This is a guest article is by Plamen Velkov, a Linux Server Administrator from Bulgaria. Plamen connected with me through this website and told me how much he wants to move into the SAP arena specifically the ABAP programming side. Because of this he has recently signed up to my Beginners Guide To SAP ABAP programming course.
It was great to listen to his enthusiasm to get started and he went on to tell me how he plans on using the training course as a stepping stone to landing a new job as a junior ABAP programming.
To help keep Plamen on track to meet his goal we agreed that it would be a great idea for him to write about his journey and learning experiences here at saptraininghq.com and give his own views on the different modules of the ABAP Course.
I am sure many others are in a similar situation to Plamen and I urge you to leave your own comments at the end of his first article and follow along with him on this journey.
Take it away Plamen…
SAP System Overview – First look at the SAP System
Many people who hear about SAP Systems think of something very complex, expensive and difficult to work with. I also did in the beginning but later I realized that when you get used to the system and its features it isn’t as hard as I first thought.
For the average user, SAP could seem a bit strange at first. It’s not like an ordinary application – the interface, the work logic – if you have no experience of using the system, you would definitely be puzzled in the beginning.
Personally, it was very strange for me at first to understand and talk about transactions. I’ve always conceived transactions to be some kind of financial movement, movements between bank accounts and etc. Then suddenly I was hit with a new dictionary of SAP terms and acronyms like the ABAP Workbench, Object Navigator, transaction for this, transactions for that and so on.. Since I’ve never asked myself or somebody else why they are called transactions, I just started to interpret them as tools of the SAP System, and I think that is what they actually are – different tools and programs of the system to carry out specific tasks.
Secondly, the “Forward Navigation” functionality seems a little weird. You can get into some kind of setting screen, then into another, then in another, then save them all and go back from where you started. It all seemed odd at first, however after a little experience I can now see how handy, convenient and, of course, time-saving it is.
Finally, the interface seemed to be very old-fashioned. The buttons, the menus, the toolbars – in comparison to modern software and new operating systems like Windows 8, I felt like I was using an old Windows 98 (not that it was a bad OS) application. Then I realized and it appeared to be reasonable that SAP doesn’t rely on cool and modern GUI because what matters here is performance and work speed. Moreover, if you spend some weeks working with SAP, you will love the GUI.
ABAP is the main language for programming the SAP Application Server. Its syntax is very similar to COBOL’s and its normal – COBOL’s primary domain is in business and finance. Because of this, you may feel ABAP a little old-fashioned and like some people say – lame. I totally disagree with that – according to my minor experience with ABAP and comparing it with my other favorite programming language – Java, I can say that ABAP has everything you need to do your job without а hitch. Of course I have a lot more to learn and because of that I’ll stop talking about something I have no proficiency in.
One of the main development tools in SAP is the so-called ABAP Workbench. I was very surprised to see that it has some kind of auto-completion yet not as good as the one in Eclipse or Visual Studio but it’s still there to help you. In a few words – the Workbench has all the tools you need to build your programs and debug them.
The ABAP Course
Getting to learn ABAP is not as easy as you may think. Courses on the net are few and far between. SAP’s own courses are very time-consuming and expensive. There aren’t many books either. Here comes the SAP ABAP Programming For Beginners course – 130 video-lectures which you will have absolutely no problem to understand (even if you’re a complete beginner in ABAP like me). For reference – an official SAP handbook has around 1400-1500 pages that will take you much more time to read and can be difficult to understand.
As I finished the first module – SAP SYSTEM OVERVIEW, I can say that the content is absolutely optimized to give you the exact amount of knowledge you need to get started. It explains the system architecture, the environment and the workbench perfectly, but without troubling you with unnecessary information which you can obtain later, when you are specialized enough.
ERP systems are a major part of every medium and large company worldwide. They are being implemented in companies of every branch – financial institutions, distributors re-sellers manufacturers and lately even becoming popular in sports. In my eyes, working as an ERP specialist/developer gives you the opportunity to specialize not only in programming itself, but also leads on to skills in many other fields apart from software development, such as finance, management, administration and etc. You won’t be the IT guru who is sitting silently in the dark corner working out the techie stuff.
I actually started learning ABAP because I started a new job. I am currently Linux server administrator, but my passion is programming. I have the chance to apply for the position of Junior ABAP Developer which is the actual reason why I’m into ABAP now. I actually started learning Java a couple of years ago in order to get my first job as a developer in the field of ERP systems. Then I run across ABAP and realized that in combination with Java it will greatly increase my chances in the domain of ERP development.
However, I’m still at the beginning and I have so many things to learn and so much experience to gain. But I look forward to completing SAP ABAP Programming For Beginners and hopefully getting the Junior ABAP Developer position.