Those looking for a deeper understanding and proficiency with the myriad of products and platforms developed by German software giant SAP can turn to the company itself, which offers a broad certifications program. SAP certifications can help you land a job at companies that rely on SAP software, and give you leverage for negotiating higher compensation once you’re in a role.
Like Oracle, IBM, and other enterprise-centric companies, SAP technology is also pretty widespread: the company has more than 440,000 customers in over 180 countries and upwards of 21,000+ SAP partner companies around the world. Through SAP training and certification, specialists in any department, ranging from human resources to finance to sales, will be better able to learn the ins and outs of the various modules.
Does SAP have an official certification?
As of this year, SAP offers more than 100 official certifications, which can make the certification process—or even where to begin—seem especially daunting.
There are three different levels of SAP certifications:
- Associate certification for beginners
- Specialist certification, focusing on a specific role or integration component
- Professional certification, for those most advanced in their specialization
Raja Spaeth, head of product learning certification for SAP Learning, points out that, with the company's skill recognition program, everyone can validate their skills from foundational to intermediate and advanced levels: "A low barrier to gain SAP skill recognition and SAP Certifications for key innovation areas allows learners to demonstrate skills through accessible training and validation options.”
SAP offers role-based learning, which allows for more flexibility for learners, and gives those learners the opportunity to achieve new levels of tech expertise.
Which SAP certifications are in demand?
Spaeth said the most popular SAP certifications focus on the SAP S4/HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud solutions. This perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise, given companies’ intense interest in everything related to data analytics and the cloud.
These popular certifications include:
- SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP S/4HANA for Financial Accounting Associates
- SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement
- SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP S/4HANA Sales
- SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP Analytics Cloud
"Similarly popular are certifications in cloud environments for roles in project management, and business processes," he added. The top two certifications in this area are:
- SAP Certified Associate - SAP Activate Project Manager
- SAP Certified Application Associate - Business Process Integration with SAP S/4HANA
Spaeth noted that, after a learner completes a foundational level skill validation and receives a “Record of Achievement” (for example for SAP Business Technology Platform), SAP provides recommendations to continue with intermediate level learning content. In theory, this prepares the leaner for further certifications. For example, such a track could include SAP Certified Citizen Developer Associate – Low-Code/No-code Applications and Automations or SAP Certified Development Associate - SAP Extension Suite.
Spaeth pointed out SAP offers learning opportunities and skill validation options for all key SAP solutions (on-premise or cloud) for its entire ecosystem, including students, partners and customers.
Learners can also keep their skills up-to-date with the latest software releases with dedicated learning content and assessments. "We also expect SAP partners to invest in highly skilled and certified consultants/developers," Spaeth said.
Is getting an SAP certification easy/hard?
It's also worth mentioning that the testing program is rigorous, and while certifications are typically valid for the two most recent solution releases, users desiring to maintain their certs for specific solutions may be asked to pass "stay-current assessments" upon the release of new software versions.
“Through the SAP PartnerEdge Program, SAP makes it mandatory for partner to have a minimum level of certified individuals and keep them current,” Spaeth explained. “SAP promotes the number of certified consultants per partner as a key differentiator for customers when selecting partners next to project experience and references.”
SAP recently moved to foster partner training with its new Partner Talent Initiative, which certifies IT professionals in high-demand areas such as RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud.