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Learn SAP NetWeaver or go back to school to switch to a functional role?

Describes the options for an ABAP developer who wants to change jobs. Career and certification guru Jon Reed advises the user to learn a new SAP technology or get an advanced degree.

Hi there,

I work for a big manufacturing company and got into a supporting SAP role. During that position I gained familiarity...

with the MM and PS modules. I also started doing production fixes for the corporation and learned ABAP on the job. Now it appears that I am in a dead-end and there is no future/use of going in-depth in a technical direction. The company has a plant facility in India and now major development work happens in India.

So at this point, I am really wondering if I should stay with SAP ABAP programming or move on to going back to school for a business degree and have a career change. I really don't feel any growth in my current job and feel trapped with outsourcing efforts.

Here is what I think I should do based on your previous readings

* Move to the functional side of SAP
or
* Learn a new technology like NetWeaver/XI

Also I am not sure how the future is looking for Basis. Please provide guidance as I need to take steps to improve my job satisfaction and get re-motivated.

I would agree with your self-assessment. I've written extensively on the future of ABAP and how SAP programmer should respond, and the options you've described sum up a few possible choices. I do like the NetWeaver option, which essentially means becoming more of an ABAP/Java hybrid programming with cutting edge technology exposure.

Or, as you said, you could go functional, or you could even go back to school and get an advanced business degree. That's not needed to succeed in SAP, but it could open some doors for you, especially if you are looking into management positions. As for Basis, I like the Basis career path better than ABAP, but if you're going to switch from ABAP to Basis you might as well push to the functional side. It sounds to me that whatever option you choose, you are going to need to go to a new employer. You sound pretty stifled in your current job, and that's a problem because most successful SAP skills transitions involve a gradual skills shift with a cooperative employer. I would suggest that you do one of two things: either return to school, or apply to an another SAP customer that will put you in a forward-thinking role that will help you to expand your skills. Good luck.

This was last published in September 2005

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