CC: Starting the fire …
Actually I hate to do or finish things last-minute as I like to be somewhat ahead of my time-plan – but that didn’t work out for this weblog, so I guess I put Craig’s patience to a test as he had to wait until the very last day to receive my (promised) entry to his challenge.
But, that’s the way life goes, so let’s start …
Challenge! Are you ready?
Do a quick read on this weblog if you don’t know what this challenge is about …
… done? Ok, let’s continue then …
First of all – I’m working (and studying) for the University of Applied Sciences, with about 3,000 students in total. SAP is (unfortunately) not that big in our company, the total number of employees having to deal with the systems comes up to 4. This of course has good and bad sides about it, but for this article I just wanted to state this as additional background information.
They saw it coming …
During the development of our first web application last year (which was almost up to me alone) I kept telling my colleagues about that place called SDN, how much valuable information I got out of there, and that this really is THE place to be when looking for development topics.
Now while they appreciated me enhancing our application with various SDN-based ideas, I don’t know what they really thought of it – until I told them I would go to Walldorf to a SDN-exclusive developer meeting, attending first-class lectures and not even having to pay for it.
I really got their full attention now, so when I came back from the SDN meets Labs I presented all that I learned to my workmates – and I used this occasion to show them around SDN, what information can be found, … . Now there was no excuse anymore, they had to admit that this SDN community really is something special and sure worth spending some time in.
Exploring a new world full of objects and web applications
As I was the only one developing our first web application, and my colleagues only have experience with SAP and ABAP up to 4.6, I did not start by throwing them into the vast space of web development but introduced them to object oriented programming first.
The picture shows you the result of my “stand-up” lesson in OO, and I have to say my colleagues really impressed me by getting the idea and advantages pretty fast. I’m really looking forward to them doing their first development using OO!
Then of course I had to show them what my application was all about – first starting with an introduction to the differences of a web application to reports, and then going through all parts of my application, using it as an example to demonstrate the use of BSP, controllers, views, model classes.
It sure was a lot of new things they got to see, so I did not go into every detail but focused on the big picture, highlighting the web-specific behaviour (like dealing with the HTTP request/response using their respective classes) when necessary … all-in-all I was quite satisfied with what they told me afterwards about the things they learned, and most of all that they would be looking forward to using the new OO development possibilities.
As an additional, special opportunity I had the honor to “teach” my fellow student colleagues as well. In the degree course that I’m about to finish right now (Internettechnologies and -management) there is a small part dealing with integrated information systems, using SAP as a practical example.
In the 6th semester there is an exercise where a SAP system in use is presented, and the students can gain their first experience working with SAP not as a business user but as a developer. I was allowed to use some of the very limited time for this exercise and took them through a 3-hour crash course into BSP development (as this was exactly what I would have wanted to be tought when I was taking this excercise a year ago).
Of course I was wearing my 1/2k SDN member shirt that day 🙂
It was great sharing some of my knowledge with my friends, and they also appreciated me spicing up their otherwise not-so-interesting lesson by telling them about BSP, HTMLB and Web Application Server specific advantages for the developer.
And they are off …
I really enjoy teaching, seeing others learning and gaining knowledge, and the positive feedback I got from others about my lesson showed me I can’t have been that bad giving my “debut” in front of a class.
Also my workmates appreciate if I can give them an easier start into a technology they have not yet worked with – one of them even came up to these days asking me about some special object oriented syntax he discovered when trying to do an OO example out of a book. Looks like the train gets rolling …
If you are thinking of teaching your colleagues something, of sharing your experience – what are you waiting for? Just take a few hours, show them some nice examples they can relate to, and who knows … soon maybe you will be able to have a fellow co-SDNer right at the next desk/office 😉
But it’s up to you to plant the first seed, to start the engine. This sure is Craig’s intention to motivate all the others taking such actions, and I hope that by sharing my story I can support him and help you get it started as well.