SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: Abdulbasit Gülşen
|The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
When we look at the positive impact of the SAP Community, there’s a lot of value provided by members who “pay it forward” and make contributions to topics, groups, answers, blogs, events, programs, resources, developers, and learning.
One person can make a big difference by taking the time to share their expertise, skills, and/or work experience.
It has been proven that positive acts build a community exponentially, and that it can create a positive ripple effect when members see tangibly that one good act deserves another. “Paying it forward” can make the community a better place.
For Abdulbasit Gülşen, SAP Technology Architect, SAP Mentor, and founder of AG Information Systems and Consulting, he took the “pay it forward” leap and made it a part of his professional journey. We caught up with him to learn about his insights and acclaimed book, “100 Things You Should Know About ABAP Workbench?”
Julia Russo (JR): From your school days at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey ‘til now, what motivated you to become a technical architect and entrepreneur by way of your business: AG Information Systems and Consulting?
Abdulbasit Gülşen (AG): When I started my university studies in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, I had always been interested in electronics but didn’t have any experience with computers. However, my roommate in the dormitory had experience with programming and he helped me learn my first programming language: GW-BASIC.
I was very excited with coding and spent all my spare time learning programming during my university studies. Five years later, after graduating, I found myself looking for jobs in programming instead of electronics.
That was the start of my journey which brought me to my current position, but the journey still continues.
JR: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What has been the most meaningful part of the experience for you thus far?
AG: After my graduation from university, I connected with the SAP Ecosystem a year after starting my professional career. Those were not the days that you could use search engines or communities to improve your skills. A few years later, I found myself in the SDN (SAP Developer Network) Community which was a unique place to find technical documents, forum discussions, and tutorials. I started using SDN regularly, finding solutions to my problems related to SAP, reading blogs, and consuming a lot of information. That pushed me to think that I must “pay it forward” and help the community grow.
I started publishing blogs, helping people in discussion forums, and also initiated the first SAP Inside Track organization in Istanbul in 2010 which was a great experience. I’m very happy to see that the tradition still continues today with a growing number of participants. As a result of these activities, I was nominated by the community and selected as SAP Mentor in 2012.
It was a fantastic moment for me to wear the SAP Mentor shirt and be a part of the group who has the passion to “pay it forward” and influence both the Community and SAP. I’ve participated in many activities, workgroups, and discussions in the last nine years. The most valuable part has been the opportunity to work closely with SAP product teams and executives and provide the feedback that we gather from the community and customers.
JR: What inspired you to write your book “100 Things You Should Know About ABAP Workbench?”
AG: After all of my community engagements, I received the offer to write a book for SAP Press. I thought that would be a good step forward to share my experiences with more people. Although it was a tough and busy period of time, reading the positive feedback from different parts of the world made me feel very happy and proud. It is completely different than writing a blog or an article. There is no option to fix or revise it since it is printed physically. You need a lot of preparation and have to be very careful writing a single word on it. It still makes me happy when I see it on my bookshelf.
JR: From your experience in working with ABAP code, as the cornerstone of SAP S/4HANA performance, what are examples of key steps to check for when addressing system inefficiencies? How can code optimization improve output?
AG: I think writing clean code is one of the most important parts of software development. All ABAP developers should keep in mind that the code they are developing will be used for a long time. There will be new requirements, bug-fixes, and extensions to these codes. All of these changes will probably be done by someone else. No matter how complicated the requirement, it will most likely be developed in less than a year, but it will be used on the system for many years, or even decades. It is important to fulfill the requirements, but it is more important to leave a clean and extendable code behind. From my experience, most of the performance issues or bugs appearing on customer systems arise from dirty codes.
JR: Integrating blockchain solutions has many applications including supply chain, finance, etc. With your recent Hyperledger Administration and Development Linux Foundation certifications, what challenges are you most interested to address (e.g., technical interoperability, security, data management and/or regulatory)?
AG: While I was spending most of my time on SAP systems, Blockchain Technology has become very popular in recent years. It caught my attention, so I decided to investigate it further. Although the main consideration of most people is primarily on cryptocurrencies, as a technical person I wanted to get my hands dirty with the technical infrastructures of the blockchain platforms and use cases for enterprises.
The idea of moving to the decentralized databases sounded good at first, but after diving deeper into platform, I saw many negative effects and disadvantages of the platform depending on that use case.
That’s why the most important challenge I see on this transition to Blockchain is to use this technology only when it brings real benefits. Otherwise, you will end up with a more complicated, energy inefficient system, which requires much a larger workforce to operate.
JR: What advice do you give students and recent graduates who want to go beyond just getting a job, but rather developing their credentials and, as a result, launching their career? How can they get traction as a Technology Architect to make a real impact to organizations either as an employee or consultant?
AG: I’ve seen many students or recent graduates who don’t have any hands-on experience with the area that they want to work at in the beginning of their career. It always reminds me of my time at the university and needing more work experiences.
I didn’t stick with the courses [Electrical and Electronics Engineering] that I was taking, but rather I tried to experience software development and different programming languages along the way. I can still appreciate the advantages of those efforts even after more than 20 years since my graduation.
For those who are in the beginning of their career journey, please try to have as much experience as possible during your studies. This will not only help you to choose the correct area/company to work with, but also make it much easier to get a job in the organization that you want.
I can assure that making a small effort in the beginning to get hands on experience, will make a big difference and positively impact your career journey.