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Author's profile photo Yor Rombaut

Educating (future) SAP Developers – the biggest challenge!

Hello everyone!

It took me a while longer to share a new blog with you guys than I planned, but what a year it has been.. So with a little delay, let’s go!

In my first real blog about SAP education, I wish to address the fact that educating new SAP developers us presenting us with more and more challenges than it ever has. In future blogs I will address all these challenges in depth, but right now let’s start with the biggest one!

SAP Tutors’ biggest challenge!!

A little over 10 years ago, SAP courses all looked pretty similar.. The list of technologies that was taught was not that big, and the main focus was ABAP. The SAP system was built mainly on this technology, and nearly all problems/demands could be solved with it. Building new programs or extending the standard, ABAP was more than often (part of) the solution.

Of course there were some other technologies to be used as well, (Java) webdynpro/SAPScript/.., but they were always considered little siblings of the big brother ABAP!

These days, I believe the biggest challenge is choosing the right technologies to teach, because that list of siblings has been growing exponentially, and I don’t consider many of them as “little siblings” anymore.. And to be honest, I am dead certain this is a challenge I, as a teacher, will be faced with every year over again. The choices today are endless (even when we’re only considering SAP technologies):

  • ABAP
  • CDS
  • HANA
  • BOPF/RAP/Fiori Elements
  • UI5
  • CAP
  • BTP and all of its services: IoT/RPA/(conversational) AI/ …
  • And so on…

This is only a pretty general overview of possible SAP technologies, not even talking about how much in depth we can go in each of these technologies or the amount of technologies we can use when talking about Cloud Foundry.

What is (un)certain?

I think what we can all agree upon, is that for educating future developers, there is always too little time and too much we want to teach them. Therefor, as teachers, trainer and tutors, it is our responsibility to carefully consider our subjects and update them as often as possible.

It is certain, that tomorrows technology will look differently from today, it is also certain that it will change faster and faster. Just like Moore’s law, predicting that the amount of transistors on a microchip will double every 2 years, the amount of possibilities and technologies we can utilize in software development also grows exponentially. Proof of this can be found in the fact that also SAP is no longer only developing SAP specific technologies, but is more and more allowing integration with open source technologies.

Leading us to what is uncertain these days.. The time where SAP developers were nearly equal to ABAP’ers is definitely in the past! But then what is an SAP developer? What is mandatory for an SAP developer, is it a skill, a technology, an insight, a mindset or something else?

What’s next?

Questions like:

  • What is the pupil’s prior knowledge? (about SAP as well as about programming)
  • How much time do we get to teach them?
  • How many different technologies should we teach at least?
  • Is ABAP dead? (one of the hottest topics nowadays, also VERY relevant here)
  • What’s the best starting point?

I think there are too many interesting factors that we need to take into account, and too many questions and challenges to cover them all in this blog. That’s why I want to dedicate a series of blogs to this interesting topic where I welcome all opinions and feedback from the community..

I’m looking forward to take up this discussion with not only other trainers, but with all of you!!

Hope to hear from you, and see you guys in my next post!




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      Author's profile photo Morten Wittrock
      Morten Wittrock

      Hi Yor

      As you point out, it is no longer that well-defined what an "SAP developer" is. Also, no one person will fully learn all of those topics you list.

      In my world, the meaningful approach is to give learners a broad understanding of the current SAP technology landscape. I.e. the platforms, languages, stacks, services and so on. From there, let them dive deeper into the topics that capture their interest. The broad, big-picture understanding will still serve them later on, when they gain more specialised understanding of one or a few topics.

      Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts!



      Author's profile photo Yor Rombaut
      Yor Rombaut
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Morten,

      Thank you for the kind words! I agree completely with your answer.. A basic understanding of SAP systems and a good overview of the technologies that can be used with them is key.

      I hope to see more of your insights in my future blogs!



      Author's profile photo Daniel Wroblewski
      Daniel Wroblewski

      Wow, what a great blog and a lot to think about ... and I am also looking forward to reading more.

      As Morten Wittrock says, we cannot think of some monolithic SAP Developer -- as you said, not just ABAP, but also not one person learning everything, or one person taking 3 months' of course of ABAP, or someone who understands the entire landscape and why they are learning what they are learning.

      Some other points:

      • What we want to teach people may be different from what people want to learn, and we must deal with that.
      • People learn best by failing, and in small teams (perhaps even 2 people), and by applying their knowledge -- so we have to use technology to somehow replicate the way people learn.
      • Finally, maybe learning is no longer relevant. Really. Tehcnology changes so fast that I believe it is beyond most people's capability to constantly learn new things and excel at them before they have to learn something else. We have to find ways where people do not have to really learn, or that they learn naturally, or that the information and skill they need they will get just-in-time.

      Just some thoughts. Keep the blogs coming.

      Author's profile photo Yor Rombaut
      Yor Rombaut
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Daniel!

      You make some very good points, and I agree with them all.. That's why I try to get people to understand the general/architectural point of view about creating new software, before teaching them any actual technology. Let them gain some insights and principles rather than/before in depth learning.

      But I will get into those ideas in later blogs, looking forward to your insight into the matter as well!