Back in 2008, during my studies in Applied Informatics at Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel (Belgium), I got my first introduction to SAP Business Suite. While I knew I wanted to become a software developer, this introduction made it clear I wanted to focus on creating software that would impact businesses.
And so, my journey began. I chose to specialize in IT Business Management Solutions and got deep-dives in ABAP, ABAP Web Dynpro & Java Web Dynpro before I started my professional career.
Surround yourself with the right people
When I started my professional career in 2011, I did so at the company where I did my internship. During my internship, I met a lot of great people who really supported and believed in me. So, when they offered me a job, I didn't have to think twice!
During the first two years of my career, I was able to do some small projects and combine that with customer support. Especially the customer support part of my job made me gain so much knowledge in such a short timeframe. Not really a surprise, because we all know that learning new things goes fast when you have to dive into a lot of different issues in different environments.
Two years later, when the same people founded TheValueChain NV, I didn't hesitate to join their new company. Working with people who support and believe in you is one of the best ways to enjoy what you do on a daily basis. Today, about 10 years later, I still work with the same people! (Even though the company grew from about 20 people in 2013 to about 380 people today!)
Always keep on learning
When working with technology, things tend to evolve and change fast. For me personally the first big change was SAP Fiori. Luckly at that time I was still into web development, so I at least had the basic knowledge to get started.
At TheValueChain NV, this was one of the first topics for which we started internal workgroups in which we'd go through documentation, blogs, tutorials and just play around with the technology. Sharing knowledge between colleagues really improved our individual skills and not much later we were able to pull off our first big SAP Fiori project.
Not much later SAP Business Technology Platform (called SAP HANA Cloud Platform at that time), came into play. Because of my technical skillset and knowledge in web technologies, I was offered the position as domain lead for SAP Business Technology Platform. From that point on, I made it my task to keep up with the latest innovations and technologies on SAP Business Technology Platform. That opened up a lot of opportunities like leading my own internal workgroup, setting up proof-of-concepts, demo's and being involved in pre-sales tracks.
So how do I keep track of what's happening within the SAP Ecosystem?
Personally, I try to get certified in all technologies I'm using. While certification doesn't proof everything, it does proof that you at least know and understand the fundamentals of the technologies you are using.
A solution mindset
Over the course of the years, I've been part of numerous projects. I've seen the same type of developments at different customers, so at one point I started identifying those cross-customer developments and started thinking in terms of solutions for each development I did. Some of those developments ended up as actual accelerators or solutions we can easily rollout at our customers.
My solution mindset combined with my technical expertise is what led me to my current position as SAP Innovation Architect, in which I'm responsible for the technical architecture of our accelerators and solutions. Next to that I'm ensuring we're using the latest innovations and technologies both for our own solutions and at our customers. Apart from my job I'm very lucky to be part of the SAP Mentors group as of this year.
I hope my personal career path gives you an idea on what a career in SAP can look like. For me the key takeaways are:
Surround yourself with the right people
Know that a career in technology (whether it be in SAP or non-SAP) will be a continuous learning journey