You may have noticed that a number of people on SCN have received the SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Badge! A shiny red star with a RAM chip in the middle!
And… you may be wondering how to get it. The SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Program looks to recognize those individuals who are positively contributing to the SAP HANA Ecosystem. The badge is achieved via a HANA Distinguished Engineer Nominations process, and the HANA Distinguished Engineer Council meets periodically to review nominations. In addition, we sometimes scour SCN and other places to proactively nominate worthy individuals.
What does it take to be a HDE?
It’s pretty simple. We have a SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer FAQ which describes this in more detail, but there are basically two things.
1) Be a HANA practitioner. You need to be working with customers on projects and have real-world experience.
2) Share your knowledge. You need to consistently share quality technical content with the public.
Everything else is open to interpretation – some HANA product managers work with customers, which is awesome. Some people only share content behind company firewalls, which we don’t recognize as public content. Some create more “high level” and “marketing” content, which we recognize as valuable to the community, but we don’t recognize that content for this program.
What is the purpose of the HDE program?
The HDE program looks to further adoption of the SAP HANA platform by encouraging a thriving community of practitioners and recognizing those who would be an asset to any customer project.
Why is the community aspect so important?
It’s part of the core beliefs of the people who setup the program that the best way to help tech is to create a thriving community of content writers and sharing. It’s the same reason why we are a huge supporter of the OpenSAP folks.
Also note that the HDE program is created by the community, for the benefit of customers. It’s sponsored by SAP, and we are very thankful to have Saiprashanth Venumbaka and Craig Cmehil help lead it, but SAP don’t own it.
Who can’t be a HDE?
We get a lot of submissions from people who are really valuable to the ecosystem – trainers, sales, pre-sales, marketing. All that content is really important, but every HDE is someone who customers would want on your project team, so whilst we feel really bad when those individuals are nominated, they can’t be HDEs.
We also get a lot of submissions from lots of awesome consultants who don’t share technical content publicly. If you don’t share content publicly, you can’t be a HDE 🙂
We added a “**** Please note that if there isn’t public material linked here, the candidate will not be considered ****” to the SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Nomination Form but that didn’t stop some people from nominating themselves without it!
Wow, that’s an intimidating list of people!
Look, you couldn’t have a program like the HDE program without people like Lars Breddemann and Thomas Jung! But, you don’t have to be a rock star to be a HDE, just a regular person delivering projects and sharing quality content. That said, we definitely screen the actual content that people produce; if it’s in any way negative to the community (or technically inaccurate, or just copies of documentation), we’ll pass.
There’s actually one individual that the HDE council has invited twice and has declined twice (you know who you are!), because they don’t think they have sufficient real world experience.
What about diversity?
This year, the popularity of SAP HANA has thankfully meant that the HDE program has grown past American, German and British consultants. We have HDEs from Poland, Czech Republic, Argentina, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, India, Brazil and China, which is really cool. But we are ashamed to say that there are no women. Let us know if you can help with that.
Does being a HDE help with career progression? What’s in it for me?
That’s a very tricky question because it is very difficult to benchmark. HANA is a very hot technology and experienced resources are always in demand, and the HDE brand is definitely intended to be a mark of good quality resources, but it’s up to individual employers to recognize this. Other programs like Microsoft’s MVP program are considered to be positive to careers, so it does stand to reason.
As for what’s in it for you, sharing concepts makes a consultant more rounded and a better communicator. The resume has been replaced by LinkedIn and many employers look for individuals with a brand and referenceability. HDEs get opportunities to speak at events, webinars, to write books and other activities. If you don’t see that as good for your career then that’s cool, the program just isn’t for you.
So how do you get that badge?
There are four simple steps!
1) Sign up to SCN. The home of the HDE program is SCN, so you do need a SCN ID to get the badge!
2) Get yourself on a HANA project. You’re going to need that real world experience!
3) Share what you learnt. Everyone shares in their own way and we don’t proscribe a particular way. It can be speaking, writing blogs, forum activity, webcasts, podcasts. Whatever you like. You can be active on SCN, Slideshare, Twitter, Stack Overflow or anywhere else you choose, but remember the content has to be public. That training session you delivered to your peers in Walldorf doesn’t count!
4) Nominate yourself, or wait for someone else to nominate you. HDEs are chosen on merit, so it’s just fine to nominate yourself, we don’t mind.