Hiring guide for ABAP Engineers

ABAP Developer Hiring Guide

ABAP, an acronym for Advanced Business Application Programming, is a high-level programming language developed by the German software company, SAP SE. First introduced in the 1980s, it was designed for the development of business applications within the SAP environment. It is widely used for creating reports, module pool programming, interfaces and forms in the SAP application server. ABAP has evolved over time to include object-oriented language extensions and is particularly adept at handling database operations. Today, it remains a key component of SAP's NetWeaver technology platform (source: SAP SE).

Ask the right questions secure the right ABAP talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General ABAP app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in ABAP application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you define Data Dictionary in ABAP?
Data Dictionary in ABAP is a central and structured source of data for the development of objects. It is used to create and manage data definitions (metadata).
What are the types of data classes in ABAP?
The types of data classes in ABAP are System Data, User Data, and Master Data.
Describe the difference between a transparent table and a pooled table in ABAP.
A transparent table has a one-to-one relation with the table in the database. It stores data directly. A pooled table, on the other hand, has many-to-one relation with the table in the database. It stores data in a pool (or table pool) in the database.
How would you create a secondary index in ABAP?
A secondary index in ABAP can be created by going to SE11, providing the table name, and then going to Indexes. From there, you can create a new index.
What are the types of windows in Smart Forms in ABAP?
The types of windows in Smart Forms in ABAP are Main Window, Secondary Window, Final Window, and Copy Window.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of ABAP development?
Is the candidate able to effectively communicate their thought process and problem-solving strategies?
Has the candidate demonstrated an ability to learn and adapt to new technologies?
Did the candidate show a good understanding of database concepts and SQL?

Next 20 minutes

Specific ABAP development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

Describe the difference between BAPI and RFC in ABAP.
BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface) is a standard SAP application interface that allows the integration of third-party applications. RFC (Remote Function Call) is a protocol to execute a program in a remote system. BAPI uses RFC under the hood.
How would you handle errors in ABAP?
Errors in ABAP can be handled using exception handling techniques. This includes TRY-CATCH blocks, RAISE EXCEPTION statement, and system class based exceptions.
What are the types of selection screens in ABAP?
The types of selection screens in ABAP are Standard Selection Screen, Selection Screen as Subscreen, and Selection Screen as Block.
Describe the difference between a value table and a check table in ABAP.
A value table is proposed by the system where check is to be made. A check table is the actual table used for check against the foreign key.
How would you improve the performance of an ABAP program?
Performance of an ABAP program can be improved by minimizing the amount of data transferred, minimizing the number of database accesses, and using internal tables. Other techniques include using indexes effectively and optimizing the nested selects.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the ABAP engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled ABAP engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in ABAP programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with ABAP.

What does the following ABAP code do?
DATA: lv_text TYPE string.
 lv_text = 'Hello, World!'.
 WRITE: / lv_text.
This code declares a string variable, assigns the string 'Hello, World!' to it, and then prints the string to the console.
What will be the output of the following ABAP code?
DATA: lv_num1 TYPE i VALUE 10,
 lv_num2 TYPE i VALUE 20,
 lv_sum TYPE i.
 lv_sum = lv_num1 + lv_num2.
 WRITE: / lv_sum.
The output of this code will be 30. It declares two integer variables with values 10 and 20, respectively, and a third variable to hold their sum. It then adds the two numbers and assigns the result to the third variable, which is then printed to the console.
What does the following ABAP code do?
DATA: lt_numbers TYPE TABLE OF i,
 lv_number TYPE i.
 lv_number = sy-index.
 APPEND lv_number TO lt_numbers.
 LOOP AT lt_numbers INTO lv_number.
 WRITE: / lv_number.
This code creates an integer array and populates it with the numbers 1 through 5 using a loop. It then iterates over the array and prints each number to the console.
What does the following ABAP code do?
 METHODS: do_work.
 METHOD do_work.
 WRITE: / 'Work done'.
 DATA: lo_worker TYPE REF TO lcl_worker.
 CREATE OBJECT lo_worker.
 CALL METHOD lo_worker->do_work.
This code defines a class with a single method that prints 'Work done' to the console. It then creates an instance of the class and calls the method.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for ABAP Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle ABAP application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are the types of data types in ABAP?
The types of data types in ABAP are Elementary Data Types, Complex Data Types, and Reference Data Types.
Describe the difference between a structure and a table in ABAP.
A structure in ABAP is a data object that consists of a number of components, each of which has a name and a type. A table, on the other hand, is a collection of records of a particular structure.
How would you debug an ABAP program?
An ABAP program can be debugged by setting breakpoints in the program, then running the program in debug mode. The debugger allows you to step through the program, inspect variables, and evaluate expressions.

ABAP application related

Product Perfect's ABAP development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your ABAP engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in ABAP projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.