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As an IT professional it is essential to engage in lifelong learning. Staying up to date in your understanding of software and technology is an absolute necessity in order to stay relevant and adaptable in your chosen career path.

Lifelong learning is often informal and self-directed personal development. It can be as simple as addressing new issues or products as they come up in a work environment with a view to familiarising yourself with new innovations, or can be a structured program of personal development which forms part of your weekly schedule.

While this can sometimes be interwoven with daily professional activity, or even an unconscious process of constant internalisation of the changing technological landscape, it is important to actively instigate a program of learning at intervals throughout your career.

This regular consolidation and review of your existing knowledge and expansion of your skillset is one of the criteria which can sway a contract or job application in your favour above your peers. It demonstrates not only personal drive and initiative but also a profound understanding of the evolution of your discipline as a whole.

openSAP was established in 2013 to provide an open learning platform for the SAP community which is accessible at anytime so that individuals can engage in self-education and supported education on the ever-changing landscape of SAP software at a time that suits their schedule.

The platform is hosted and run from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany and led by Director and CEO Professor Dr. Chistoph Meinel, and runs innovative Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) based on educational concepts such micro-learning, podcasts, forums, and gamification to provide users with an opportunity to interact with experts and peers in discussions of the SAP software environment.

Following a recent massive expansion in course in enrolments, with a total number of courses surpassing 250 and an average of 20,000 learners engaged in each course openSAP is celebrating reaching 5 million enrolments on the platform by offering their “SAP’s Integrated Intelligent Suite” course for a further five months. Why not sample this course and see if it suites your taste?

It is necessary for those companies that produce technology and software to include education for users and professionals of those products as part of an effort to integrate those solutions into the pre-existing environment. Consequently SAP began openSAP as part of a strategy to address this need. Other resources have also been made available by SAP for SAP users interested in education and re-skilling, such as the SAP learning Hub.

“With the tremendous need for re-skilling through our current period of digital transformation, SAP continues to invest in lowering learning barriers through free offerings like openSAP… Our goal is to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem: customers, partners, developers and employees, all have the right skills to thrive in a digital world and are equipped with the knowledge they need to prepare for the future.”

[Maxwell Wessel, EVP and Chief Learning Officer, SAP.]

The activity of learning and extended training is essential but equally it is important to be able to show proofs of levels of understanding in the form of certification by universally recognised authorities in the subject.

We should point out here that openSAP does not provide those who have completed the courses with SAP certification, but rather a record of achievement. While IgniteSAP acknowledges that openSAP is a fantastic resource, it cannot substitute SAP Global Certification as “Associate”, “Specialist” or “Professional” as a means to demonstrate SAP credentials. Consequently we recommend that openSAP be used as a resource and knowledge base for continued and supplementary SAP training rather than a means to gain accreditation.

While SAP Global Certification itself will be considered by companies, recruiters and hiring managers as valid and valuable evidence of SAP knowledge, successful job applicants will also be able to provide a record of professional experience in the practical application of SAP knowledge in real-world situations. However, openSAP courses are an extremely valuable resource which provides open access at any time to supported SAP learning and interaction with experts.

IgniteSAP will revisit this important subject in the upcoming weeks but for now it suffices to say that for those who are looking to advance in their chosen careers, we thoroughly endorse adopting an omnivorous attitude toward ingesting knowledge, and we are are delighted to see that this particular menu is available for free!