Lesser-known SAP certification pays off for consultant

Industry experience used to gain course credit

While not as well known as similar programs from Microsoft or Cisco, SAP certification can do your skill set a lot of credibility, according to Brisbane-based SAP consultant and director of Windsor Business Solutions, Mick Windsor.

Windsor has about 12 years experience with SAP, including business process re-engineering and plant maintenance work with the likes of Ricegrowers and BHP Billiton, but decided to get certified four years ago when starting his own business.

"I worked with BHP Billiton as an internal SAP consultant and I was provided three weeks of one-on-one training with SAP and the Intelligroup," Windsor said. "When I was going alone I sat all the courses with SAP and paid the money myself to ensure there were no holes in my knowledge. And even though I had a lot of training there was a lot of stuff I learnt."

Windsor specializes in SAP's plant maintenance module, which is where his certifications lie.

"To get certified you must have completed all appropriate courses and you really need to have a lot of experience with SAP. There's nothing in the exam that's not covered in the course but it's a really intense exam and you need to have a lot of exposure to SAP."

The certification process itself took about four weeks, and as courses are only available in Sydney or Melbourne Windsor was required to travel and stay interstate, adding to the $10,000 in fees, which he says was good value for money "as I have had a great return".

"I'm not sure what impact the certification has had on the dollars as it depends on the job as to the rate, but I don't get out of bed for less than $1000 a day," he said.

Each course is five days long and will take about four weeks in total. In Windsor's case he was able to skip the first course, PLM 300, based on his experience.

Being certified also aids marketing and career prospects, according to Windsor.

"There have been a number of clients that specify the consultant needs to be certified and I also find that people who understand what SAP certification is - and many don't - they tend to listen to you a lot closer," he said.

"I'm starting to grow my company and I'll be looking for SAP certified people when I'm hiring and I'll always give preference to someone with certification."

"I'm a firm believer that people should be certified and SAP should be pushing that," he said, adding there are a few consultants going around, particularly in maintenance, that are not certified.

Windsor can keep his certification current by attending delta courses, but says much of SAP's product update information is found only in release notes.

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