry point might be easier in boom times.
  • Do the SAP Academy Training.
    If you can't find someone to sponsor you -; pay for it yourself. Costs is obviously a major factor. By the way -; costs of training from SAP is not the same in all countries. Example: I know of people that find it cheaper to fly to South Africa -; stay there for 5 weeks, do the SAP Academy and then fly back. All this cheaper than doing it in UK. So look around.
  • Join a SAP client as Trainee or Support
    Join a company that are already using SAP as a Trainee or in the Support organization. This will introduce you to SAP and they may be able to send you for academy training. The tricky bit obviously is trying to persuade them to hire you.
  • Enhance you knowledge of SAP via own study
    Start collecting SAP material and notes on SAP. Have a look at SAP website and other websites (like this one). Buddy up with a person that already know SAP to take you through the basics of your area. You still got to have access to a SAP system. See next point
  • Get access to SAP
    One can get an IDES training version of SAP to play with (search on Google). It does cost money -- so you may want to share with someone else. You would still need to get notes / training material and ideally someone that knows SAP to take you through the functionality. If possible, do the Academy exam to get at least certified.
  • SAP Support
    Join SAP rollout teams looking for people who can help end-users
    Look for big companies that are busy with roll-outs. They may be looking for bodies ("lots of people") in some remote spot . nobody want to go -; so jump at the opportunity. If you impress the company -; they may want to hire you. Or at least you will have some SAP experience on your CV.
  • Join SAP projects as a non-SAP person
    Look for projects that might not be 100% SAP. You may have a skill that they require. Example on lots of projects there is a data conversion person -; if you are good with databases / SQL -; they may take you on. Then pick up SAP.
Any other way's to enter the market?

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