It was Friday, 16th Dec 2005, and early in the morning I was driving on 101 North to reach Knowledge Development Center in San Francisco. Yes, that is where I had enrolled for my XI certification. So how did it go ??? Now to know the result you can read the last paragraph or read on and travel with me through my journey …
I am a SAP Technical Consultant working with ABAP since Jul 2000. I have gained enough experience in ABAP that I was honored as “SENIOR” in my project. Lately I was involved with ABAP OO also but never ever in my life I have worked with Java.
Now though SAP or better ABAP has always been my first love, I started working on XI last year Jul, around the same time when met love of my life (Which is one extra reason why I consider XI special). It has been a long journey since then, means I got a chance to install XI box myself and I did it in flat 16 hrs (without support Packs of course), I got to work on a small XI development project involving 38 interfaces and then it was time for me test my knowledge.
How much is enough ?
3 weeks is what I had allocated myself, to go for the kill (obviously along with my usual project activities). I started with the SAP XI help documentation and I finished it from top to bottom in a week. And then next one week I went through it again, this time matching it screen by screen in IB. Also I started going though the “How To Guides” on SAP Service site.
All this is done, but how to decide that you are ready. Well I went to SDN and tried to answer some of the questions and I was able to that. Then I asked my friend to randomly ask questions from the help documentation and I was 70% on target. Then I met other XI teams in my company working for different clients, to check if I can solve (at least conceptually) the business problem they are working on. I found that I was pretty much comfortable with file, RFC, iDoc adapters, proxies and BPM and mapping.
My intention is not to start a debate again, but being an ABAPer I want to tell all other ABAPers what it takes to plunge into XI. Now though being a Java stud is not a must when you start working with XI, but understanding of basic Java and its working knowledge will definitely help you in long way. You need to understand that both ABAP and Java have their strong points as is clearly visible by SAP’s split in implementation of both the design time (IB in Java and Proxies in ABAP) and runtime (Mapping/Adpater on Java and IE in ABAP). No-one working with XI can isolate himself from JAVA or ABAP and if you want to provide best solutions to your client, you need to remove your bias from either Java or ABAP. They will co-exist as is mandated by SAP and favoring anyone of these while working on XI, will not be a full justice to XI’s capabilities.
Clearing XI Exam
There were 10 people in KDC that day who took the exam. I dont know how well others fared in their exam as I was the first one to leave. There were 80 questions in the exam and distribution was approx same as is mentioned in the certification website. I took 80 minutes for the first pass and another 10 minutes for revision and then I came out. Last screen of the test congratulated me for passing the exam with 84% marks.
Today I am XI certified though love of my life is not with me anymore :(. Some wins and some loses, I guess that is what life is.