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Note: for general thoughts on how to start a career in the world of SAP, read the ""Want to switch to SAP consultancy"" blog. A part of the "from X to Y" series started here: XY: From MM/SD functional to BPXerPlease remember I would like to hear your feedback.

I have noticed that the Java developer background is very often seen in the Career center forum. I also have some friends who were working as Java developers before starting with SAP, I have the same background myself (school Java courses and some amateur Java stuff at home or for friends) and that is the main reason to write the blog. I hope I will find some readers which will hopefully find the blog post useful for their SAP beginning days.

First of all, dear Java friends, you need to understand that some of the SAP landscape components run on a Java stack (not the ABAP system, a Java one, an example could be the XI/ PI system, or, if you want a component, not the whole application system, you can think about the ADS web service, the Adobe service which generates/renders the PDF files based on the SAP data and template).

Why do I start with something that difficult to understand? You need to understand that Java has a strong position in SAP world, that there are Java systems in use and that there are "plenty" of positions for you to apply for.

Now, when you understand that we have the ABAP based and the Java based systems, you could probably try them. Note there are trial versions available both for the ABAP and Java stack system. Follow the link to get the trials. Unfortunately, you cannot download the mentioned PI/XI (process integration/ exchange infrastructure) system yet, but hopefully you will be able to do that soon (Re: Voting Thread for the SAP NW PI 7.11 Developer Edition). But, fortunately, you can download a trial version of the NetWeaver system to run the SAP NW/ EP Portal (SAP EP Trail Version for download). Portals ale closely connected with Java development for SAP and understanding the portals and the development for portals is a fundamental need.

Of course, your Java experience is valuable and so will be any experience with Java development for SAP, but understand, you must learn some SAP basics, before you can understand what to do and how to achieve the goal. You should understand how to navigate through the SAP system (for what any SAP trial system is a great tool) and you´d better learn some ABAP basics (what will give you a basic overview of the SAP Data Dictionary - the dictionary of the available data types, understanding of the way how function modules -functions in Java - work, what are BAPIs etc.). For all this purposes you should definitely start with a SAP trial. Note that there is a SAP Community Developer License available, and you can apply for one - to get the details, New Community Developer License is available. You can apply for a license key here: in License key request.

As I have mentioned above, understanding of the NetWeaver Portal (formerly Enterprise Portal) is essential. That means you should understand what is that: from Wikipedia, or from the Portal and Collaboration landing page or you can find the information source yourself.

Another important thing, especially if you intend not to become a SAP developer and would only exchange data with SAP (I believe there are reasons to exchange data between pure Java system and SAP system, probably something like eShop integration, customer developed intranet/ portal etc.), is to understand: how it works (what do you need to do to exchange the data) and what data you can exchange. To learn about the first one, my advice is to learn about the Jco - the SAP Java Connector.

First read about Jco in SAP Help, next download and install (or use the installation instructions attached to the core files in the download package, that will probably will be much more up to date, than the mentioned version) the Jco and then you can start the development using some of the tutorials, for example this one. To understand what data you can exchange, you should definitely get the SAP system access (at least the above mentioned trial) and learn about the Data Dictionary and BAPI function.

If you get that far, you probably understand some SAP fundamentals, congratulations. There are only two important things left:

Dear reader, if you have read this far and have read through the mentioned links in a meanwhile, you should now be able to start a job as a SAP Java junior developer, able to provide some information about how is your previous Java experience relevant to your potential SAP Java career (when applying for a job) and especially have some personal confidence that you are not an outsider any more. If the blog will help a single living soul, would be cool to receive some feedback here, please leave a comment, if you have learnt something useful through this blog.

Happy SAP Java development, regards Otto