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I want to share some thoughts I have on the current situation in the IT world. As I’m based in Germany, these thoughts are somehow limited to my German SAP ecosystem bubble. I’m looking forward to any comment, also from other parts of the world.

Actually as developers we live in paradise at the moment. There is a high demand in the skills we have and an even higher demand is predicted because of the digitalization. But every once in while I have the feeling that the whole digitalization could fail because of a lack of developers with the right skills and attitude.

The digitalization also brings a lot of new technologies with it which the developers have to learn. Just have a look at the SAP portfolio, a lot of new technologies, products and platforms got introduced within the last years. Even the ABAP stack saw many innovations. So for developers it’s for sure not enough to know one programming language and stay with it for the entire career. It’s essential that you know the right programming language for the task you have to solve. I’m also one of the guys who own an “ABAP is not dead” t-shirt. That is because I regard ABAP as a special purpose programming language for developing scalable and stable business applications. For this, I think ABAP suits very good. I don’t think ABAP is the right language for UIs. So I’m still working on my JavaScript skills.

So in my opinion besides a good education in computer science as a foundation, a good developer needs passion and the willing for learning new stuff. I’m sure attending classroom trainings will not solve this problem. You can learn programming only by programming and solving your own programming challenges, not by repeating prepared exercises or copying code.

After decades of just offering very expansive classroom trainings even SAP started to offer free and on demand education: courses, tutorials on and SAP CodeJams are just examples for this.

But what about the developers out there? I still have the feeling, most of them are not interested. It seems that they are not interested in the new stuff. They not even read blog posts or announcements of new products and technologies. Because of the lack of qualified candidates, they do not need to be afraid of losing their jobs (yet). But this might be a risky game, just take SAP HCM ABAPers as an example. With the SuccessFactors acquisition the classical SAP HCM will disappear, one day.

I think it’s very dangerous to only relay on the training planning of your employer. Speed is somehow essential and a developer knows best which technology might be worth to look at. Unfortunately, this also means developers should invest some of their free time into their education. But hey, it’s an investment into your personal future! And it helps to make your job easier! I spend a lot of time of my life working. How can I not care about what I’m doing? Or am I just a guy who is too passionate about programming and nerdy tech stuff? Do most of the developers choose this as a profession because you can make good money out of it, not because they are interested in building cool software? Should the employers care more about trainings and education?

In my opinion this is a real threat for the whole digitalization. The industry needs good developers to be able to transform their business. Global sourcing will also not completely solve this issue: co-location and a good team work between business experts and developers is essential for fast and successful projects. This is still difficult to achieve with offshore teams. Even in times of video conferencing and other technical tools: language-, time- and cultural differences are threating successful projects. Will the digitalization in Germany fail because of the lack of qualified people having the skills needed?


Do you agree with me? Did you experience the same? What can be done to overcome this? I’m really interested in your thoughts and ideas!