In the Career Center people talk about how to change their career course and how to sneak around all the obstacles. In my previous blog post about the SAP career I put some of my though about how jump into a SAP world (we, SAP people think we are the insiders, right?) on the paper. This time I would like to talk about the change of a career course within the SAP world, from a “SAP A product” to the “SAP B product”.
“Hot” SAP fields
For those who wonder which SAP fields are “hot” and they should move there to earn big bacon, I should mention the name of Mr. Jon Reed. You can find him around here with the articles and videos about which SAP field is “hot” or how to get a job and stuff. Or you can reach him and his valuable content on his site http://www.jonerp.com/ . I remember one of his blogs where he recommended the ABAP developers to start with the Adobe products (which are of course integrated into SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe, RIA, Flex etc.). This one I liked the most because that is my job – doing this Adobe “things” in SAP.
But that is not what I would like to talk about. From the mentioned blog by Jon I got an idea that he say if you´re 100% ABAP programmer, spare some 10% to learn something new and spicy (like the mentioned Adobe forms). But that is a very… small change for the man´s career. You can always come back to the old field of expertise (where you are sure you will NOT die of hunger), and in a new field you can stick to the experience you have gathered earlier (ABAP with Adobe is still ABAP right? Or ABAP WD and stuff). You don´t move into a whole new world.
From technical to functional and back
Sometimes that is what people want to do – to change something BIG in their SAP career.
Sometimes people ask if they can become the functional consultant although they have always played some development roles. But that is not decisive as well, is it? When you have some HR technical experience, you have developed something useful for the users, design the solutions according to their needs and wishes (and have understood what is their everyday problem and how they want to solve it (!!), in my opinion you´re ready to move into HR functional.
Of course you can experience some problems at the beginning, like you´re not talkative (because you don´t talk to your ABAP editor, do you?), you cannot do the show for the users (what in my opinion is what a good consultant can do – lead the users and their opinions – he is the opinion maker, he can lead the users´ expectations etc.). But probably you will have no problems with the hardcore SAP stuff.
By the way – you cannot do this every day, right? To move from a module to module, from technical to functional. You need an opportunity. I always laugh when I see forum questions like “I have 0,5 year ABAP experience and would like to move to MM functional” or “I have 1,2 yrs MM experience and got bored and moving to HR functional” etc. I wonder how these people can change the field that easily. Maybe their employers let them do that? But I doubt that. From my experience if a company uses (a customer company) or sells (SAP services provider company) your services as a senior ABAP developer, they don´t want you to become a junior project manager, right? You are “not ready for that”, “why would you waste your experience and a growth potential” etc. etc. I would like to discuss what other people are experiencing regarding this topic. Do you find that difficult to change the field? … But that is not what I was going to talk about either.
From SAP A to SAP B
I would like to drop a line about the new thing in SAP these days (years)… SAP brand is no longer ABAP-based only (of course, there is Java but that is not what I would like to discuss here, not a good place for a holy war around here Java guys). Maybe you have noticed that or not, but we have a brand new SME customer playground with SAP Business One (based on the .NET platform) and there are the Business Objects bought by SAP.
That is what I would like to elaborate – how can you work both in SAP ERP and Business Objects for example. Or how can one move from Business One consulting to the “big bro” – SAP ERP/ Business Suite products family. Nobody has started on a B1 + ERP integration project or some CRM+ BO solution, right? You learn the first one and try to adopt the ideas from the second the field.
Let´s start with an example. Let’s say we have a guy who is the experienced ABAP developer and would like to learn some Business One development. When programming in ABAP you can for example use all the standard code that has been delivered easily, you only have to debug the code and find out which function module has been launched. You have the demo reports for everything. Everything is embedded in the SAP GUI. You can browse data from here (like SE11), you can use the SQL trace (ST05), there is the transport system, there is the NetWeaver portal (and other NetWeaver fancy stuff, like PI).
“Kindly guide me through…”
But how can one start with the Business One if he has changed his world (even change the way he was thinking about the development when attending the university where he was doing the “ordinary” stuff in Java or .NET) to fit into the SE80 Workbench?
Let’s say I have a requirement, I can understand what to do and especially HOW to do that in a “big bro”. Who will tell me, what are the equivalents of the development tools, I am used to? Well, the syntax is not a problem but there are the different best prctises, the methodologies how you do the development… Where can I find a “conversion tables” for the …”constructs”, the ideas behind? Is there a SAP course to help me step into a new field? Maybe some people who have moved from a SAP A to SAP B could provide some details about how they made it. I would love to hear that.
I think about this like about the surfing. You ride a wave, wait for a new wave and catch it (if you´re brilliant or find anybody to help you with that). Or you can ride a wave till the end, back to the shore, turn around there, look for a new wave and try to catch that one. What a time loss when you always return back to the shore, isn´t it?
Maybe somebody will come up with a (partial) solution for this, give a hint or two. Any maybe I will write a new blog regarding this “problem” when I will learn something new.
Any opinions are welcomed, regards Otto