I'm an ABAP programmer and have been involved in this field for the past 3 years. I have done ABAP programming in various modules of SAP viz., SD, MM, PP, PS, HR, PM, FI and CO, and various categories of ABAP mainly SAPScript, BDC, transaction, user exits and reporting, classical, interactive and ALV. I have 1 year of experience in VB and JAVA programming and worked in CAD for 3 years with Auto CAD Solidworks packages. I was also working as an instrumentation engineer where I was basically doing maintenance work. Based on this background, what would be the best field for me to look into while keeping my interest apart for now? The following are my choices:

1) Functional consultant - PS, PM
2) mySAP components, mobile sales, CRM, EBP, SEM, BW
3) Remain in ABAP and learn advanced technologies in ABAP ALE/IDOCS, Workflow or as and when they come.

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Thanks for the detailed information on your SAP background. I'm not 100% clear on how you narrowed your future options down to the three scenarios you listed. In particular, it is not clear to me, with option two, whether you are implying making a jump to the functional side of SAP or not. After all, there is plenty of technical work on mySAP components as well. I'm going to assume that your first two options are functional and the third is technical. In that case, I would definitely recommend that you remain technically focused, as per option three, and build on your current strengths. This is a tough SAP market, and you need to be drawing on all your skills in order to capitalize. It's not the best time for a functional transition. On the other hand, your reference to "advanced ABAP technologies" seems a little like "last generation." How about getting skills with SAP Java Connector, iViews, or the Portals Development Kit? How about adding some BW/SEM development experience to the mix? Or perhaps APO-CIF skills? How about NetWeaver XI, which replaces the SAP Business Connector? And add BAPI exposure to the mix also. XML and iXML have also been coming up a lot lately. I like the idea of staying on the development side where you have deep expertise, but I would recommend some intense research and pursuit of SAP "next generation" development environments.

This was first published in July 2004

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