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Client/server software engineer wants to break into SAP

I am a software engineer working in the Client/Server technology platform. I want to work in the SAP solutions department of my organization. I need to acquire at least some basic skills in ABAP. What should be my plan of action in order to achieve my goal? I have no exposure or background in SAP or any other ERP system.

I am a software engineer working in the Client/Server technology platform. I want to work in the SAP solutions department of my organization. I need to acquire at least some basic skills in ABAP. What should be my plan of action in order to achieve my goal? I have no exposure or background in SAP or any other ERP system.
Well, you have already accomplished two important steps: first, you are working for a company that is running on SAP, and second, you have identified the key skills (ABAP) you would need in order to get involved on that side of the project. The other key is to get involved: hopefully you have built up some positive relationships in your company and with your managers based on the work you have already put in for them. You will need these relationships to get your first break. Your next step might be to invest in some ABAP training for yourself, or to find out if your company has an SAP training course they can send you on. It's not a bad idea to offer to foot the bill for such. If you can obtain this knowledge, this should give you a head start in your quest to learn everything you can about SAP development. And more importantly, once you have ABAP training, you can now go to your manager and ask them if there is a chance for you to get involved with the SAP project in some way. They should be impressed by your energy and commitment, and how they respond to you will give you a good "gut check" as to your prospects at that company. That "gut check" does not always go well, but it gives you an invaluable sense of whether this company is going to be a good place for you to develop your software skills. Of course, if they tell you "no," you can still keep trying. Some folks have managed to get involved simply by working late, making friends on the SAP project team, and learning the ropes that way. It all depends on your company culture. If you try a variety of tactics and nothing gets you closer to the project, you may be forced to look at the options outside of your current company if you are determined to get involved. But I wouldn't do that until you have spent a fair amount of time and energy seeing what you can accomplish in your current setting.
This was last published in February 2004

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