- Get involved with some “non-SAP” stuff
- Start building a network and knowledge in the broader web development world
As it turned out, I actually got a little more than that, which I’ll come to shortly…
This isn’t a ‘blog post to describe the content of last night’s Node.js introduction, however I will say I found it really useful and in the space of 30-40mins I got enough of an overview of what Node.js is to understand how I could use it and what it basically is. I can understand a bit more why people like Tobias Hofmann and John Patterson as well as others have been talking about Node.js in recent times, with posts such as this and this.
Getting this insight into non-SAP technology, in a non-SAP environment was really what last night was all about for me and I’m so glad I made the time and turned up. Not because I am now a Node.js expert (I’m not) or even just because I’ve gained a little Node.js knowledge (I have.) The real win was purely and simply being involved in some interesting tech stuff that wasn’t SAP driven.
After the presentation, during the Q&A time, there were a number of good discussions around Node.js that also branched off into other, related topics. As is often the way, I learnt lots from this unstructured discussion. Most importantly, I was able to understand and follow the discussion, even though most of it was about subjects I have no personal experience or knowledge in. Further, I was able to contribute to the discussion with (hopefully) valuable input. Why am I highlighting this when to many of you it will seem a very basic achievement?
Outside the bubble
The thing is, it doesn’t matter how good you are and how deep or wide your knowledge of SAP goes, step outside the bubble and it is a different world. Outsiders talk a different language, use different tools, have different motivations and requirements. They don’t get what us SAP folk are talking about and it would be too difficult for us to explain our stuff to them, and them their stuff to us.
As an aside, the meet up was hosted in rooms owned by DoESLiverpool. As I had arrived a bit early, I was treated to a tour of the space and facilities by Adrian McEwen who is a co-founder of the DoESLiverpool site. The place is rammed with 3d-printers, laser cutters, vacuum formers and all sorts of other very cool stuff. Arduino and RaspberryPi devices are everywhere. Basically, if you are into meddling/hacking/making stuff you are in the right place. They also have some co-working desks and I’m hoping I’ll make the effort to turn up and work there on the odd occasion in future. I suspect I’ll benefit greatly from working in a completely different environment.
Coming back full circle to reaching out to the non-SAP world, here are some very shallow observations I made last night, mostly judging books by covers:
- There were ~25 people in attendance
- Most appeared under 30
- Only 2 were female
- I was the only one in a suit (maybe I was the only one who’d gone straight from work?)
- I asked and ~5/6 had heard of or were aware of SAP
Ultimately, it felt very different to a room full of SAP consultants. Not better, not worse – just different. I’m still positive this can only be a good thing for me.