Q

Work in ABAP or learn J2EE and Enterprise Portal?

I have just completed my graduation and have started working in SAP. I have an option to work in ABAP or learn J2EE and Enterprise Portal. Which one has a better future and which should I choose?

I have just completed my graduation and have started working in SAP. I have an option to work in ABAP or learn J2EE and Enterprise Portal. Which one has a better future and which should I choose?
Very good question. As you probably know, SAP was originally written entirely in ABAP, its own proprietary language. But in recent years, SAP has turned more to Java and J2EE development standards. Enterprise Portal, for example, is written entirely in Java, and Netweaver, SAP's next-generation architecture that ships with mySAP ERP and mySAP Business Suite, also supports J2EE environments. SAP was leaning so heavily towards Java and J2EE a couple of years ago that some folks pronounced ABAP dead. However, the death of ABAP turned out to be premature -- partially because SAP's install base is so heavily invested in it and partially because ABAP remains the standard for performance in high-volume SAP settings.

So, the way I would answer your question is: None of the above. A better way of putting it would be: Learn all...

three. It's helpful to have some ABAP know-how if you are programming in SAP, but you also want to have the J2EE skills and understand how SAP is going to utilize a services-based architecture going forward. I also like the Enterprise Portal development skills, but I see this as too narrow a niche for most consultants. Therefore, a combination of the three is ideal. If you have to choose now, I would start with J2EE and portals, but do your best to pick up as much ABAP as you can on the side. There are also some great ABAP books out there. The SAP programmer of the future is a hybrid who can easily shift from cutting edge Web services initiatives and "old school ABAP" based on their project's needs.

This was last published in May 2006

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