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Expert: Don't be a cubicle coder site expert Jon Reed offers a short to-do list for programmers who want to stay safe when outsourcing trends threaten their jobs.

The explosion of SAP programming jobs in the 1990s is backfiring for those who sought the high-paying positions, according to career and certification expert Jon Reed, managing editor of

Many people moved into the programming arena with visions of a long-term career path, but corporate IT departments are not willing to spend time training or retraining programmers after they're hired, Reed said.

"A 15-year programmer with no experience in the latest version of Java is not considered a relevant resource for a Java job opening," Reed said.

Also, ABAP programmers could earn $150 an hour in the late '90s, motivating a lot of people to move into the field, creating a glut in the market, he said.

Now, companies have targeted ABAP programming jobs for outsourcing, Reed said. A coding project can be outsourced on a piecemeal basis, and the code can get delivered pretty effectively, he said.

In an interview with, he offered advice on how to avoid losing an SAP job to the outsourcing trend.

Don't be a "cubicle coder." Develop a stake in the corporate business process and develop communication skills so that you are invaluable working with users and functional team members.

Develop team leadership skills. Programmers should rarely abandon programming for either management or functional work, but management can work out for some, and it's good to be recognized for managerial skills.

Learn new technologies. This includes SAP Business Warehouse (BW), portals and Web-related development skills like Java and XML. The more a programmer is equipped with cutting-edge skills, the less likely he is to be outsourced.

Certifications. Certifications will expand a programmer's knowledge base, but a programmer shouldn't spend money on certifications and expect great immediate results. One thing to remember, though, is that certification classes are great places to network and meet peers who might help advance your career sometime.



Check out the story on SAP pros fight for few good jobs.

Check out the featured topic on the SAP Career Corner.

To provide your feedback on this article, contact Robert Westervelt.

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