SAP Solution Architect Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a SAP solution architect career? Get real job duties, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a SAP solution architect is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a SAP Solution Architect Career

SAP Solutions are computer programs and application products offered through the SAP Corporation that are created to address a wide variety of business needs. Ponder these pros and cons as you consider whether this is a career for you.

Pros of Being a SAP Solution Architect
Great earning potential (2014 median annual salary of $95,510)*
Steady employment rate (19% predicted job growth over 2014-2024 decade)*
Telecommuting opportunities may be available**
A bachelor's degree is generally the only collegiate requirement*

Cons of Being a SAP Solution Architect
Additional professional training and experience is needed***
Numerous SAP solutions are available, but employers may require expert knowledge of a specific SAP solution (as opposed to broad-based experience)**
Long work hours are not uncommon*
To stay competitive, you will need to stay current on latest technology throughout your career*

Sources: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Online job postings (obtained May 2012), ***SAP website (training/curriculum/product overviews).

Career Information

Job Description

As a SAP solution architect, you will likely have a combination of technical, management and administrative duties, at varying levels, depending upon your employer. Your technical responsibilities will involve designing and/or customizing SAP computer applications and infrastructures. Supervising projects and staff, as well as determining technology goals for your organization or client, may be a part of your management duties. Administrative responsibilities may include reviewing technical research and developing reports or documents based on your findings. Because your duties will revolve around the utilization of SAP products, your work detail might vary with your work specialization/emphasis.

Specializations

SAP reports that it offers more than a dozen technology solutions/products that address key business management areas that include 'customer relationship management,' 'business planning and consolidations,' 'financials,' 'supply chain management,' 'human capital management,' 'product lifecycle management,' 'service parts management' and 'supplier relationship management.' You may choose to specialize in the technology solutions that address a specific key management area or areas. You may also specialize in other SAP products, such as platforms that integrate various types of solutions.

Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2014, the annual median salary for the developers of software applications was approximately $95,510. The lower ten percent of wage earners in your field received a median annual salary of about $56,310 in the same year, according to the BLS. Additionally, the highest ten percent on the salary spectrum earned a median annual wage of $149,480.

What Are the Career Requirements?

A bachelor's degree is the typical educational requirement for this field. Degree programs such as information technology, computer science or software engineering are prevalent in the profession. These degree programs should give you the broad-based technologies training that you will need for understanding and implementing SAP solutions.

You can acquire specific SAP training through a several venues. One option is through a specialized bachelor's curriculum that offers a concentration in specific SAP solutions. SAP's University Alliances Program (UAP) is a collaborative effort between educational institutions and SAP to offer SAP-approved coursework at colleges and universities within the program network. If you've already obtained a standard bachelor's degree, UAP schools also offer non-degree training programs on SAP solutions. Additionally, SAP training programs are available directly through SAP. Campus-based and distance learning course delivery formats are provided through each of the different SAP training venues.

What Employers Are Looking for

You could work for many types of different employers, from non-technology organizations that use SAP solutions to technology groups that develop, use, sell, install or service SAP products. Along with standard educational training, employers are also looking for applicants experienced with specific SAP solutions. Here's a just a few of the job postings in your field, obtained in May 2012:

  • A technologies corporation would like to hire a SAP solution architect to work out of its NJ location. The successful candidate will have solid experience in all aspects of SAP's ECC and BPC software. He or she must also have previous experience as solution architect, using FI and BPC solutions for complex international finance projects.
  • A software group in CA is looking for a solution architect to work on custom development. A bachelor's degree is highly preferred; however, at least five years of work experience is required. Advanced knowledge in at least one major SAP solution and at least four years of experience in ABAP or ABAP OO development is also required.
  • A computer firm in VA wants to hire a SAP solution architect with a bachelor's degree or a combination of education and experience. At least 12 years of experience in application architecture and/or product development is required. Additionally, at least eight years SAP project implementation - chiefly with SAP's HR solution - is requested.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Obtaining SAP certification may help you stand out in the marketplace. Different levels and types of certification are offered directly through SAP. Also, since bachelor's degrees are commonly the basic requirement for many employers, obtaining a master's degree may also increase your visibility. Master's programs in computer/information technologies are offered through on-campus and online formats.

Alternative Career Paths

Computer Systems Analyst

If you want to work with computer systems and components, but don't want to focus on one technology solution brand, then becoming a computer systems analyst may be an option to consider. As a computer systems analyst you would conduct needs assessments and make systems recommendations for your organization on a broad scale. The basic educational requirement is also a bachelor's degree, but additional professional training is not required. However, the 2011 annual median salary for computer systems analysts was about $79,000, according to the BLS, which is slightly less than the median salary earned by SAP solution architects.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

If you are interested in a professional role that focuses more on management and less on software development, then you may want to consider a career as a computer or information systems manager. In this position, you would be responsible for determining the hardware and software needs for a particular organization, and then meeting those needs. In 2010, the BLS reported that the median annual wage for these professionals was about $116,000. Jobs in the field were predicted to grow at a rate of 18% over the 2010-2020 decade, which is about as fast as average.

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South College

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