As many of you know, SAP has a different path for folks to pursue certification which is roughly regional. Outside of the (primarily) Asia Pacific region, most training is delivered by SAP itself. Certification is typically done by scheduling an exam through SAP's exam partner, Pearson Vue.
In most of the Asia Pacific region (Asia Pacific, Brazil, Mexico, did I miss any?), however, training is delivered through Authorized Training Partners and the exam can only be taken easily if you've taken your training from an ATC. (There is a long, convoluted, painful process by which you can get sponsored by an Authorized Implementation Partner or customer as long as you've been working with them for a significant time, but the only description I can use to describe this process in mixed company is "arduous". Effectively, in those parts of the world, take training through the ATC or don't get certified.)
Now, from all of the ATC web sites that I've checked, for the most part they are clear in saying that you should not undergo the training for the purposes of certification unless you've already worked on the software for at least 1 year but preferably more. What we hear from folks on the message boards, however, is that the recruiters from these ATCs generally look for students fresh from school and promise the moon and stars upon successful matriculation and certification. Very often these stories end with the person out of work for a year or more after they've been certified.
I would like to collect all stories, good and bad, from folks who have used ATCs to get trained and/or certified. I'm not looking for specific names of ATCs or recommendations or warnings, per se, just trying to collect data so that folks can get a good idea of what circumstances are best for success with an ATC and under which circumstances ATCs are a waste of time and money.
So... if you have used an ATC, please provide the following information: (Note: if you used a NON-authorized company for training, please hold off. I'll post another discussion for that group of folks.)
Experience before you began
How would you catagorize yourself when you entered?
Fresher (no domain and no/limited SAP experience)
domain experienced (X years domain exp, but no SAP exp)
SAP Experienced (X years domain including Y years SAP experience)
Job first or Training first?
Did you already have a job using SAP before attending ATC?
Yes - had SAP job first
Did your job pay for your training?
Were you hoping to go back to the same job or did you take the training in order to get a better job/promotion at current job?
No - training came first
Did you eventually get a job after training with ATC?
If yes, how long did your job search take?
Did the ATC help you find a job or did you find it on your own?
Did you get your certification after attending ATC?
Do you feel that the certification played a significant role in getting a job?
If not, was anything else as important/more important (school degree, work experience, etc)
If someone you loved was considering a career in SAP, would you recommend that they follow the same path that you took?
Is there anything else about the experience that you'd like someone to understand?
I hope this generates some useful data and some interesting conversations!
As an example, if the training I received at SAP had instead been given by an ATC, my summary would be as follows:
Domain experienced (4 years IT, no SAP)
Job first, training paid for by job, went back to same job after training
Got certified, Certification did not help me get job since already had job going in based on my prior non-SAP work experience'
I would absolutely recommend a loved one follow the same path if it was available.
Even though it didn't help me get a job, per se, I think the training I received was the foundation for my career!