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SAP HANA for Beginners

Everyone has to start somewhere. And yes, I was a SAP HANA beginner at one time, too (going back to the first days of SAP BW Accelerator). The great news is that we have a wealth of information and plenty of learning opportunities about SAP HANA out there and much of it is available for free!

Are you new to and want to learn about SAP HANA? Congratulations and welcome to the SAP HANA community! In the world of SAP HANA, you want to learn fast, of course. So in the spirit of “Accelerated Learning” (Four Phases of Learning), I suggest a few steps for you to get started. Just understand that you can spend hours or days behind each link below and get lost in cyberspace. Bookmark this blog so you always have a place to come back to continue your SAP HANA journey.

Note: This blog covers SAP HANA as a database and platform. We will have to cover learning about specific applications that run on top of SAP HANA another time.

Phase 1: Explore

As a first step, browse the SAP websites and see what others have done or plan to do with SAP HANA. This can be very exciting especially if have some aha-moments like “Wow, I didn’t think this was possible” or “Awesome, I will try this myself” or even better “Spectacular, I will use SAP HANA for my start-up company and become rich”.

Phase 2: Learn

By now you should have an understanding of what you can or want to do with SAP HANA and you wish to know more about in-memory technology and the SAP HANA solution. There are many different learning styles. Pick the one that suites you most.

Phase 3: Exercise

If you haven’t done so, now is the perfect time to register on two SAP websites that are essential for your success. This will give you access to a tremendous amount of SAP HANA know-how and the ability to collaborate with like minded ‘HANAnauts’. And it’s free!

So far it has been all theory and it’s time to “get your hands dirty”. Again there are various options available from instructor led classroom training to try-it-yourself SAP HANA in the cloud environments.

At this point everything is still pretty new for you and a long URL is better than a short memory. Be sure to bookmark the online documentation or download it in PDF format to your computer (but be sure to check back regularly – at least for every SAP HANA support package stack which are currently released every six months). You also want to save links to the SAP Community Network and this website where you can collaborate with other who have paved the path before you.

You might have questions or get stuck during your project. No problem. Help is just a few clicks away.

Phase 4: Implement

Your company decided to license and implement SAP HANA. Congratulations again! You are officially an SAP Customer (if you haven’t been already before) and with it you get access to more resources.

And if your SAP HANA software does not work as expected and you suspect a product error, don’t be afraid to report the incident so SAP Support can analyze the issue:

Phase 5: Follow

Wait, weren’t there four phases to accelerated learning? Right, but it’s a fast paced world and SAP HANA is speeding along quite nicely. It’s essential to stay in touch and follow along on one or many of our social media channels:

SAP HANA Careers

Many of you would like some advice on how to turn your SAP HANA knowledge into a career and find a job (and make lots of money of course). There are endless opportunities and depending on your background you might want to take a different path to success. Rather than going into detail here, I refer you to an excellent blog series by John Appleby who put together “The SAP HANA Career Guide”. Becoming certified will increase your chance of getting hired. Check it out. If you are ready to apply for a job, you might want to take a look at the interview questions that some have compiled.

Finally, here are some resources for the complete beginners to SAP (That was me over 20 years ago). I like the Blue Book which gives you great insight into the world of SAP projects.

Excellent, you made it through to the end. Overwhelmed? Just start at the top and take it step-by-step and soon you, too, will become an SAP HANA expert. As always we appreciate your feedback. Let us know what’s missing or how we can make adopting SAP HANA a more beautiful experience for you.

Best,
Marc Bernard
@marcfbe

Change Log

  • February 2014: Now with more and updated links as well as a section on careers around SAP HANA
  • April 2016: Completely revised with new and updated links
  • June 2017: Updated links
  • December 2017: Added link to SAP HANA Academy and fixed some links
  • June 2018: Updated links
  • November 2018: Updated links
252 Comments
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  • Thanks for the info marc, I am having experience in SAP Business one -Functional Consultant , can i move into SAP HANA? please suggest me which module will help….

    • Hello Ram,

      it’s a bit of a stretch for functional consultants. You might want to look into SAP HANA Modeling and extending SAP Business One data models (see training.sap.com).

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,

    Could you please guide, how can I start learning S4 HANA.

    I’m working in SAP SD functional area, is it like to learn S4 one should have good knowledge of technical side.

    Are there any courses ??

    Thanks,
    Anjli

    • Hello Anjli,

      please go to training.sap.com. You will find all SAP S4/HANA courses there.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Dear Marc,

    Its really wonderful article about SAP Hana. Thank you for that. I am JD Edwards Finance consultant with around 8+ years of experience . I am handling both technical and functional work. I would like to shift my career towards SAP and Please could you advise which will suit me better (SAP Hana or Regular SAP modules).

    Thank you very much in Advance.

    • Hello Sankar,

      thanks for the positive feedback. I suggest to look into SAP Simple Finance (now part of SAP S4/HANA). This way you get functional know-how and can dip into the SAP HANA world as well, for example for extending analytic models (and eventually building your own).

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,

    I am working as mainframe (And having knowledge of Hadoop hive pig, UNIX ) production support and have 1 years of experience. Am interested to do SAP hana. Please provide any suggestions

    I would like to shift my career towards SAP,could you please advice which module is good for me.

  • Hi Marc,
    Im working as Sales and Distribution Consultant(10+ yrs exp) with hand on Experience in ABAP. Which area/role in HANA is more suitable to me based on my background ?

    Thanks
    Durga

    • Hello Durga,

      look into SAP S/4HANA its S&D capabilities. This way you get an application angle and can lean into SAP HANA analytics and extensions.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Mark,
    I have around 5 yrs of experience in SAP Automation Testing on tools like SAP TAO,eCATT etc.Hence have exposure to SAP ECC modules like SAP SD,MM etc. Keen on diving completely in SAP,specially on HANA. Given my background,kindly suggest what would be the best way to get into SAP HANA and how to leverage my past experience into getting a job in HANA.

    • Hello Sharique,

      good news is that every SAP HANA project will need plenty of testing. Learn the basic about HANA, then look for some SAP S/4HANA project as a tester/test coordinator. You can then see how the test automation tools work on a system running on SAP HANA. You can go further by studying various trace tools and capture/replay features for SAP HANA.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • I am a CORE ABAP er. I have experience in ABAP is 2 years .Want to learn ADVANCE ABAP .Which one is good for me ?HANA or FIORI or ALE/ IDOC or others .Please suggest me ,i Cannot understand .

  • I am SAP XI/PI consultant. I want to move to HANA. Could you please let me know if i go for SAP HANA Implementation and modelling or SAP HANA Cloud Integration. Please suggest me ,i Cannot understand .

  • am SAP XI/PI consultant. I want to move to HANA. Could you please let me know if i go for SAP HANA Implementation and modelling or SAP HANA Cloud Integration. future waht will be good. Please suggest me ,i Cannot understand .

    • Hello Pankaj,
      the next logical step for you is to look into SAP Simple Finance and the financial/controlling part of SAP S/4HANA.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,
    I have experience in Database Management and Analysis with MS Suite and SQL. I confused that what can i learn in SAP HANA and any institute in Melbourne. Also whatever you advise please send me the learning guide for the course.
    Thanks

    • Hi Hemant
      please just have a look at the provided material and the link to SAP University which will list course in Australia.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc Bernard,

    I am a Java Developer of 5 yrs of experience in IT industry.
    I want to move to SAP platform, People have suggested that SAP BI/BW with HANA has great Job opportunities. I dont have any back ground of SAP earlier, Could you pleae advice me a road map for SAP platform.

    Regards,
    Mahammad Gouse Shaik

    • Hello Mahammad,

      SAP BW and SAP HANA are indeed very hot areas. However, these are very different to Java development. Have a look at the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (http://hcp.sap.com) and all of the development tools that come with it. This will be a much better fit.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hello Marc,

    Thanks for the information that you provided for the beginner.
    I have a question for you. I am Sybase Database Administrator(1-2yrs) and I have a knowledge of SAP ABAP(Basic), so should I think of SAP HANA? If yes, how should I proceed? Please any help will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Kunal,

      adding SAP HANA DB admin skills to your profile can only be a good thing. There are already thousands of SAP HANA installations and there will be many more. Start with the overview course(s) and then dive deeper into the operational aspects and data center readiness topics.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Maybe this is the right place to ask questions about HANA buzz?

    After nearly 20 years of various SAP exposure, including periods of intensive hands-on on several modules but Abap, I wander what will HANA, sooner or later arrving in a more massive manner into the market, mean to me as an ERP professionnal with SAP experience:

    1. Will ECC exist along HANA or be rather replaced by the latter?
    2. Does moving from ECC to HANA means for an existing user company to merely migrate and/or merge a couple of tables while replacing IT hardware?
    3. Does it mean for existing ECC consultants that their experience cannot be directly “translated” into HANA project tasks for customers, whether new or migrated from ECC?
    4. Is ECC experience a pre-requisite condition to become an efficient HANA consultant? Functional or rather technical?
    And so on…

    I have seen a couple of HANA and FIORI Youtube videos but none of them brings up answers to, in my opinion, some legitimate questions of consulting community. Has anyone here a personal view of this question, hopefully justified by actual experience?

    • Hello Andrzej,
      overall, your questions go beyond the scope of this blog. However, SAP HANA has been around for years and ECC (as well as many other applications) is running on top of SAP HANA very successfully and for many thousand customers.

      SAP HANA is a database platform and not replacing any application like ECC. What is replacing traditional ECC is SAP S/4HANA and my recommendation is to look into this in great detail. Start at http://sap.com/s4hana. Read about the solution, get trained, and help customers transitioning their old systems to SAP S/4HANA.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Dear Marc,
    Thank you for your blog and it helps lot for the people who are looking for career in SAP HANA.
    Need your advice on my learning and career path. I want to learn SAP HANA and also planning to do certification SAP HANA SPS11. I have 10 years of Exp in T&E & Global payroll, Apart from this, I have knowledge on SAP BW/BI. I don’t have any real time experience in SAP side and also don’t have any coding knowledge as I am from finance background (Bcom, MBA).
    I am planning to swift my career. Please suggest which is better for me.
    1) SAP FI
    2) SAP HANA
    3) Any other module
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Hi Chandrashekar,
    looks to me like it’s better to stay on the application side since you’re not a “techie”. Knowing SAP HANA and SAP BW/BI will be very helpful nevertheless. My recommendation is to look into SAP S/4HANA. Start with Simple Finance and then maybe other modules related to HR/Payroll. This will give you a good understanding on how applications work and run on SAP HANA. At a later point you might also want to look at SAP BW/4HANA to complete your skill set as this will be a combination that many SAP customers will run in the future.

    Best,
    Marc
    Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Thank you for your prompt response. Would please share some links S/4HANA. And also certification details. Since I came to know this certification for people who have already real time experience in SAP fico. Please advise me as I am seriously looking forward for change.

  • hello marc,
    i have done the sap hana.when i attended interview they are asking the real time questions.so i want to do the real time work on any company or internship in any company.can you help me for that?

  • Hi Marc,
    I work as a derivatives analyst for a stock broking firm, did MBA in finance and marketing. I am looking for a change in my career to IT and not into this line any more, actually I was looking for SAP FICO but after knowing about SAP HANA and reading blogs like this, HANA seems to be a better option comparitively, still in a confused state. Plz help me in picking the right one. And really thanks for sharing this useful information, good start for a newbie. Many online learning resources are available but found this source Tekslate.com as interesting. Suggest me more from your pool.

    • Hi Ian,

      let’s put it like this: SAP HANA itself is for techies. Unless you have at least some knowledge in databases and/or programming, you would have to start from zero with a steep learning curve to become “competitive” and turn this into a career. Possible but hard to do (certainly fine when you are entering the job market but not a typical career change option).
      Instead look at the many application that run on top of the HANA platform, like SAP S/4HANA Financials or maybe be some more adventurous and check the start-ups who are building on top of SAP HANA: http://startupfocus.saphana.com/gotomarket/
      http://startupfocus.saphana.com/program/demo/home/byindustry/Banking

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Mac i have 8 years of experience in BPO Sector and Bachelor of Computer Science Background, I wanted to change my career , Kindly suggest can i join Sap Hana Administration or suggest me the correct Course details.

    • Hi Raghavendra,

      SAP HANA is an exiting area to build a career on. However, I can’t tell you what to do based on such little information (nor am I an HR person or career advisor). Please check out some of the content I provided to see if you like SAP HANA and give it a try.

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

    • Hi Raghavendra,

      SAP HANA is an exiting area to build a career on. However, I can’t tell you what to do based on such little information (nor am I an HR person or career advisor). Please check out some of the content I provided to see if you like SAP HANA and give it a try.

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Thanku so much mac for the information.
    Kindly confirm which module should i proceed first.
    Can i start directly from sap hana or any other basics i need to learn before sap hana.
    Will i get a job as fresher.

    • Hello Sourav,

      many SAP BW and SAP BW/4HANA project require additional ABAP programming to extend and build additional apps on top of the data warehouse. ABAP for HANA skills – especially if you can implement ABAP managed database procedures (AMDP) are good to have.

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hello Sir, I have 12 years of it experience, i have been newly moved to sap basis section currently using ecc 6. Where do i start, learn sap hana or the current system of the company they are going to move to hana in a few months. Secondly how should i plan my learning to expertise sap basis. Do i start with installation and configuration. Are there softwares available for learning for current customers please guide me?

    • Hello Abdul,
      those are very general questions. Please try some of the suggestions I mentioned in the blog. As I wrote a lot of it is free!

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,

    I am working on SAS software as Developer/Programmer for Finance/credit card domain. But I came to know that SAS has scope mostly in finance and lifesciences. But I was interested in manufacturing analytics so I am now interested to learn SAP HANA. Do you it will be wise to switch from SAS to SAP HANA as both perform has same functionality.

    • Hello Ajay,
      SAP HANA is much more powerful than SAS. It’s certainly a good investment since many customers around the world are already using SAP HANA (and it integrates with SAS too if that’s required).

      Best,
      Marc,
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

      • Hi Marc,

        Thanks for the info..
        But as I told you i am interested into supply chain analytics so what should I learn in combination of SAP HANA so that I can get to work in the field I want. For your info, I have the knowledge of SAP MM as well and initially was thinking to switch from SAS to SAP MM. Do you think that knowledge of SAP MM along with HANA will help me to land job of my choice.

        • Sorry, but I’m not an expert in supply chain or MM. Please check the SAP Community for those topics and ask your question there.

          Best,
          Marc,
          Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,
    Thank you so much for your valuable suggestions and splendid guidance.
    Iam holding 7+ years of experience in ITIL framework(Asset/Change and Problem Management). I did my Masters in Computer Applications in 2009 but never worked on Software technologies. Now i want to switch my career towards SAP HANA. So can you please guide me what would be the best approach and is it a good idea switching career during this phase.

    • Hello Kranthi,

      it sounds like a bigger career change but anything is possible if you want it :-). Ask yourself what aspects of SAP HANA are most interesting to you. This will point you into the right direction for getting started and as I replied to many here, just give it a try for free!

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,
    This is jyothsna srinivas I have gone through your article and looks so much informative for the beginners in SAP. I have 9+ years of exp in testing and i am interested to learn SAP Hana and i dont have coding back ground. Please suggest me how this SAP hana would be useful for me and do i need to go thorugh anything specific features or module on SAP HAna. Based on that i will start. I am very much confused. please help me.

    Thank you,
    Jyothsna Srinivas

    • Hi Jyothsna,
      best thing is to give it a try with some examples. HANA SHINE example application can help or you just create some tables and data models yourself. Alternative would be to join an implementation project as a tester, of course.
      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

      • Hi Marc,
        thanks for your reply. Could you please suggest me which course should i take first to learn SAP Hana and which one is useful for me for career in SAP Hana.
        Can you please provide me the link of HANA SHINE example application and also the SAP system details so that i can start working on that.

        I am looking for the basic document for the begineers who would start SAP Hana.

        Thank you,
        Jyothsna Srinivas

  • Thanks for this write up. But the starter documentation on the SAP HANA Cloud still leaves much to be desired especially for newbies to the SAP Ecosystem. This might not be the right spot but thought I would post it for your perusal – For instance, I tried to create a database with the demo shine data and Configured a user “John” for the SHINE Db.

    When logging in via SAP Administrative console I could see two catalogs – one with SAP_HANA_DEMO and the other JOHN. When I tried using a Java example to access data I was unabe to access data on the demo database. Only could access data from tables I can create under the catalog JOHN.

    There are no clear examples explaining these in the sources you pointed out esp if one wants to play with the demo data. Apologies if this was the wrong place or I missed out on something clear.

  • hi marc,
    i am a sap mm consultant and having a 3.5 year of experience in sap mm ,and i want to move to sap s/4 hana in mm ,is it possoble to move foe a better future.
    please suggest me in details.

    • Hello Sunil,

      best thing is to learn about SAP S/4HANA and get a job in a project converting from ERP to SAP S/4HANA. Then you will see all the differences (and help resolve them). Find the Simplification List on help.sap.com for SAP S/4HANA to get started.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hello Marc.. I’d like to know the future of getting started with SAP HANA career. I’m from Computers background and knowledge on Java and PHP. Is there any advantage of existing knowledge to help me proceed with SAP HANA? Suggestions highly appreciated and accepted. Thank You.

    • Hello Bhanu,

      check out developers.sap.com. There are many very interesting topics. Get a free SAP HANA express system and try some of the tutorials. Cool stuff!

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Merc,

    I have to 2years experience in SAP ABAP and CRM.I’m want to move to SAP HANA or S/4 HANA.could please suggest me that “Is it right direction to built Future in SAP as ABAP developer?”. So can you please guide me what would be the best approach and is it a good idea switching career during this phase.
    Thanks and Peace in advance.

    Regards,
    Imran

    • Hi Imran,

      Adding HANA and cloud to your skill is the way to go. Best place to get going for you is https://www.sap.com/developer.htnml. Then check the ABAP, HANA, and cloud sections. There’s a lot of work for programmers especially code analysis and adjustments due to system conversion Suite to SAP S/4HANA and BW to SAP BW/4HANA.

      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc, I am SAP Basis Administrator with 5 years of experience. I want to switch to HANA, kindly advice on the current version of HANA and the materials i should start with. Also, do you have links where i can download Sap HANA Demo for practice purposes?

  • Hello sir
    Myself completed BTech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Am totally new for SAP. I want to start my career in SAP HANA. What should I do sir. Please suggest me

    • Hello Rahul,
      congratulations for your degree! Of course, you can spend some time (and money) on formal training for SAP HANA. However, I suggest to take a look at the links to free material first. If you know a bit about classic relational databases already (SAP HANA is different in many ways), then this can take you very far. Maybe look into some of the great books, too. Best thing to do is to get practical experience, for example with the free developer edition of SAP HANA and SAP HANA Academy. All the best wishes!
      Best,
      Marc
      Product Management SAP HANA DW

  • Hi Marc,

    I am a SAP BASIS Consultant and have a experience of around 4 years.I wanted to go into SAP Analytics domain wherein I can use SAP Analytics tools for predictive modeling,forecasting etc. Will it be good for me to learn HANA or can you suggest me how can i move to make my career in analytics domain keeping in mind that I am working as a SAP BASIS Consultant

    • Hello Arihant,

      SAP Analytics most often isn’t a technical topic. Unless you get into complex data modeling , I don’t think it’s a great area for more technical people.

      My suggestion would be to look into the more technical topics behind analytics, like setting up and configuring HANA options like spatial, text search, or predictive and linking HANA environments to big data (see SAP Data Hub).

      Best,
      Marc
      SAP HANA Competency Center

  • Hi Marc,
    I want to move to SAP S/4 HANA from Oracle and explore the power of same. Currently I am an Oracle developer having extensive experience in SQL SCRIPT, SQL, PLSQL, Performance Tuning etc. So I am looking for guidance to where to start. Learning SAP S/4 HANA will be enough or some functional module learning also required. So looking for your precious guidance.
    Thanking you in advance.
    Regards
    Abdallah

    • Hello Abdallah,

      SAP S/4HANA is an application and does not need any SQL programming and there’s little performance tuning required (if at all). You can extend SAP S/4HANA of course or develop applications that complement it. Check SAP Cloud Platform and learn about S/4HANA extension concepts.

      However, you skill set better matches native HANA modeling and development. Get started at developers.sap.com!

      Best,
      Marc
      SAP HANA Competence Center

  • Dear Marc,

    Accept my thanks for the precious guidance. You pinpointed the thing I was looking for that was SAP HANA only. Just last question is the SAP BW4/HANA also a suitable for me along with HANA modelling and development. Or firstly I should go for learning the HANA modelling and development then to SAP BW4/HANA.

    Regards
    Abdallah

  • Dear Mark ,
    I have few doubts .I would be very kind if you answer my 2 questions ?
    1. Whether a person not having implementation knowledge of sap R/3 modules cant pursue sap s/4hana modules ? for S/4HANA Functional modules ? Does R/3 modules implementation methods are required as a pre-requisite ?
    2. I am not interested in the technical modules such as S/4Hana on ABAP and if I would like to go for rest of S/4Hana Functional modules such as s/4hana simple logistics , finance , sourcing and procurement …..and left ones , so

    Do I need to have any of the programming languages skills such as SQL, RDBMS, JAVA……?
    for S/4Hana functional modules ? or
    Do S/4hana functional consultants need programming languages skills during their full cycle implementation project from start to end at any point of time ?

    • Hi Raj,

      The blog is about HANA so your question does not fit here. Nevertheless, you can learn SAP S/4HANA without any previous R/3 knowledge and you don’t need any programming skills. Programming does come in handy, when customers want to extend the solution but it’s nothing for beginners anyway. Go to training.sap.com where you can find courses for SAP S/4HANA.

      Best,
      Marc
      SAP HANA Competence Center

  • Hi Marc,
    I found this blog very helpful to everyone who is in SAP or who is not in SAP. I am not in SAP and I have 9 years experience in Software Tester including 3 years in automation testing.
    I have one query if you can answer then I would really be very thankful to you.

    As I have 9 years experience as Sofatware Tester, now I want to switch to SAP. Earlier I was thingking of Data Analytics career but it requires some logics to create application using some programming languages.
    Then I cam across SAP HANA, so can you please let me know that whether its a good choice of learning SAP HANA for data analytics as it requires sql (I know SQL). I will learn some other tools like BW etc with SAP HANA.
    WIll this be a good move or not, kindly help me in this.

    Thanks in advance.

    Thanks
    Amit Kumar