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advice for a beginner

Dear community, an MM consultant contacted me on LinkedIn. First of all, nothing special. People are happy about contacts. However, he asked if I could give him advice – advice on how to learn ABAP. Since there is no easy answer to this question for me, I suggested a phone call. Because of the common mother tongue, this was simply possible. We had that call today. A really nice person looking for information on how to learn ABAP. Of course you want to help 🙂

After he shared his experiences so far, I was able to make some recommendations. I also suggested that he should ask the SAP community (wisdom of the crowd): My recommendations are based on my experience. Other developers can make other recommendations that may help him a lot more.

So I hope for your support. What recommendations would you give to a beginner who wants to learn modern ABAP?

In order to stimulate the discussion, I have put together some of the topics that I find important in this context. First of all, a suggestion for the procedure (perhaps not the perfect order):

  1. Find a company that supports you.
  2. Get to know and team up with your colleagues. They should write modern ABAP.
  3. Take ABAP basic courses and learn the fundamentals.
  4. Make your first experiences in small projects. Your colleagues should support you.
  5. Build your skills. There is no end.
  6. Take on more responsibility over time.
  7. Share your experiences.

Here is a list of some skills that I find important. You don’t have to master them all, but a good combination and an average level may be helpful. The skills that you lack yourself should be compensated by friends and colleagues. In a team you have to find the right place and bring the performance that you can contribute. Nobody is perfect 🙂

Hard skills (technologies, methods, procedures)

Soft skills

  • analytical skills
  • interest in new things
  • communicative
  • social
  • empathic
  • good writing skills
  • organized

Just to name a few. As I said, in my opinion nobody can have them all.

What do you think?

 

Best regards, thanks for reading and please stay healthy

Michael

 

P.S.: Please support the virtual wishing well.

P.S.S.: Not tired of reading blogs? Check this blog by Andreas Gautsch.

15 Comments
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  • Good list! I wouldn’t have been able to answer it in that short period of time.

    There are two points of you that I would leverage:

    1. Do get used to ADT in the first place. It should be a lot easier if you don’t know a SE80 to compare.
    2. If He knows other language try do design your Software as you would there. SAP Supports a lot of outdated stuff that you should avoid even if it worked.

    I have to make another Addition: the community. There is a huge amount of very skilled and helpful people here. But sadly I think there are even more suggesting you a “solution” that probably works but that souldn’t be used that way. Examples: direct table Updates, calling unreleased function Modules or Modules that have been replaces by classes or Modules that belong to an unused and therefor not updated Module, writing your own xlsx-writer,…

    I don’t know how to distinguish this as a beginner. But in my opinion that can do a lot of harm.

    Just before submitting I thought of another one: Do Code reviews very regularly. You’ll learn a lot from it!

    • Thank you for these valuable tips and additions, Michael! I agree with all of your points and will incorporate them into the blog.

      A beginner, unfortunately, cannot rate various suggested solutions. I experience that again and again as an instructor. This can only be done by very experienced colleagues or a mentor.

  • Prepare the exam of SAP Certified Development Associate : ) It’s standard and covers all basic needs to know.

    Practise, Practise & Practise.  : p

  • Good content. Thanks for sharing.
    From my point of view, I believe that before starting with ABAP, interested people should have basic knowledge in programming logic, databases and networks.

    • That’s true. I think anyway that if you work in IT, you cannot say that you are “only” ABAP developer. There are so many interesting technologies. And it’s not bad to have heard about databases like MongoDB (NoSQL) 🙂 On the contrary, it’s pretty interesting.

    • Good hint. After a certain time, you should definitely get a GitHub account as a new ABAP developer (abapGit). And under no circumstances research another method of how to create Excel files from a SAP ERP … there’s already a solution … 😉

  • My short answer to “how to learn ABAP” would be to just start. 🙂

    This seems like a perfect opportunity to plug my (and Brian’s) book ABAP: An Introduction. It was written exactly for this type of audience and we even outlined the “learning journeys” for different group of readers. One of them is the functional consultants who want to learn some ABAP but not necessarily dream of becoming professional developers.

    This is a second edition of the book that underwent major updates and includes tons of new material covering some of the items mentioned in this blog. Granted, since this was an introductory book explaining basics like IF…ELSE, we could barely scratch the surface on some important topics like CDS or ABAP tools (otherwise it would’ve been a very long book 🙂 ). But still, it provides enough baseline information.

    The book is not free (slightly cheaper on Amazon) but that’s because several knowledgeable and experienced people spent a lot of time polishing every paragraph in it. With that in mind, I think it’s a great value for such concentrated knowledge.

    One important note: everyone learns differently. There is no right or wrong way. We can share what works for us but one might take a different path if it works better for them. For example, personally I don’t push people towards Eclipse right away. If they’d prefer to work within SAP GUI while they become more familiar and chose to explore Eclipse later that’s perfectly fine. Our book covers both SAP GUI and Eclipse and it has many side notes that will gently guide the readers towards the right path. So the only mistake one could possibly make is stop learning.

    Thanks for the blog!

    • Hi Jelena. Nice post. A basic book is a very good recommendation. I believe that it’s difficult for an new ABAP developer to never work with legacy code. Therefore, due to historical development, he must inevitably deal with a large number of technologies. Even if only a few technologies are up to date. A basic book helps you get started and take the first steps. Thanks again!

  • At present I am learning ABAP.   I think the following recommendations  are important  .

    First :  you must master basic ABAP  course.Because everyone is different. you  study  it by reading book.  perhaps  you have a  online course  training  or watching video .

    Second. you can analyse program with debugging . IF you master it . Maybe you  understand  the program and  how to  variables pass value.

    At last: you understand your business.  IF you don’t  understand your business,   even you finish program, you don’t know  how to test.

    Above  for me . It is important. But he is MM  consultant . The third is not priority. Of course  you must join a  Abap team and it is premise. 

     

     

    • Thanks for your contribution, Harry. I agree with you on all of your points. The application logic and the data together make up the process. You have to know the process so that you know what it’s about. Small allusion: DMBTR 🙂

  • Here’s an addition from a LinkedIn-member. He wrote in on LinkedIn and I’ve copied it to this place, to have everything together:

    [..] I would just add to the list that regarding plain ABAP, he/she could dump everything related to Dynpro/Screen programming/PAI, PBO, at selection screen, ALV-Grid, Field Catalogues, WebDynpro etc. as these are (from my point of view) „dead“ or dying Technologies. Parameters & select-option statement is ok, & cl_salv_table factory method, to be able to write some simple input/output reports, to be able to test his code. Other than that, after he acquired principle „OpenSQL“ knowledge, as you‘ve mentioned, CDS-Views, Annotations and RAP. Together with his MM-process expertise, it would be a good value add. Good luck for him!

    Like this, he would simply skip roughly 20 years of evolution of ABAP, and jump to the most prominent and recent part 😅

    Another interesting recommendation. Could be difficult because in practice you have to reject every project with “legacy code”.

    • It’s a valid point but, as you said, such approach would limit what one could do as an ABAPer. We had to deal with the same difficult choice when working on a book: how much of the legacy and new  stuff to include while keeping reasonable volume. We ended up adding information on CDS and dynpro screens at the same time, expanding in both directions. 🙂

      There is, however, a big difference between knowledge expected from a professional ABAPer and what would be reasonable for a functional specialist with ABAP hobby.

  • Thank you very much for your blog post, Michael, and everyone’s contribution in the comments. This is a good collection of topics to go along with.

    What a coincidence: This is exactly what I was looking for at the moment 😉