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Switching from Java to ERP

How do I switch from Java development into the ERP field? This question may not be very technical, but I really hope to get your suggestion. I am currently a Java developer, having several years of experience of J2EE application development (Servlet, JSP, EJB, XML). Now I am thinking of switching my professional area to being more focused on ERP, especially SAP. But I just don't know how to start. Can you give me some advice on this?

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You have picked a great time to start looking at a crossover from Java to SAP. With SAP announcing a number of new Java based initiatives, the need for developers who understand both is going to be paramount. Right now, you are looking at a six to nine month window in which to get fluent in SAP, specifically focusing on using Java to build SAP applications.

Your challenge is going to be gaining access to an R/3 system to get some real-world experience. Several options exist to do so, and choosing the correct one is very dependent on your current situation. The simplest, although most expensive, would be to rent time on an SAP system through a consulting company such as Accenture or through SAP, itself. You might also look at colleagues in your area who offer SAP training clases and discuss system time rental through them. For instance, Chico State University offers current courses on SAP and have full R/3 production instances at their disposal.

Other than that, going to a smaller company running SAP and offering them an internship might be a possibility. Helping them train or develop Java applications internally, in exchange for time on their development R/3 machines would be a good trade.

This was first published in July 2002

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