I’ve seen a lot of requests on different forums how to become SAP HCM Consultant, how to start consultant’s career, where to find the first job, what salary to expect and so on. It’s really complex and complicated question that we will try to open up in this article. I assume your first question would be why you should trust me or even read. Don’t want to boast but my profile says it all. Have a look here and come back to continue if you still want to be an SAP HCM Consultant in couple years and progress quickly. I’ve been working with SAP almost 15 years. Have started as a Developer who wrote couple menus, reports and then switched to Basis guy, supporting all IT infrastructure. Today I’ve played all roles in this theater from developer to project director. I’ve seen a lot of people coming to SAP market, how they developed through their career and who they are today. I’ve taught hundreds of junior sap hcm consultants, end-users and most of them are still in the market.
So, let’s have a look at the real world and how a student can enter SAP HCM market today, where to grow, and, more important, how to grow. Only practice.
First step to becoming SAP HCM Consultant (choose)
There are literally three global areas in SAP HCM (or SAP HR they used to name it). Accounting people, running payroll, motivating people. Accounting people is about how every single person is placed in a company structure. These hr consultants do organizational management setup, personnel administration, time tracking. It’s not bad, it’s more basic, foundation stuff you need to set to continue with payroll or people development and motivation. There are no projects without SAP OM, PA, PT modules, so there will be demand always.
If you like doing the math, like programming, solving logical tasks, then payroll is all yours. Time evaluation and payroll calculation are the most difficult SAP modules in a whole SAP HCM solution. You need to know the law, legal requirements, taxes, gross wages, reporting and you’ll always keep yourself busy. Laws changes, SAP changes, so you’ll be in demand all the time. These guys are paid the most in the SAP world.
If you like talking, communicating, analyzing why people behave this or that way you’d better stick with SAP talent management package, which includes a lot of functionality: SAP Learning Solution, SAP Recruiting, SAP Performance Management, SAP Talent Management and many others.
So, make a decision today cause tomorrow you’ll not be able to change it. It takes years to become a professional only in one area mentioned above. You don’t have that much time to change career paths like cars.
Second step to becoming SAP HCM Consultant (learn)
Start learning your subject area. You need to understand how the processes work in your chosen area, at least theoretically. If you want to blast your SAP HCM Career, you need to be prepared for your first interview. You need to show your intent with some real-world examples, todays practice, law knowledge. It would show your future employer that you’re serious. For every country there are a lot of sources of information, just google it. It’s almost free, I’d say in 99,99% it’s free.
Next thing is to learn SAP even you don’t have your job. It’s a good chance to fill your free time with something valuable and meaningful for your future. Who knows, maybe after some courses you’ll hate SAP, HR or HCM or IT at all. I’ve written a short note for those who is looking for free sources, so take a look FAQ. What SAP learning materials to use
There are some ways to practice in SAP – IDES – Internal Demo Education system. I’ve seen a number of companies providing this IDES system for a small fee. Google it.
Take private SAP lessons to dive into details and real experience.
Third step to becoming SAP HCM Consultant (find a job)
It’s the most difficult step to realize. But there is nothing impossible. Google for keywords “SAP HCM Consultant Career” to see companies in your region who hire students, interns for SAP. For some small wages, you’ll get a job, you’ll have your hands-on the system with real tasks to do.
There are two main ways to get into SAP.
First, become a junior, intern, student or whatever you name it. You’re paid some money but gain experience extremely quickly. Usually, you start with some MS Excel files, comparing data sets, uploading data in the system or some sort of that low-level job. It’s NORMAL!
Second, you’re already been working in IT department on the customer side and your company decided to implement SAP. In 90% of cases, you’ll have to learn SAP to support it after SAP consulting company is gone. This is a hard way because usually, nobody teaches you how to support SAP. They will give you user manuals, couple SAP courses from vendor and it’s supposed you’re all set to support thousands of users.
Third way when you found a company, filed for SAP Partnership I don’t take into account – you won’t be SAP HCM Consultant but an entrepreneur. That’s another story.
Fourth step to becoming SAP HCM Consultant (curiosity)
I want to be honest with you. If you want to succeed, you must be curious. A lot of consultants I know are not enough curious to overgrow themselves. They are stuck at one level and just copy past solutions from one project to another. It’s a bad way to make our SAP ecosystem healthy and strong, customers happy. We need to learn daily, try different approaches, we need to fail and get over it. Otherwise, we’ll stop. SAP HCM is a huge area to test ideas.
If you don’t know how to implement some solution, ask your colleagues, google, ask on forums, look how the same was done in other IT systems. There is always a way to do something differently. Taking a look from different angles opens your mind to architect perspective. You’ll learn dependencies, cross-functional things. Over the years you’ll see these things easily if you won’t stick with just one module in SAP HCM. Learn a little bit of everything and your passion module in details. You’ll surprise how wise your decision would come.
Fifth step to becoming SAP HCM Consultant (drive)
Once you’ll become a manager or team lead or architect, doesn’t really matter. This is a type of job you need to manage people, make decisions, write letters – do anything but touch the system. Once you get there and stop touching the system, stop reading news trying to apply new solutions to your current customers, you’ll be dead. Dead as a functional SAP HCM Consultant. Eventually, there will be a lot of managers like we see today in the USA. And these managers receive less money then consultants. This is also a reason to keep your hands dirty even in test systems for your own pleasure.
When you drive yourself into new SAP technologies, you’ll better understand how to sell them to customers. It’s another profit for both. You receive new experience and a customer, the customer utilizes new technologies to make business efficient. It’s a win-win opportunity.
The most important
And don’t forget to share this article! It would make our SAP world better when all guys will start following these simple 5 steps to build their SAP HCM Career. Good Luck.