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Author's profile photo Flavio Furlan

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 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 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?

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      Author's profile photo Rafael Rojas
      Rafael Rojas
      What is most needed by a rookie developer are opportunities. It is also necessary that companies give them it.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I love this idea & rookies can develop a significant portfolio to arm themselves with when going into an interview...

      The best part is that this incorporates next generation Abap techniques which old-school Abap'ers are sometimes hesitant to get up to speed with (like Abap objects for example), the rookies generally dive into this without a second though. If rookies can showcase what they are capable of, I'm sure the people that do the hiring will take a second look & not just write off rookies. It's all about marketing yourself!

      Author's profile photo Fabio Pagoti
      Fabio Pagoti
      I totally agree with you Trevor.

      Also, it's a good opportunity to feel if the rookie likes ABAP and programming! For those who are just starting the career, it's very difficult to know exactly what to do and this experience can help in this journey.

      I'm sure this attitude can help to solve the problem of lack of qualified professionals. Nevertheless, such idea could be implemented in other SAP areas. Why doesn't functionals participate into open source projects? They can bring really good ideas and solutions to Code Exchange acting like project's functional owners.

      I hope this can make a really good change in the future.

      Author's profile photo Marlo Simon
      Marlo Simon
      Hello Furlan,

      Very good approach to bring this to the SCN community.
      I do follow ABAP101 and was hoping that you and Pagoti would help to increase the Developer Community around SCN here in Brazil.

      Valeu pela iniciativa,
      Best Regards,

      Marlo Simon.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Great Initiative and in doing so theres a lot to learn. I want to be a part as both a learner and contributor.......