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ABAPer looking to catch the open integration bandwagon

I have come to realize that SAP set a new course through the new open integration architecture and the broad technology platform of NetWeaver. I do not have hands-on experince in Java or .NET, but I have managed small projects and experienced the vast oppurtunities. As an ABAPer, what do you think I should focus on? Should I go for 1) Basis Infrastructure 2) Open Integration (there aren't many projects as SAP has settled down with some Technology strategy only now, or: 3) I have industrial experience so should I move to new dimension functional projects, or: 4) I feel there is not much in pure ABAP in days to come because of OOPS.

I am keen to know what areas I should focus and learn in open integration as I feel this is he logical spot for a pure ABAPer to move forward at. Your comments please.
Check out the other ABAP question I answered this month for more thoughts on the future of ABAP. You are right to re-evaluate "pure ABAP" as a career path. At the same time, switching over to Basis or EAI is a major shift and you'll be competing with much more experienced folks for projects. Another option is simply to shift your ABAP focus into more of a Java and object-oriented direction. This means taking as much training as you can and getting the most relevant project experience as possible. True, there are also ABAP roles related to "New Dimension" products. But your use of the term "New Dimension" shows me that you are lagging behind SAP's latest product terminology. You need to try to stay ahead. Always remember that there are plenty of options to get into mySAP-related products on the technical side without becoming a functional consultant. A more logical transition for you might be to become an ABAP team lead, or to move into a BW focus, since BW underscores so many SAP and mySAP products. These aren't easy moves to make, but the options you listed show me you are thinking of making big leaps. In this market, it's hard to make big skills leaps - gradual transitions are the way to go. And remember, whether it's ABAP or Java, the bottom line in the same: SAP will always need talented developers to customize its products. From that vantage point, you might indeed become an integration specialist. Remember that the key to technical success is not allowing yourself to be easily outsourced. In that sense, Basis and open architecture might indeed be a nice niche for you, as Basis is less easily outsourced than ABAP. But it all depends on your background. If you have ten years of programming experience, it would be a shame to abandon all of that for systems administration. Try to build on what you already have in a strategic way, taking little risks again and again instead of one big risk all at once.
This was last published in June 2003

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