These certifications can help you get ahead as an IT manager.
SAP is a global company that specializes in enterprise business software, including customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supplier relationship management and much more. SAP started out in Waldorf, Germany, in 1972, headed up by five former IBM engineers who wanted to provide standardized software to integrate business processes. Today, SAP has more than 437,000 customers and more than 96,600 employees.
SAP reports that 92% of Ford Global 2,000 companies, along with 98% of the 100 most valued brands, use SAP solutions. In addition, 100% of the top-scoring sustainability companies, as reported by Dow Jones, also use SAP. To accommodate the business need for qualified professionals, SAP manages a large certification program to ensure outstanding product and client support and to narrow the IT skills gap. Currently, SAP's certification program is home to more than 350,000 certified SAP professionals worldwide.
SAP certification program overview
SAP offers almost 130 certifications, each targeted at some specific SAP product. You can explore SAP certifications on the company's website by product, solution category, or delivery method and location. Certifications are generally found at the associate, specialist or professional levels, which may be understood as follows:
- Associate certifications: These are designed for people who are new to SAP solutions and may have learned about SAP technologies from manuals or training courses.
- Specialist certifications: These build on the associate-level credentials and recognize professionals with skills in specific components or roles.
- Professional certifications: These recognize individuals with deep knowledge of SAP solutions and hands-on experience.
No prerequisite skills, training or other certifications are required for the associate- and professional-level credentials. To obtain a specialist designation, candidates must possess an associate-level credential.
In addition, SAP certifications do not require recertification. However, to ensure skills remain up to date, SAP monitors your credentials and notifies you when one or more of your credentials become outdated. The company develops Delta exams when an SAP solution is released that has undergone significant changes. Certification holders must take one or more Delta exams within six months to keep their skills, knowledge and certifications current.
SAP certification exams
Associate- and professional-level certifications require a single exam. Specialty certifications require candidates to pass both the specialty and associate-level exam. You can purchase an exam voucher through the SAP website and then take the exam at an SAP Training Center, through Pearson VUE, or in the cloud.
In April, SAP announced that all of its Global Certification exams will now be made available online in the cloud as a service through the SAP Certification in the Cloud program. By June 2019, all certification exams should be available through the Certification in the Cloud program. According to SAP, more than half of all certifications issued in 2018 were obtained through online certification exams.
For an annual subscription fee of $571, candidates may take up to six exams in a 12-month period. (To understand the significance of this deal, the Certification in the Cloud fee is roughly equivalent to the cost of one exam when taken at a physical testing center.) For those seeking multiple certs, a Certification in the Cloud subscription is a clear winner.
Stay Current program
A new initiative, the Stay Current program is designed to help certification holders maintain skill currency. At present, the new program is geared to cloud solutions and is available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Success Factors and Ariba Solutions. Through the SAP Learning Hub, credential holders have access to tutorials, webinars, videos and additional materials designed to provide information about new technologies introduced with each quarterly product release. Candidates then need only take a Delta exam on the new technology.
Designed to promote an atmosphere of lifelong career learning, SAP Learning Journeys are interactive, visual guides that provide an easy-to-use and understand roadmap for each learning path. I have to confess that I fell in love with this feature. Not only is recommended training clearly defined, but there is no question as to what courses should be taken and in what order.
Another great feature of the Learning Journey guide is that it is an absolute information smorgasbord! Here, you'll not only find recommended training, but the different learning options available to obtain the knowledge (e-book, classroom and e-learning, for example), as well as a time estimate to complete. You'll also find links for practice opportunities, along with self-assessment info and any other tools available to help you master that skill. This one-stop-shopping aspect is a real plus. In addition, the Learning Journey paths can be downloaded in PDF so you can easily refer back to them. A SAP Learning Hub subscription is required to access e-learning, e-books and assessments.
All Learning Journey training is recommended training only, so you're free to choose to engage with the tasks that meet your learning needs. Each SAP Learning Journey contains four different learning scenarios:
- Scenario 1 – Overview: Targeting newcomers, this section provides recommended training suggestions for those who are just beginning their SAP journey and possess little knowledge.
- Scenario 2 – Become Competent: The main section of the learning journey, the Become Competent scenario is designed to provide the learner with in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. The opportunity to take certification exams is offered at the end of the Become Competent section.
- Scenario 3 – Stay Current: Geared to maintaining skill currency, this scenario contains information on keeping skills up to date and current with the latest SAP releases.
- Scenario 4 – Expand Your Skills: Here, learners will find training recommendations designed to deepen and broaden their skill set, along with training leading to expert-level certifications (when available).
SAP currently maintains 195 Learning Journeys. Learning Journeys focus on two areas: job roles and product categories. There are Learning Journeys available for nine product categories:
- ERP and Digital Core
- Digital Supply Chain
- Network and Spend Management
- HR and People Engagement
- Digital Platform
- CRM and Customer Experience
- Industry Applications
- Intelligent Technologies
Job roles include consultant, developer, architect, administrator, business user or data analyst.
SAP's training certifications are widely recognized and demonstrate that candidates have honed their skills through rigorous study and hands-on experience in their chosen fields. SAP offers certification programs based around specific areas of focus and skill levels to SAP partners, customers and end users.
With more than 120 certifications and 195 Learning Journeys, it would be impossible to describe all of them in this article. However, below you'll find a sampling of some of the programs that SAP offers.
SAP NetWeaver is a popular platform. To find out what NetWeaver certs are available, simply plug in the keyword "NetWeaver" on the Learning Journey webpage. Here, you'll find six different Learning Journeys available geared to the professionals working in developer, consultant, and administrator roles across multiple product solutions.
SAP Certified Development Associate ABAP with SAP NetWeaver 7.50
ABAP Programming: Creating Forms
SAP Certified Application Associate: SAP Business Planning and Consolidation 10.1 and 11.0
S/4HANA-Technical Implantation and Operations
SAP Certified Technology Associate – SAP System Administration with SAP NetWeaver 7.5 (Delta)
SAP Certified Technology Associate – SAP System Administration (SAP HAHA as a database) with SAP NetWeaver 7.5 (Delta)
Consultant, Developer, Administrator
SAP Certified Technology Professional – SAP System Security Architect
|Administrator||Operating System and Database Migration||SAP Certified Technology Associate – OS/DB Migration for SAP NetWeaver 7.52|
SAP provides numerous NetWeaver training opportunities too, including project team training.
SAP Solution Manager
When you think of distributed systems and technical support, think SAP Solution Manager. SAP Solution Manager enables professionals to manage complete SAP-based solution environments, including selection and implementation, daily operations, and ensuring system reliability.
SAP offers training opportunities and certs to prepare professionals to work with SAP Solution Manager. Training is classified into several subcategories, including general solution overviews, project management, end-to-end solutions, how to configure and how to use. The easiest way to view all recommended training at a glance is to check out the SAP Solution Manager Learning Journey.
SAP offers various certs to professionals responsible for implementing and maintaining systems with Solution Manager, including two Certified Technology Associate credentials with concentrations in Landscape Transformation 2.0 and Solution Manager Mandatory and Managed System Configuration (7.2 SPS3).
SAP Ariba is a popular e-procurement and supply chain cloud solution that enables companies to digitally transform all aspects of their procurement and supply chain processes from source to payments.
SAP offers 10 different Learning Journeys for SAP Ariba. All Ariba Learning Journeys are geared to business users and consultants. Solution categories include Ariba Contracts, Integration, Procurement, Snap, Source, Spend Analysis, Supplier Enablement (Buy and Sell Side), Supplier Management and Supply Chain Collaboration.
Related jobs, training and resources
SAP certifications touch on nearly every business process across every major industry. A quick search of online job sites offers a glimpse of the breadth of jobs available for SAP-certified individuals. A food and beverage manufacturer in Massachusetts is seeking a SAP functional lead to manage inventory to delivery. A leading manufacturer seeks a SAP HANA database administrator to support all HANA environment lifecycle phases. An aircraft manufacturer is looking for a SAP Cloud Application Studio Developer to develop custom solutions, integrate external systems and build data sources to optimize Aurora's ERP system.
Whether you're a business analyst, business process owner, developer, IT administrator, team lead, trainer, power user or executive and work with SAP products, you'll find a breadth of career opportunities available. SAP offers instructor-led classroom training at its SAP Training Centers around the world. Virtual live classroom training is also available, which is taught by SAP experts and includes access to live SAP systems for immersive learning. You can also take interactive e-learning courses that complement classroom training by signing up for a single course or subscribing to multiple courses.
The SAP E-Academy offers training to help you learn about specific SAP solution areas and to prepare you for certification exams. You receive one to five months of access to self-paced courses. SAP e-Learning offers single course access for those interested in pursuing a single training course at a time. Candidates seeking to sharpen their skills can sign up for Live Access, which allows candidates to practice existing skills in a supported SAP environment. If none of those learning options works for you, check out the SAP Learning Hub. Here you'll find round-the-clock access to all the training you want.
Finally, SAP provides sample questions, formerly actual questions on previous live exams, for most cert exams. You can view sample questions by clicking the sample question PDF link on an exam's webpage.
Learn more about SAP training delivery options at training.sap.com.