In this blog post, I will detail my experience as a Trainee in the SAP Young Professionals Program in an effort to shed some light on the program itself and assist those aspiring to get into the program and aspiring SAP Consultants.
“The SAP Digital Skills Center offers initiatives that empower rising talents on SAP’s innovations, thus helping them to kick-start their tech career within the ecosystem of SAP customers and partners. With its initiatives, the center helps individuals and organizations to thrive in the Digital Economy and tackles some of today’s most pressing issues, such as youth unemployment and the digital skills gap”, one such initiative is the SAP Young Professionals Program.
What is SAP Young Professionals Program?
SAP Young Professionals Program (YPP) is a free initiative by SAP Digital Skills Center that empowers rising talent on SAP’s latest and most in-demand innovations. It is a 2-3 month training program aimed at equipping recent graduates with SAP functional and or technical knowledge as well as world-class soft skills training. Upon completion, participants get an opportunity to kick-start their software consulting career within the SAP ecosystem of customers and partners.
Note: SAP customers are companies and government institutions that use SAP software whilst SAP partners are separate entities that have partnered with SAP to offer SAP solutions and support customers.
SAP YPP was originally launched in the Middle East-North Africa region, which experienced a high level of unemployment. The program can now be found in 20+ countries with thousands of graduates to date. To qualify for the SAP YPP, you need a bachelor’s degree, and be either unemployed or in a non-permanent/part-time role amongst other requirements that can be found on the sap jobs site. At the time of my application, I had been interning for just under a year.
My Experience – SAP YPP Trainee
SAP Young Professionals Program receives thousands of applications every single year, it is a very competitive program to get into. The recruitment process consists of a few steps, upon submitting your CV/Resume, you will have to complete a cognitive assessment, if shortlisted, you will receive a phone call interview, a successful phone interview will get you into an official interview. You will then receive an email with the outcome of the interview.
Application > Cognitive Assessment > Phone Interview > Interview.
I first applied for the SAP YPP – South Africa back in 2020, a year in which I was completing my postgraduate studies, back then I did not even understand what it was all about. My application was declined, over a year later in April 2022, I applied yet again and this time around I made it all the way to the final interview. After waiting for nearly 3 months without a response, I was ready to give up and was no longer requesting updates via email when I realised the program had begun and I had to accept that I was not a part of it.
At that point, I had become so passionate about SAP’s innovations to such an extent that I was looking at other ways I can break into the sap ecosystem. Imagine my surprise when I received an email that I had been selected as one of 26 to participate in the second YPP in South Africa that was scheduled to begin later in the year. The SAP Young Professionals Program usually runs once a year in each of the countries, however, sometimes due to the demand for SAP Consultants, it may run more than once.
SAP Digital Skills Center collaborates with customers and partners who need the talent to support their SAP projects and based on the current demand for SAP products that are seeing a rise in sales, they choose two or more certifications that will be the focus of that specific program, The SAP Business Technology Platform or SAP BTP is arguably one of SAP’s most important innovations today. With its demand increasing, it is no surprise that the two certifications selected for our specific program form part of the SAP BTP, these are SAP Extension Suite and SAP Analytics Cloud.
In a series of virtual training sessions with expert trainers, we received technical training in preparation for the certification exams, the training sessions lasted 8 hours a day, excluding a 1-hour lunch break for a predetermined number of days, followed by self-study for several days before the exam. The schedule also included very important soft skills training sessions, in our case, we began with one such session, a two-day training program called Empower 2.0 – delivered by RoundTable Global. As the name suggests, it is an empowerment program that shifted my perspectives about a lot of things including my goals and aspirations which got me into a specific mindset, leaving me inspired and ready to learn. SAP Internal Sales Overview and Interview Skills and Techniques were the other two soft skills training sessions.
Note: The selected soft skills training programs vary and are different in each program.
One of the most important changes I had to make was my sleeping patterns, if I was going to succeed in this program, I told myself. However, that did not last long, I am indeed a night owl. Soon I would discover the importance of teamwork in this journey, and my peers and I collaborated in discussions and study sessions after the training sessions concluded. This journey was so much better experienced with a team of like-minded individuals all striving towards the same goal in pursuit of reaching our own individual goals.
SAP provides 12-month access to the SAP Learning Hub and the Certification Hub with 6 exam vouchers. During the program, we had two predetermined dates for 1st and 2nd attempts of each exam. As mentioned, preparing for the exams was a team effort, however, it also required personal will and effort. It was very important to invest a lot of time in self-study and practice in the VM system access we had.
After the program has concluded, SAP Digital Skills Center works closely with interested customers and partners after the program to secure the participants interview opportunities for entry-level roles as SAP Consultants. Even though SAP does not guarantee jobs at the end of the program, the placement rate of the program is very impressive sitting at 95%. It is your sole responsibility to prepare and attend interviews and to succeed in those interviews.
Our CVs/ resumes were submitted to the customers and partners, and a few weeks after the program concluded, I started getting interview invites from the companies that had been announced to us as interested in hiring from our group. The recruitment processes are still continuing at the time of this publication.
Life Changing Experience
If I had to describe the program in one word, I would say transformative, it was curated in a way that it was a wholesome experience, one that helped me overcome some of the challenges or weaknesses I had, just being selected to be a part of the program in the first instance boosted my confidence and gave me a new found conviction about my talents and abilities. That coupled with the training sessions and working together with my peers broadened my horizon both in my personal life and career aspirations.
If you are thinking of applying for the YPP or have been selected to participate, here are some helpful tips.
- Polish your CV/Resume – As already indicated, this is a very competitive program to get into, ensure your resume is updated and tick all the boxes of a good cv/resume.
- Be a Team Player – This journey can be lonely and isolating, avoid that by being part of the team, collaborating, and hopefully creating a friendship outside the program, I cannot stress enough how important that is.
- Have an Open Mind – Once you’ve made it into the program, have an open mind because a training program such as Empower 2.0 challenges a lot of what we’ve become accustomed to, so be willing to learn and explore new ways of improving your own well-being.
I hope this blog post has been helpful to you in some way or another to get a perspective of a graduate of the SAP Young Professionals Program as one of the ways in which you can enter the SAP ecosystem and begin your career as an SAP Consultant.