If I am a well-experienced Java Web-based Programmer and want to get into SAP environment, do I need to study ABAP? Or do I need to get the ABAP certification?
Certification is a "nice to have" in the SAP market, nothing more. What matters more to you is this: What kinds of skills do the best SAP programmers have? In past columns, I've noted that the SAP programmer of the future is going to be a "hybrid" of Java, XML, and ABAP. That's a little simplistic, because SAP has all kinds of proprietary, Web-based tools you'll need to keep an eye on as well. However, I don't think you have to have ABAP to succeed as an SAP programmer anymore (though it's always helpful). What you really need to do is find a way to tie your Java skills into SAP-related technologies. That means getting yourself in on some type of SAP implementation. I recently did an interview with an SAP Enterprise Portals consultant who had a lot to say about the potential of Portals. Portals is one area where Java skills will come into play during mySAP product installations, but there are others. You may be able to find your way onto an SAP project based solely on the skills you have now. If you think training and certification might help you, you might look into getting training in something specific to SAP's web-based initiatives, such as Enterprise Portals, Unification Server, BAPIs, SAP Java Connector, etc. That kind of training might be even more valuable to you than ABAP exposure. What you need is a clearer understanding of how your Java skills tie into mySAP project needs, and that's going to take legwork. Formal training is one possible aspect of that, but online resources like SearchSAP.com also have a lot to offer you.
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