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SAP Developer roles of various types are available for those looking to leverage their IT skills for a great career. If you are interested in qualifying as an SAP developer, or augmenting your existing SAP skills to enable you to take on more technical roles in SAP services, you should become familiar and comfortable with a variety of programming languages used everyday in the process of implementing, extending and maintaining SAP systems.

Among the many coding languages used are ABAP, Java, and SQL, which are used to create and modify SAP code. According to their experience and qualifications, SAP developers can also work as functional and technical consultants alongside business analysts and customers to implement new solutions for business operations.

It is important to note that professional SAP developers need to understand and implement their ideas using these languages and systems in conjunction, so they will be required to be familiar in several, while perhaps specializing in one.

Because of the lack of qualified and experienced consultants in the SAP ecosystem, and also due to other reasons like the need for business to migrate their business operations to the cloud, the demand for SAP developers and technical consultants is extremely high and growing.

Disruptive global events like the pandemic and Ukraine war have caused many businesses to reassess their SAP services requirements and changing legislation like the need for carbon accounting have all added to the growing need for consultants who can facilitate changes to SAP systems.

This week IgniteSAP will introduce some of the coding languages and solutions that SAP developers need to become familiar with, and discuss how the landscape of SAP developer services is changing.


ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) is a high-level programming language created by SAP. ABAP and Java are required to use the SAP NetWeaver Application Server, as part of the SAP NetWeaver platform for building business applications.

ABAP is an object-oriented, and procedural structured programming language used for a wide variety of applications for SAP to calibrate business IT systems for reporting, interfaces (UIs), data conversion and aggregation, forms and other modules.

Though ABAP is specific to SAP systems it is a widely used as companies using SAP systems contribute to almost 77% of all global business transactions. Consequently there is a very high demand for ABAP programmers and others familiar with the programming language.

ABAP Cloud

As of November 2022 SAP has released ABAP Cloud, which is bundled with the cloud version of ABAP with S/4HANA Cloud. This means that ABAP is necessary for the creation of extensions to instances of S/4HANA Cloud so that these are consistent with a clean core.

This new chapter in the evolution of ABAP means that the language will remain relevant for years, if not decades to come so it is an ideal way to increase your employment prospects as an SAP developer.


Originally used in web pages and client to server applications, Java is an object-oriented and platform-independent programming language. SAP NetWeaver JAVA AS is used in the SAP NetWeaver platform to provide fundamental components of the runtime environment, system components, and in the applications layer.

SAP has also recently launched a new Cloud Application Programming (CAP) model for Java and JavaScript developers. It includes libraries and tools for building enterprise-grade services and applications. This means that JAVA developer skills will be required by the SAP services market for many years.


SQL (Structured Query Language) is used to retrieve, store and administer to information in an SAP relational database or network. It is used in conjunction with other programming languages so it should be considered part of an SAP developer’s toolkit rather than a stand-alone language.

SQL is used primarily within an SAP system as part of the database management system, defining the relationships within the client/server architecture.

Developers working with SAP HANA should be familiar with SQL and SQL script, and whenever someone uses SAP HANA Studio or the SAP HANA cockpit, their commands are converted into SQL statements.

As part of the backend of an SAP system, understanding of SQL is just as important as understanding the User Interface, because these are dependent on each other.

SAP functional consultants and analysts can use SQL for data verification and conversion for reporting and analytical purposes.

Technical Roles

SAP Functional Consultant

In many cases one of the key tasks of an SAP functional consultant is to act as a manager of SAP Developers: working with the client to understand their needs and managing a project team of developers to implement those goals.

Good functional understanding of all programming languages used in realizing SAP projects, as well as how the business operates, is essential in order to turn business requirements into reality in a system.

So you may have a customer-facing and project management role but your primary value to the project is as an intermediary between the business and IT workforce.

SAP Fiori Consultant

SAP Fiori is a platform for user interfaces (UI) that supports the business processes in SAP applications. Fiori applications can be customized for business operations, and devices and has been created primarily for simplifying customer interactions with an SAP system.

Fiori is role-based so the data which is necessary for the user is prioritized. Fiori can be customized to allow intuitive navigation of the system to carry out tasks quickly and efficiently.

SAP UI5 is the JavaScript UI library used for developing SAP Fiori solutions, so a Fiori consultant will have a basic understanding of JavaScript and particularly SAP’s UI5 library.

SAP Fiori consultancy supports and guides implementation and customization of SAP Fiori solutions, including planning, design, architecture, development, testing and deployment.

Fiori consultants also advise on optimization of SAP Fiori technology, as well as offer training and support to their clients. This can help organizations implement and utilize SAP Fiori solutions to meet their needs quickly and efficiently.

SAP Basis Consultant

An SAP Basis consultant is essentially a system administrator for an SAP environment, but this role requires a good understanding of SAP Basis, along with NetWeaver and possibly ABAP.

Their responsibilities usually involve configuring, monitoring, calibrating and problem-solving within the environment, as well as change management.

SAP Basis consultants often provide technical support and over-arching management of SAP systems, including establishing specifications and requirements, assessing and overseeing upgrades, implementing performance monitoring, configuration, design, and deployment.

SAP NetWeaver Consultant

SAP NetWeaver is a web-based, open integration, application platform that provides the foundation for Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture (Enterprise SOA). It facilitates the integration and alignment of the workforce, information, and business. Open standards are used to enable integration with databases and applications from SAP and non-SAP sources. Using NetWeaver Gateway, developers create applications to connect business users to SAP software from any environment using any device.

A NetWeaver consultant has analytical as well as developer skills, and can translate functional requirements into technical solutions. Their role involves development and maintenance of an SAP system, but also requires specific developer skills.

NetWeaver consultants should expect to work with ABAP, and Java to some extent and their role is primarily that of facilitating on-going integration of the business processes and databases, including knowledge of specific SAP modules, depending on the requirements of the employer.

Low-Code/No Code SAP

SAP Build is a new visual programming environment which utilizes pre-built templates and components to create SAP compliant and functional applications for businesses. It was introduced to provide a solution to the developer skills gap so that the workload SAP development can be reduced for businesses.

“Citizen Developers” is a concept which has been introduced by SAP to refer to those non-coders employed by a business who will be expected to use SAP Build’s visual environment to solve small automation or data processing tasks, without adding to the backlog of work facing in-house or outsourced SAP developer professionals.

This new platform is intended to supplement existing coders on the workforce rather than replace them, and should in no way be seen as making coding and software development skills unnecessary. The idea is to help those that know the business and its requirements to provide their own technical solutions to operational issues as they arise.

SAP developers should familiarize themselves with the platform so that they are able to work with citizen developers to create more advanced versions of SAP Build apps if required to do so.

Qualifying As An SAP Developer

If you are interested in a career as an SAP developer, or increasing your SAP skills to maximize your employability your first stop should be SAP’s free learning resource openSAP, which provides short courses and overviews of SAP solutions as a foundation to further study.

If you have a specific career goal in mind, like becoming an ABAP developer, then check SAP’s Learning Journeys for information about which SAP training courses to take (and in what order), and what exams you need to pass in order to get SAP global certification.

It is important to emphasize that SAP developers often have a set of coding skills such as ABAP and one or two other languages. If you are looking to work with databases then SQL is a good language to get under your belt, and if you are looking to work as a functional or technical consultant then management skills are essential, as well as a good grasp of the business side as well as the technical aspects.

Are you an SAP developer or functional SAP consultant? Would you like to explore your career options and find a new role in the SAP ecosystem? Our expert recruitment consultants can match you with your ideal employer and ensure you get the salary or contract you require, so join our exclusive community at IgniteSAP.