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After working with multiple clients & on numerous assignments, the one thing I realized is that an ABAPper is no different than any other regular developer working on any XYZ technology.
Neither do I intend to belittle other technologies nor do I make SAP superior to others, but, I just feel an ABAPper has to be exclusive.
It has never been a mammoth task to learn ABAP; any person who has basic understanding of programming can write ABAP codes with minimal assistance, unless you are one of those few fortunate who get super-complex business specific requirements to work on, which, comes once in a blue moon.
So how should the ABAPper satiate the hunger for more!!
The latest trend is to move into the emerging technologies of SAP or learn newer objects of SAP: workflows, webdynpro, netweaver, & the list goes on.
One has started to forget one of the old methods followed by many ABAPpers & this too was quite satisfying: Learn the Business!!
Traditionally, ABAPpers went deep into the concepts of the requirement to gain an in-depth knowledge of what is required by the customer & why is the development so important.
They chose a particular module of interest (SD, MM, SRM, etc) and excelled in it along with ABAP. This moved them to the so-called Techno-Functional roles where they were capable of understanding the requirements very clearly directly by the user, eliminating the translator (Functional). However a Functional person is definitely important if you may not have learnt all the configurations required for a module to be perfectly in place.
I’ve met both kinds of people; the difference? The ones with loads of experience are the ones who started with ABAP & then moved on slowly to Functional roles & then ultimately to consulting (no doubt they mastered their module of choice). Whereas if I compare ABAP techies who have around the same experience as mine, they advice to move to the new world: Webdynpro & the like.
To be a jack of all may be helpful, but, it is always necessary to master one.
To follow which path is an individual’s choice; SAP seems so vast, the curve of the learning horizon keeps moving ahead as you get nearer to it.
I think I have made my choice of the direction; until, I don’t come across a new one.
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5 Comments

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  1. Matthew Billingham
    I started my SAP life, 14 years ago, as a PP consultant (with PS as my secondary). I rapidly moved into development, as it was requirement of my then employer that all functional people should be able to do at least basic ABAP. As someone who’d already been programming (in many other languages) for years, I took it to it like the proverbial duck to water.

    I worked across the modules. Initially, mainly logistic, but then into HR and FI/CO. I also moved into roles of more people responsibility – team lead, development manager, and, finally, Head of Applications Development at a multinational. I left that to go freelancing as… a programmer. That was five years ago.

    I now specialise in development (and modelling) in BI/BW. But being the only developer in the village for one of my clients, I get to do very interesting work, using the later technologies. I also provide general (SAP) technical consultancy in numerous different areas for other clients.

    Of course, over the years, I’ve also got a pretty good understanding of the business processes! But at no time, having started in a functional role, have I had a desire to go back into that. It is possible to grow within a technical role, and to keep learning. But you have to seize every opportunity to go in the direction you want. And you have to have your “distinctives” – those things that set you apart from the herd!

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  2. G Lakshmipathi
    Absolutely right especially in countries like India, where in all modules there will be a gap analysis and this will be bridged by ABAPers.  There is no doubt there will always be a great demand for Techno Functional guys

    G. Lakshmipathi

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    1. Praneet sai
      Lakshmipathi,

      I am strongly willing to enter functional..(am an ABAPer with 5+ years of exp)
      I’ve just heard from one of the senior collegue that there is no much with people of techno functional…

      Is that true?

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  3. Michelle Crapo
    Again – it seems like you have to choice technical vs. functional.  In this case, functional + technical or Technical + new technology.

    I guess I want it all technical, new technology, and understand the functional process.   That may be a lot to ask for.  “Jack-of-all” trades, master of none…  I hope I master ABAP.   Now I’m branching into new technologies while keeping up with the business processes.  I’m on a lot of projects at one time.  While on a project, I HAVE to understand the business process. 

    I also am always looking for a chance to use some of the new things that I learn.

    So I agree to disagree.   I want it all.  ABAP in depth.  Functional less understanding but understand my project.   New technology – ready and at my fingertips for new projects.

    See ya!

    Michelle

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