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Without Java experience: SAP BI or XI?

I'm an SAP consultant with four years of SAP ABAP experience and one year of SAP BW experience. Change is on my mind now. I'm thinking about moving to full SAP BI or SAP XI with enterprise portal. Which would you advise for someone without much of a Java background?

I'm an SAP consultant with four years of SAP ABAP experience and one year of SAP BW experience.

Change is on my mind now. I'm thinking about moving to full SAP BI or SAP XI with enterprise portal. Which would...

you advise for someone without much of a Java background?

One thing to keep in mind is that you don't always get to choose the next phase in your career like a location on a map. Sometimes you have to bend to the project opportunities you are given. Having said that, I like the idea of the ABAP-BW background, or now ABAP-BI. In most cases, I don't recommend jumping solely into one area of SAP. The most valuable SAP consultants can straddle several related areas. So, for example, I can see the combination ABAP-BI-Portals consultant working very well. You don't always have to choose between two areas - go for an appealing skills mix instead.

Having said that, I know that readers enjoy it when I do prioritize between different areas of SAP; so, if I had to choose between BI, Portals, and XI (now called PI), I would choose BI first, then Portals, then PI. The main reason? BI has the most customer acceptance, thus the most consulting demand. PI has the least customer acceptance of the three. Eventually, I expect the usage of PI to surpass that of Portals, but we are not there yet. I *do* think it's a good idea for you to get more comfortable with Java and web-based programming environments. ABAP is not dying, not even close, but the most sought-after SAP programmers will be able to easily move between Java and SAP environments.

This was last published in February 2008

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