Adoption rates for SAP’s HANA in-memory data platform have grown over the past two years, with more projects in the pipeline, which means that companies are building out their in-house support for this platform.
If you’re interested in adding HANA to your skillset, SAP offers a plethora of learning options and tools to help professionals acquire knowledge and hands-on experience.
Marc Bernard, senior chief architect for SAP, provided some shortcuts and tips for busy professionals who’d like to boost their careers and paychecks by mastering HANA:
DBAs who have worked with Oracle or IBM database platforms can probably master HANA relatively quickly, Bernard said. In fact, a fast learner with just one or two years of DBA experience can gain a technical perspective of the HANA platform by tapping the resources in the Developer Center to test drive the cockpit, write sample queries and so forth.
“Jumping in works for a lot of people,” Bernard said. “But if you aren’t familiar with in-memory databases, taking an overview course can help you understand the basic characteristics and differences compared to traditional databases.”
Professionals who prefer structured learning should consider taking a certification course. Alternately, you can augment your self-directed, hands-on training by enrolling in online courses tailored toward your current job duties or the DBA role you’re targeting.
Beginning modelers should consider taking an intro course or study the Introduction to Modeling guides on the SAP website. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, acquire hands-on experience by downloading a free version of HANA Studio from the cloud and using the tools to build various types of models and data structures.
“Since modelers usually need industry experience, building sample models that match the typical business needs and requirements in your current or desired industry, is a great way to enhance your resume,” Bernard said. “You can always get a certification if you want to pursue a senior role or consulting position down the road.”
There’s a growing demand for developers who can build or extend business applications to run on top of the HANA cloud platform.
There’s a description of the programming environment on the Developer Center, so you can see whether your skills and experience align. The developer portal also provides free access to the SAP HANA developer edition (including license and software) so you can build, test and demo your own applications. Bernard suggests starting with the Hello World! tutorial and progressing from there.
“Within a few months, an experienced coder can probably acquire enough skills and experience to qualify for a new position as long as they aren’t under too much pressure to deliver quickly,” he added.
Architects usually need extensive experience with SAP products and exposure to different HANA systems, as well as an understanding of how they relate to each other, Bernard noted.
To acquire a strategic overview, aspiring architects should become familiar with the tasks performed by DBAs and data modelers. Next, leverage SAP’s webinars and online courses to gain an in-depth understanding of the HANA platform and the various ways it’s being used. Working as a consultant or contractor is a great way to experience diverse architectural designs, solutions and environments, and accelerate your learning curve.
“I know several architects who amassed the knowledge over time,” Bernard continued. “They were able to become general experts through education and on-the-job experience in SAP environments utilizing HANA.”