Can Open Source Projects Help Rookies ABAPers?
I’m teaching ABAP for ABAPers wannabes since 2008 and in every project I had worked I tried to teach what I know and coach ABAPers 101 in the beginning of theirs careers. It brought me some experience on that and one of the hardest issues they have to deal with is your lack of experience.
After the end of every ABAP class the same question always come up, “where will I work as I don’t have any experience in ABAP or even in the SAP world?”. Few companies don’t want to hire junior consultants; there are lots of job opportunities for “old monkeys” but almost none for who have just learned to WRITE or CREATE OBJECT. List of exercises or flight management projects do not help them to prove to hirers what level of experience they have if theirs project list at CV is blank.
Because of that we (me and Fábio Pagoti, also instructor and ABAP101.com editor) start to idealize how we could help our students to get some experience in the “official way”. So, in the beginning of July’11 we launched the first phase of our plan called ABAP101 Open Projects. It’s just an initiative to encourage our students start to collaborate in the open source projects – projects by principle hosted at Code Exchange.
The mission with this initiative is to allow new ABAPers to get some experience and show your work for your future employer. In others ecosystems like Ruby on Rails, it’s common to hirers check the contribution of future employees in open source projects. We would like to introduce this type of culture in the SAP-sphere where contributing in the open source project is very welcome and could be used as criteria at the moment company decision.
Our project involves coaching them on the several activities in the project, assigning activities, clearing technical doubts and guiding on Code Exchange etiquette. We already have a list of project proposals and in all of them some golden rules must be followed, like the utilization of ABAPdoc as documentation standard.
After reviewing the ABAPdoc functionalities we didn’t find some features that we judge are very useful for the others open projects. Instead of implement them by ourselves, we decided to give opportunity to our students have some fun.
ABAPdocis our first project. It’s a proof-of-concept of our idea. We already invited ABAP101.com readers to join into the project and I will share with SDN readers the results in the near future.
Despite you may find our initiative a little utopic, we’d like to hear your feedback. Do you think that open source can help new ABAPers to get experience? Do you think open source contribution could be used as criteria to contract new developer? What do you suggest? Do you have any idea?