I have an opportunity to work on SAP NetWeaver platform. Considering my background and experience, will it be a good idea to work on NetWeaver? Will there be any use of my earlier experience? Is it a worthwhile move? I am pretty excited to work in SAP, but the real question is, is it going to boost my growth path? Also, what is your anticipation of NetWeaver growth and market share and demand in market?
In reality, NetWeaver supports multiple development environments, and there is debate amongst SAP technical folks as to which development approaches work the best. There even seems to be some confusion as to whether SAP is going to commit even more fully to Java and web-based development or continue to support "advanced ABAP." These questions aren't easy to resolve, but I do think there is a place for Java and web-based programmers in NetWeaver, and of course, project managers like yourself that understand these kinds of development environments are good to have around too.
I guess what I would say about Java is that if you're looking to maximize your professional challenges and your rate, you want to find a way to work in the large enterprise settings where the performance issues in Java are pushed to their limits. You want to be on the cutting edge, and whether you are working within a large SAP environment or a large Oracle environment, I'm not sure it matters all that much. Having said that, SAP does seem to be the "thought leader" in terms of what is possible in cutting edge ERP development, so maybe SAP is the best home for your skills. I do think that demand for NetWeaver-related skills will continue to increase as more and more companies upgrade to the latest versions of SAP. But it seems like your question is asking for some assurances as to where the market is going to go, and the truth is that no one has a crystal ball and there are no guarantees. I'd like to see you focus a bit less on "what is trendy" and focus a bit more on chasing technical challenges. Have a passion for being the best technical manager you can be, and whether or not you end up working in SAP or not, you'll always have work on the technical side -- no matter what the market does.
This was first published in March 2005