Tony Brain, EMEA Head of Delivery at Lemongrass Consulting
“Hunting for your next ideal job is no easy matter. There’s either too much choice (or too little) or the job title fails to match the job description, or the employer requests what seems like hundreds of niche credentials. In addition, the tech industry is facing one of the worst skills gaps in years, so organisations are battling it out to reach the limited talent pool available.
This desperation opens countless opportunities for job seekers looking to break into the SAP on Cloud space. But it can be hard to know what to look out for and know what you need under your belt to make it through the application stages. In this article, I discuss the top three things job seekers in this space should do to give themselves the best possible chance at securing their ideal role.
Get to know the SAP on Cloud industry in depth
For individuals with their sights set on the SAP on Cloud corner of the industry, it’s important to know how the ground lies. The rush of movement towards Cloud continues as companies running their business with SAP seek additional cost savings and the ability to manage their systems with more flexibility. As this is currently one of the most in demand capabilities for ongoing digital transformation efforts, incoming workers to this space are presented with a huge opportunity to not only secure their dream job but also contribute to the wider effort of closing the skills gap.
Interestingly, most of the workforce in this sector are used to working in traditional data centre environments where they were forced to plan well in advance for hardware to support any new business growth or initiative. For example, in shared data centres, estimates of three to four months for new environments were not uncommon, whereas in the Cloud, teams can easily spin infrastructure up or down to meet demands in a matter of hours or even minutes.
Although traditional data centre skills aren’t going by the wayside, what organisations have a dire need for today is a balance of professionals – including those skilled in Cloud who bring different points of view on the way things work. Demonstrating skills and knowledge in both Cloud and traditional settings is a real asset for applicants.
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Take the time to understand the employer’s point of view
From the business’s point of view, one of the biggest barriers to recruitment is finding applicants with a combination of Cloud and SAP skills. Finding people with one or the other is easy. Understanding that organisations are on the lookout for applicants with experience in both of these areas, job seekers can use this to their advantage and demonstrate their experience in one area, Cloud or SAP, and an aptitude and interest in expanding their skills to the other.
It’s also very important for applicants to showcase other related Cloud and SAP experience that they may have and ensure these skills are clearly communicated to potential employers. For example, experience working with commercial contracts and general client handling will boost an applicant’s position in the recruitment arena.
Generally speaking, we’ve seen that organisations are looking for individuals with 80% of the desired skills and experience; the remaining 20% can be made up through internal training, mentoring and career development planning. This indicates that businesses are looking to champion their workers and provide them with a platform to grow and develop with the business.
Showcase other related non-technical skills
Certain skills are becoming more and more valuable in our evolving, hybrid world. For example, interpersonal skills and adaptive working.
Due to the nature of the SAP on Cloud industry, with customer engagements often spanning the circumference of the globe, a lot of pre-pandemic business was conducted on a remote or hybrid basis with teams connecting over the phone or via other digital communication channels. But they still had the option of working in an office and interacting with colleagues, engaging and sharing knowledge informally “round the watercooler” on a daily basis.
In the blink of an eye, this option was taken away and remote working took hold. For those just entering the industry, this change meant they were stripped of the organic working, learning and social opportunities an office provides – with some not meeting their colleagues in person until months after joining the company.
Though most organisations have now settled back into a hybrid working practice, interpersonal skills and adaptive working have remained a prime focus where they weren’t necessarily before in technology-focused positions. This is the perfect opportunity for job seekers to showcase their value and capabilities in this space on their CVs and in interviews to differentiate themselves from other candidates.
Just like with Cloud, agility and continuous development are key
Working practice has changed massively over the past few years, to the point that job seekers and recruiters alike have had to change their tactics along the way. To recap the three tips above:
The industry is changing and there is a shortage of SAP on Cloud expertise which presents a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills – whether from SAP to Cloud or from Cloud to SAP. There is also an aging workforce with SAP skills exiting the market, leaving a skills gap that job seekers can use to their advantage.
Do your homework to understand the challenges that the employer is trying to address to better prepare for your conversations. For example, SAP on Cloud skills shortage, digital transformation initiatives, cost savings strategies, etc.
Don’t undersell your other skills – in the wake of the pandemic, there’s probably more value there than you realise.
I close this article with a real-life example of someone who successfully bridged the SAP to Cloud skills gap. Best of luck to you in your own quest!
“Starting at Lemongrass was completely different from starting at any company I’ve been with before. I came to Lemongrass with an IT background, most exclusively in SAP, with very little Cloud experience. I quickly found that a lot of the IT innovations in the past decade had passed me by such as the next generation of automation, infrastructure as code; virtualisation, containerisation and serverless computing – to name but a few. I had no idea what I was missing out on.
As a part of onboarding, two weeks were set aside for me to understand Lemongrass, learn the methodology and get up to speed with my Hyperscaler learning. The training was wrapped up in a gamified learning journey where I felt like a rockstar earning my badges (which I know sounds trite but was surprisingly motivating).
It’s brilliant to feel like I have a second string to my bow beyond just the SAP label, especially in a field of IT that highly values my prior SAP experience.””