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Expanding ABAP skills to meet today's SAP roles

ABAP hasn't entirely gone away and expert Jon Reed advises how developer's can use their current ABAP skills to expand their SAP knowledge-base for future roles.

Hi. I have more than two years of ABAP experience. Prior to ABAP, I had experience in VB and Panther. Now I am planning to enhance my skills. So, should I start looking at Java and Web-related packages for NetWeaver or should I go for techno-functional kind of things? I dont have much of fuctional experience. If NetWeaver, then which language/tools would you advise?
I think you've framed the question nicely: It's good for ABAP programmers to either expand their skills with Web-based programming or move into a functional role. I would also add team lead/technical project management to that list. In terms of which direction you should personally go, that depends more on your ultimate career goals which are hard for me to guess based on your question. To a degree, I think you also need to "go where the opportunities are." It is interesting to note that even in NetWeaver environments, there is still a lot of ABAP working going on. ABAP hasn't really gone away, but I think it's really important to understand how SAP's ESA architecture works and how it supports different kinds of development and modeling environments.

Sometimes the best way to move forward in SAP is simply to get involved with a project that is using the latest tools and technologies. Even if most of your role continues to be ABAP, perhaps you would also get exposed to iViews and the Portal Development Kit (PDK), or you might even get involved in some kind of xAPP development. You just never know. I think you are right to be looking to expand your skills beyond basic ABAP, so if you are unable to do that on your current project, you may want to look for an ABAP position that is more dynamic.

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