I have around 5 years of experience in ABAP. What could be the next logical step for me?

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In previous columns, I have made extensive recommendations for ABAP programmers. I have also addressed this question frequently in the SAP Career Discussion Forum in the "Discussions" section of this web site. I'm answering your question to point out to other readers that you I can give you a better answer if you provide more detail on your background. Also, if you take the time to read my previous answers, and then ask for a refinement or follow-up of a previous answer, I am MUCH more likely to address your question. Having said all that, the short version of my recommendation for ABAP programmers is that it all depends on your career aspirations. If you are interested in project management, then it's time to start thinking about team lead positions. If you're interested in remaining a hands-on programmer, then I would try to learn more about how ABAP development is included in SAP's NetWeaver platform, and how SAP's Java and web-related toolkits are impacting the development environment. If you don't have web-related and web services-related programming skills yet, then I think that's your next step. Of course, you didn't tell me if you have a very deep functional background. It's also possible you could move more in the functional direction. I would certainly look to specialize a bit more, such as programming within certain R/3 modules or mySAP solutions like APO. There are all sorts of ways to give more "edge" to your core ABAP skills, but I would need to know a lot more about your background and career aspirations to give you a very satisfying answer.

This was first published in July 2004

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