8 years is a long time to have a career as an SAP ABAP consultant. While one may say the experience gained in those years are more than sufficient, I personally say there are a lot of things I can still improve. Perhaps it’s not too late to learn more, but surely my career could have been much better if I considered certain things. So here are the things that I wished I could have done when I started my career.
1. Write More Self-Documentation
Most SAP ABAP consultants I know often neglected this including me back then. But as time went by I realized that this habit can turn me into a better SAP ABAP consultant. Documentation of the basics is good but it is even better if you create documentation for specific scenarios or for solving specific problems.
What makes it even better, you can post it online and who knows that your documentation might help other people on the other side of the world. Nowadays the medium (no pun intended) of the documentation can vary as well. You can post it as a video tutorial on youtube or even just as simple as writing a blog.
Moreover, this documentation also can polish up your portfolio. It shows how much you know about your subject and your ability to communicate your ideas to others.
2. Involve More in Communities
Able to collaborate with others is the core foundation of any job, including developers or SAP ABAP consultants. Yes, many of us certainly enjoy working alone. We love to code quietly in the darkness, accompanied by our cup of coffee, silently cursing at the code while trying to find the bugs. But collaboration can achieve wonders. Many great open source projects are examples of this.
Talking about open source, yes this collaboration I mentioned here is beyond the coworkers. While team effort under one employment is essential, collaboration with other people outside our company can elevate our skill and experience even further. Simply put, the more people we meet and interact with, the more experience and knowledge we can gain. One of the ways we can do this is by contributing to any Open Source project via Github.
I too understand this a bit too late that not so long ago just discovered that SAP ABAP developers and consultants also have joined the party of Open Source. You can find the list of the projects here https://dotabap.org/
However, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and confused at first on what to contribute, especially for beginners. So apart from collaboration with open source, you can also try just being involved in the community such as https://community.sap.com/ or follow SAP People and SAP experts around the world via LinkedIn or even Twitter. Here are some Twitter accounts that I find inspiring. Surely these are just some of them. You will find the others as you follow them.
Andre Fischer || Lars Hvam Petersen || Thomas Fiedler || Michael Keller || Rich Heilman || Thomas Jung || DJ Adam || Gregor Wolf || Marc Bernard || Tobias Hofmann || Dominik Panzer || Karl Kessler || Jelena Perfiljeva || Paul Hardy || Matt Harding || Johann Fößleitner || Mamikee Kanneh
3. Engaged more at the Business End
Yes this is more in the SAP Functional consultant spectrum. However, in my experience it will be so much helpful to have insight over the business process of the client. That way, we can combine the technical perspective with the business to produce a better “product” for them. More often than not, since the client or the user usually communicates requirements through the Functional consultant before it’s received by “ABAPer”, many things get lost in translation. I’m not saying we as an ABAP should have both roles as SAP ABAP and Functional, but having the basic concept of business process for some SAP modules will definitely escalate a career of SAP ABAP consultant further. We produce our magic with ABAP for an ERP after all which is tightly coupled to the Enterprise business.
It is indeed hard, especially for the hardcore technical people. But in my opinion, if we have to start somewhere, start to simplify techy phrases to the basic language that other non-technical people understand. Maybe with that, at least we can weaken the barrier of communication if we were about to have more engagement in the business side.
Recently, I discovered this article that discusses about that very topic. You can read it here.
4. Catch Up with The Latest Technology
This is obvious isn’t it? As one of the “tech person” in the SAP world we should stay updated with the latest technology SAP has to offer if we want to jump higher in our career. Easier said than done because I also used to be so passive in this subject. Everyday I was just trying to do my best for the job and that’s it. Because in my experience, the opportunity to gain new knowledge can be rare if it’s only originated from the projects, for example when the market tends to stick to ECC rather than the S4/HANA .
In my opinion, other than having free time and relaxing during our spare time, we should also look for the source of information to catch up with the latest technology. The community page as I mentioned above can be one of the source information. The other source can be Twitter or Linkedin by following those people I mentioned before. Other than that, here are some other resources that you can follow to catch up with the latest technology.
5. Resign More
I am not saying you can’t just be loyal. Sure you can, but by jumping from one company to the other, logically you can meet more people and you can gain more knowledge from them together with more project types to experience with various tech-stacks and more challenges.
The rule of thumb for me is, if you can not gain any more experience or knowledge, it’s better to move on.
I am sure there are still many things to add here. So you are welcome to add things that I missed. Hopefully this article is helpful in any way, especially for those who are about to embark on a journey as an SAP ABAP consultant. Good Luck!