What Is an SAP Developer? (And How To Become One)
Updated January 26, 2023
SAP developers contribute to the optimization of many businesses and their development. They can tailor SAP software to fit the specific needs of their company. Understanding the role of an SAP developer and how to become one can help you decide if becoming an SAP developer is right for you. In this article, we discuss what an SAP developer is, what they do, how to become one, their skills, salary and job outlook.
What is an SAP developer?
An SAP developer designs solutions to ensure the optimization of a company's servers and systems. They help optimize work processes by providing applications that can automate billing, data entry, invoicing and other data processing functions within a business. Many big companies use SAP software to record and manage finance, sales, purchasing and production data. SAP developers ensure that company programs operate smoothly and troubleshoot any errors.
What does an SAP developer do?
SAP developers typically use the Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) programming language created by SAP to create applications that optimize business processes. Companies that use SAP and ABAP code hire SAP developers to ensure that the back-end processes of a website or program are fully functioning. SAP developers develop code based on their clients' or employers' specifications on what functions they need their SAP system to accomplish. These developers typically have a good understanding of business processes so that they know how to develop the necessary codes to execute those functions.
Here are some of the common responsibilities of an SAP developer:
Create guidelines based on client function specifications
Meet with clients to discuss SAP system functions
Test and verify code results through test cases
Write functionality reports for their clients
Write test case scenarios to check code functionality
How to become an SAP developer
Consider these steps in becoming an SAP developer:
1. Get a bachelor's degree
Most SAP developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science and other related fields, such as data analytics, information security, game programming or software engineering. Some schools might offer specific SAP courses or workshops that you can attend. Because many SAP developers work in businesses that provide services to customers, taking courses in business or finance can also be beneficial. While you're getting your bachelor's degree, you may take part in internship programs provided by the school that can help you gain more experience in office environments.
2. Gain experience
You can apply for internship programs after getting your bachelor's degree. Some internships may provide additional training in developing or programming languages used with SAP systems. Many SAP developers also have background experience in finance and business administration, so interning can help you gain that practical experience and business skill. At the end of your internship, some companies might also extend full-time employment offers.
3. Obtain an SAP ABAP certification
SAP offers a variety of certifications in application, development and technology within their SAP software system. To specialize in developing and programming, consider obtaining your certification in Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP). To receive an SAP ABAP certification, you can take courses from SAP-certified institutes.
4. Apply for jobs
After getting your bachelor's degree and SAP ABAP certifications, you can look for SAP developer positions on the internet. Some software and programming journals and publications feature positions you can consider applying for. Or you can contact previous professors for referrals or resources that might help you find a job.
5. Get a master's degree
To advance in your career as an SAP developer, many employers prefer those with master's degrees in computer science or business administration. Having a master's degree can allow you to get senior or leadership positions, such as an IT director or software architect. Even for those not looking to have a leadership role, continuing your education can help you remain up to date on recent software developments and business solutions that can help you succeed in your career.
SAP developer skills
Here are some skills that SAP developers use:
Because SAP developers often work in team settings along with other developers, communication is necessary for being able to keep all team members up to date with the progress of a project. SAP developers also meet with clients or supervisors to communicate the needs and direction of a project in a way that is easy to understand. Some SAP developers may also present the results of their project or conduct training on the operation of their systems, so being able to communicate clearly and concisely is important.
The role of an SAP developer is to create solutions and improvements for company systems. SAP developers work extensively with code and can analyze and identify coding errors or discrepancies. Having problem-solving skills also allows you to find areas in code that may need improvement. This can help you in developing solutions and design methods to prevent system errors or reduce the risk of error.
There are a lot of aspects in developing code from the front end, back end and the coding languages that link everything together, so there are various positions involved in a project. Having project management skills allows you to oversee the entire process and ensure that the coding and work done are consistent. Project managing also involves making sure that all team members are up to date with the status of a project to maintain a steady and cohesive workflow.
When working in team environments, being able to collaborate and cooperate with team members allows for a more optimized workflow. Having more people to handle different aspects of a project can lessen the time needed to complete a project and increase productivity. Teamwork with groups of people of diverse backgrounds and education can also produce more innovative ideas and solutions.
Salary and job outlook
The average salary for an SAP ABAP developer is $123,252 per year. This salary can vary depending on experience, education, and company. Those with higher levels of experience and education can receive higher salaries. Companies involved in defense, finance and healthcare may also offer higher salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job outlook for all software developers to increase faster than average at 21% between 2018 to 2028, with the rise of company software reliance.
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