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SAP changed my life…does it changed yours too?

I started working with ABAP eight years ago…long time for some, very short for others. Of course, I didn’t start my career by doing ABAP development…I started learning programming 11 years ago…when I was 20. I started with Visual Basic 6.0 and C++.

Sometimes I wonder…what would happened if I never got the option to start working using SAP? I would be programming of course…but surely on .NET or even PHP.

It might seem a little bit odd that I haven’t mention Ruby, but believe it or not…I learned Ruby just because of ABAP…When I read Piers Harding blog Binding other programming languages to ABAP I just knew I wanted to learn Ruby. Same thing happend with Flex, after reading Matthias Zeller blog Engaging User Interfaces with Adobe Flex.

So, SAP had changed my life in many ways. I have learned new programming languages, have meet a lot of friends…I couldn’t never have made two trips to TechEd right? If I were working using .NET or PHP…what could motivate me to attend a TechEd?Nothing I guess…

So…the big question is “What about you?” What you will be doing right now if you haven’t get the chance to work using SAP?

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  • Hi Blag,
    In my previous life, I was a programmer too.  I fell for programming because to me, it was like learning a foreign language – which I had always loved.  But I suspect the market for the language I used prior to ABAP, which shall remain nameless, has disappeared.  Would I have found another programming language to work in?  Probably.  Would I have felt as passionate about it – as I do about Workflow?  Doubtful.  Would I have stumbled on to an amazing community of people from all around the world, who get meet, both in person and virtually, to share ideas and have fun???   I seriously doubt it.

    And since #ASUG09 and #SAPPHIRE09 are right around the corner, right now, I am glad I don’t have to find out!


    • Sue:

      Thanks for your comment -:) Feeling kinda sad about the nameless language, but feeling happy that you’re so comfortable with SAP -:) As you had said…we’re a wonderful community ready to give out the best -;)

      I’m not going to #ASUG09 or #SAPPHIRE09, but sure I’m going to #TECHED09 where I’m sure I’m going to continue meeting more and more great people…and that’s completely priceless -;)


      • Come on – you can take a guess at the language 😉 it’s either xxxxx or xxxxxxx right? If I’m right the market is actually still there just not as big 🙂

        I’ve a story as well about SAP however mine is one of those long drawn out stories that would probably take a blog post by itself, is this a new Meme for us in the community Blag? I’ll just keep typing here instead and see what comes out…

        Let’s see programming for me started quite a long time ago, in fact I was 8 years old sitting on the living room floor (in yet another country to where I am now and not the US) typing in very large scrolls my father would bring home from various trips (military) onto a Commodore 64. After spending a particularly long time one day on a program and type the “run” command I was very disappointed at the outcome and thus began to change, alter and modify until it was showing me something I felt was more worth the hours I spent typing. From that point on  I’ve been stuck last I counted I’ve worked in and developed applications in over 47 different programming languages the last I learned was actually BSP which was also my first introductions to the SAP world and that was just back in 2003.

        At the time I was a “Web Applications Specialist”, my job was all about integrating systems and other applications together into web environments on a global level for my company (automotive) – at one point the CIO came to me and told me they had a problem and needed someone to take on a project – the result was actually not my original choice (I actually said no thanks) I was sat in the group doing Basis Admin for all of the SAP servers in the company (typical 3 system landscape for 147 production servers – that was the right number or? hmmm) so I was of course miserable to be stuck doing basis and no longer programming.

        Within a couple of weeks the manager asked me if I could build him something to help with the admin tasks – catch was to do so with SAP technologies – something called ABAP. I was lucky enough to have met also at this time a new hire in the company’s Australia office (he now actually works for SAP) who was here on training and he introduced me to “NetWeaver” the actual system 6.10 since I had been to an event already I was kind of familiar with some capabilities (NetWeaver Tech Tour in Frankfurt) so together we installed the App server and took a look at SE80 and something called BSP.

        From there I found SDN, a new site about to open from SAP so I registered.

        For the next year or so I dove very deep into the BSP world and meet many great folks including Brian from SAP who encouraged me to continue to share my work as he called me the “Guiding Light for all Newbies” which was highly motivational! I won’t go into all the details from here on unless someone just really wants to know but needless to say…

        If not for SAP I’d still be doing global rollouts of e-commerce websites for Enterprise companies and probably living in Detroit right now instead of Germany having never written “The SAP Developer’s Guide to SAP”, never meet all the folks I have here and never having attended an SAP TechEd (that’s sapteched05, sapteched06, sapteched07, sapteched08 and now coming up SAPTECHED09) nor SAP Sapphire (that’s sapphire06, sapphire07, sapphire08 and coming up SAPPHIRE09) nor would I had a chance to be the host of the SAP DEMO JAM @ SAP TECHED.

        I can’t even come close to imagining what my life would have been like if not for the change to that “Basis group” so many years ago…

  • Blag:

      Let’s see.  I started programming in 1972, which would be around 6 years before you were born.  Between 1977 and 1997 I was an environmental engineer, so if I hadn’t made a career change I would still be doing environmental work.  Just like now, only I would be getting paid for it instead of being a volunteer :-0.


  • Hi
    Nice blog.
    SAP and .NET are two different things altogether.
    if you were in .NET you sure would have attended Microsfot TechEd !


  • It was the Sepetmber of 2002 when I was still in my 3rd year of My engineering, when I was selected in a campus Recruitment drive, by a Leading Software Consulting company in India.
    8 months later, they have rejected me because I was Color Blind…:(

    After 6 months of JOb Hunt, I got into the company i am currently working for. From then onwards, there is no looking back..I have no regrets for having missed my first job, for I now can’t imagine anything other than SAP…

    Thats why i sometimes feel.

    “SAP is my Destiny..:)”

  • I got my first own computer at age 11. It was a C=64 and I spent the first night reading the programs that came with it and playing around with Basic. I spent many boring classes secretly writing programs on paper or thinking about puzzles from my beloved Infocom adventure games (which taught me my first English).
    When I was offered my first SAP job, I was heavily into network security, Unix & Linux, shell scripting, etc. I taught myself the basics of ABAP under release 4.0B and was enthralled by the beauty of the HR data model and infotype framework (seriously). Every since that day, I have been thankful that the AS ABAP is so transparent and allows you to look “under the hood” of every application, read all the code, browse the data model, and learn from it. I’m always eager to learn how people solve problems or achieve nifty effects.
    During my first years in the SAP world, programming used to be a career-ending move, consultants would try to be as non-technical as possible (and thus earn more money and a higher status), and seriously hide the fact that they knew how to code or read code. As a newbie, I was offered a 100% raise once if I would give up coding. Didn’t do it – chose to put effort into becoming better and better as a developer and hope that eventually it would pay off, which it did – in pay and even more in job satisfaction.
  • Blag,
    You could not imagine how often I stop and thank my lucky stars, not only that I was offered the opportunity to join our organization’s implementation team for our SAP pilot, but also that I heeded my intuition and accepted the offer. I was working in IT as a financial analyst, reviewing financial statements, working with our IT service providers, and ensuring that our internal IT billings were covering the costs of our outsourced services. When the SAP project was ramping up, I was offered the choice of going over to a shared services IT finance group, or joining the project team. I was warned that it was only a pilot, and if the pilot failed, everyone in the group could be out of a job, so there was an element of risk. However, all the people I knew and respected were going to the project, so it seemed like a reasonable risk to take, despite going into the unknown.

    Once on the project team, I was asked to join the general accounting team, to leverage my knowledge of accounting processes, and tasked with work on the security design. Before long I was full time on security and I’ve never looked back, except to be thankful that I made the right choice. I don’t even want to think about my life without my colleagues in the SAP Mentors and ASUG volunteers. I am just glad to be heading to the #ASUG09 and #SAPPHIRE Conferences next week to reconnect with as many of those colleagues as I can in three short days. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


  • Hi everyone:

    Thanks for you all your wonderful comments -:) It’s always to know everybody’s background so we don’t forget our own roots -:)
    I still remember when I do my first VB 6.0 app…it was very silly, you pressed a button and a picture appeared…I was so excited about that…At that time I could never figured myself building Enterprise applications using ABAP.

    Please keep commenting…maybe we could build a Wiki page with all our “stories behind SAP” -;)


  • Hello,
    if there was no ABAP i would maybe still code things 🙂

    In the first two years of my apprenticeship i write code in ABAP, but my passion was always more system orientated. So started with C (and a little bit of C++) on AIX and Linux and spent a lot of spare time with it.

    ABAP was boring me more and more and so i started as an unix admin and dba in my 3rd year, where all the SAP stuff runs on 🙂

    And that is what i still love to do. (now for round about 5 years). I also think that my programming experience helps me a lot to understand,research and of course debug things.

    Maybe a little unusual way, but without ABAP i would be still a programer and wouldn’t have the chance to administrate oracle databases (and of course the SAP systems)


  • How interesting….I am not involved with writing code at all, but in marketing, so all this information shared on people’s background and languages they learned/love is facinating. Great discussion.
  • I fell into the World of SAP out of sheer luck to be honest. Had I not sustained a serious injury in the military I would have never been introduced to the sometimes frustrating and other times down right fun world of SAP. So long answer short I would be still sporting a six pack rather than a full keg and serving my country.   
  • I learned C in high school, and some ORACLE PL/SQL while in College (along with good old FORTRAN). After engineering studies, I did an MBA in finance. I ended up with two good offers out of B School – one as a portfolio analyst in a big international bank, and another as a consultant with roughly 60% of the pay. I took the consulting offer, and then jumped into SAP instead of process consulting (thanks to a very understanding manager). My employer wanted me to become an FI or PP consultant due to my educational background, but by then I was hooked on ABAP (the old ABAP with 8 character program names). From ABAP, I migrated to other things like BI, SEM, CRM and so on and then ended up in more of a management role. I get bored doing any one thing for long, and mostly SAP work satisfies that urge.

    If I took up the job in the bank and progressed that way, I probably would have driven a nicer car and might have had a bigger house – but I am not too sure if I would have had any job satisfaction.