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author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva

[SCN] kids these days...

People keep making fun of ABAP "dinosaurs" who don't use OOP but there are so many SCN questions showing complete lack of understanding of even basic concepts of Computer Science. For example:

- confusing FTP, HTTP, and URL;

- no clue about a JOIN and UNION difference;

- no idea how printing happens;

- "how to move file from AL11 to share-point" (moderator alerted), can't even express the task using the correct terminology.

These are all from ABAP tag. Do these folks not have a degree in computer science? Are these things not taught in schools these days? I got my degree long time ago but we had classes on the OS, Electronics, DB management, etc. There is Wikipedia these days to fill up any gaps and Khan Academy has some very good (and short!) clips like 'How does Internet work".

Is this some education system failure? Or did our generation just had to learn more about the basics because we had to type in OS commands manually? :)

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  • Mar 06, 2018 at 07:04 PM

    Its not just ABAP.
    If my understanding is correct, you ABAP'ers rarely actually install something or configure network.
    In BI/Analytics admins are tasked with installations, network config and interfacing with other third party products and technologies - yet we still get questions on basic stuff.

    I blame the instant glorification culture :)
    All those online campaigns "code in a week", "certification boot camps" etc...

    I see it even with recent comp science students - they learn coding and high end languages, before they learn how computers or networks work.

    are we in the "get off my lawn" category now ?

    • Mar 06, 2018 at 09:50 PM

      "Learn SAP in 24 hours" :) Yeah, that could be.

      It's true, ABAPers are usually not involved in the infrastructure work. But I'm starting to worry about the future of my lawn in the hands of this generation. :)

    • Mar 14, 2018 at 09:44 AM


      i got my linkedin stream full of people saying "Screw resumees! Attend Code<something> and you'll be able to improve your skills and find new jobs!".

      Yes, the Code<something> events are a good way to have a different point of view on a topic and to challenge yourself as well as for networking, but they cannot give you a deep knowledge nor a minimal one (speaking of professional levels!)

      • Mar 14, 2018 at 02:52 PM

        Don't even get me started on the radio ads: "Joe Schmo was flipping burgers but now, only after a 1-month training at our Technical Institute he has a job earning 70,000 USD annually as a network security expert". Give me a break.

  • Mar 07, 2018 at 01:59 PM

    My main problem with this is, that most of these people seem to absolutly lack the desire to solve their issues themselves. The only use they have for google is to find this site and ask their question. And some fail even at that.

    IMO if you don't like solving issues, you're not suited for IT work in any way. Being able to troubleshoot is one of the main characteristics every IT person should have.

    You don't need to know everything, but I expect that you want to learn more day by day. But not even trying to find your own answers... I get really, really annoyed by stuff like that.

    Have alerted some lazy (and basic) questions by a user in the last hours, where the main body of the question was a "hi" or "please". I mean really?! GRRRRR!

    Saying "I'm new to this" means absoluly nothing. I wasn't born with my current knowledge either, I had to gain it.

    • Mar 07, 2018 at 03:06 PM

      So true! Sometimes I feel SCN (and IT field in general) is full of "The Reluctant Programmer" types from here:

      Rather than urge their kids to be doctors or lawyers, some parents push 
      their progeny to go into software development. Sometimes it works out. 
      And sometimes the poor, benighted offspring gaze out of the office 
      window yearning for hard labor in the 95-degree heat -- anything except 
      spending their lives doing something they don't want to do, whether or 
      not they have the aptitude for it. Usually their work is mediocre, and 
      they're out the door every day at 4:55 p.m. sharp.
  • Mar 08, 2018 at 04:04 PM

    I find these questions frightening.

    We’ve all been new, and we don’t know what background these people come from (might be a functional going techie?).


    What is the setup/culture/competency level that they can’t find this out from colleagues?

    I assume someone asking a simple question and working at a real company either

    A) should be able to run this past their immediate team, or

    B) is bulls***ing their way through pretending to know more than they do

    In case of option a, this represents how smart a team is, and in case of b, ... well, either way these are people building major ERP Systems.

    But it s the end customer’s responsibility to ensure that competent people are building their systems.

    But ultimately the beancounters call the shots.

    And this is how large companies are run these days.

    • Mar 09, 2018 at 06:06 PM

      On (A) I actually asked a question back in 2016: Why do people not ask their teams for help?

      Sadly, you're right about the "bean counters". And it's not just in IT/SAP, we can see all over the place where the thinking does not go farther than "how do we prop up the stock price before the 3rd quarter shareholder meeting". Saving today on cheap outsourcing even though unqualified resources will screw up your business for years to come.

      • Mar 09, 2018 at 06:17 PM

        For some reason like is not working for me, but I can't agree more....
        Its like ability to plan for more than 2 weeks is no longer a skill that is required in senior management.

    • Mar 15, 2018 at 08:22 AM

      What scares me it's always the "No, the requirements is to use this exactly worthless and wrong technology" attitude of many developers.

      People always seems to be afraid by saying "no, it's the wrong approach" to a customer or an user as well as admitting they do not know something.

      For my very personal experience i always found more rewarding on the long run to say "Sorry, i never did this before and i have no idea on how to start. If you want and trust me, i'll investigate and ask and give a try".
      At the end, customers always accepted errors (they happen) without a blink and they begun to trust me more than "big names in consultancy".
      And the same it's happening with my boss here: he wanted to fire me after 2 weeks, but now he's happy to not having done it, appreciating the fact i can say no and offering a different point of view.

      • Mar 15, 2018 at 01:42 PM

        Sounds like a great blog post topic that would generate some deep conversations!

      • Mar 15, 2018 at 02:44 PM

        I saw that question yesterday and had to bite my tongue. Thanks for chiming in with an answer. It's really ridiculous. Not only it's an old (ancient, actually) technology but you don't even know how to achieve a goal with it, so wouldn't this be a perfect case to get rid of the old stuff?

        "I don't know but I'll find out" is a great answer for a consultant. Much more preferred to just "I don't know but I'll pretend I do and just feed you misinformation or provide you with a bad solution".

  • Mar 09, 2018 at 10:26 PM

    Another gem: Excel can't open XLSX file. Well, that's because you're sending plain text with XLSX extension...

    SAP came through on this one though.

  • Mar 14, 2018 at 08:36 AM

    i got a slow week (finally and strangely) and you are killing my will to come back and look at questions, Jelena :(

  • Mar 16, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    Gotta love this even more - our teachers are asking why they teach math with calculators / watches / phones / computers available. Yes, they hand out the laptops at an earlier and earlier age. Yes, if they even teach basic math it stops at first grade. Complex problems just put them into the computer.

    Oh boy! And a dinosaur expects them to know the basics. I'm guessing they are never taught the basics.



    • Mar 16, 2018 at 04:12 PM

      That's why I'm rather curious what does a CS program look like these days. Are students simply not taught basics anymore?

      My kid is in 3rd grade and they don't use calculators yet. More over, their tasks demand not just a solution but also an explanation how did they arrive at their answer. Sometimes it makes no sense to me but at least I hope when these students grow up they'll be able to do some basic analysis.

      • Mar 16, 2018 at 05:06 PM

        Woohoo! Glad to hear there are some schools out there that make sense. I may have exaggerated a little here but not by much.

        If you think about it when there weren't cash registers... People really had to do things. Now if I go to McDonalds and the total is 15.55 I give them 21 - and I get a blank look as they punch it into the machine. Or if they have made change ahead of the time this really confuses them.

        I'm just saying the further we get along the less basics we need to know. I couldn't create a computer from scratch. 010101010 - yup can't do the whole binary coding either. I don't remember much about DOS either.

        If SAP really moves more and more to a place where they don't want you to change the code underneath the covers -- then that piece will be lost. And we all will be experts on the front end, but not know what is underneath. I don't think this will happen. 1. ABAP is still alive. 2. it's just too expensive to have SAP itself code all the changes needed under the covers.

        I digress - yes it would be interesting to see the CS degree. I learned COBOL, RPG, BASIC, and C. I don't use any of them. But the logic helps me even now. (BTW - I probably couldn't code in any of them now, not unless they had the 30 days to be an expert in ... :) )

        • Mar 16, 2018 at 07:45 PM

          Cash registers - LOL. Once a cashier accidentally punched in a wrong number and was at complete loss what to do now. They didn't know how to calculate the change. I told them an answer from the top of my head. They did not believe me. :) Went to get a calculator.

          When I tried to explain (there was no one behind me) that this can be easily calculated by separating tens and ones they looked at me as if I was talking quantum physics. To be fair, the cashiers are probably not the brightest candles but still, it's 1st grade stuff.

          Well, this is another reason why I always pay with a card these days. So I suspect the change calculation skills will also be completely lost at some point in future. :)

          • Mar 19, 2018 at 04:32 PM

            Yup... I got my first job running a cash register at a pharmacy when I was 14 because I was the only person they'd ever seen who got all of the questions right on the "making change" test....

  • Apr 04, 2018 at 07:17 AM
    • Apr 04, 2018 at 07:48 AM

      That actually made me giggle! Thanks!

    • Apr 04, 2018 at 08:56 AM

      page not found :(

      please screenshot next time, for posterity's sake

      • Apr 04, 2018 at 09:02 AM

        Oh, just a wall of text without formatting, unable to read.
        i asked to the OP to fix it and format it, he replied with another wall of text, part code, part comments, part text and a second comment all in uppercase "put in excel and you'll understand"

        • Apr 04, 2018 at 09:55 AM

          One of those.

          Sometimes I "answer" those "questions" with : yes.

          • Apr 04, 2018 at 09:59 AM

            i've been really good and, after saying that putting in excel to format isn't a good thing to ask, i did as he suggested...showing how the result was the same bunch of text only on a single line....

  • Dec 17, 2018 at 10:52 AM


    And I was just getting fired up to rant about the new generation of programmers not knowing the difference between their **** and their elbow when it comes to the fact that 'I can't read an XLSX file' then to find it's been taken away from me.

    Oh well.

    Hey - They also don't seem to know about ASCII and EBCDIC (how Dinosaur is that ???)


    • Dec 17, 2018 at 07:12 PM

      I mentioned JCL in a conversation with staff recently and one of the 30-something programmers corrected me: "It is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Jay Pee Ell".

      I didn't bother to correct him and just said thanks, shook my head and walked away.

      • Dec 18, 2018 at 08:24 AM

        Recognise the colours ????

        3270.png (10.6 kB)
      • Dec 19, 2018 at 03:40 PM

        Systems programmers do it for CICS.

        Ah... the heady days of MVS, MVS2. I really enjoyed working with VM. It was a sad day when we ended up having to herd VAXen instead.

      • Dec 19, 2018 at 03:52 PM

        No, no, no, it's JBL - company that makes nice speakers. :)

      • Dec 20, 2018 at 01:38 PM

        Oh, JCL! I vividly (not really!) remember having to deal with that when I was programming with PL/1 on IBM mainframes and we had to use JCL to create our own test jobs for our programs. That was in the days of VSAM and (IIRC) ISAM datasets ..... (talk about dinosaurs).

    • Dec 18, 2018 at 08:25 AM

      Oops, making fun of "newbies" unaware of EBCDIC is quite dangerous in a thread started by Jelena, IIRC :)

      • Dec 18, 2018 at 08:38 AM

        Is that because she knows about EBCDIC and one must NEVER guess a ladies age ???

        • Dec 18, 2018 at 10:32 AM

          I may be completely wrong (and I do not find that contribution here) but I think she told a while ago that she was surprised to learn that this particular code she had not been familiar with was invented by her current company (decades before her birth, I frankly assume:)).

          (And now I'm open to be blamed for any personal memory errors...)

          • Dec 19, 2018 at 03:41 PM

            Your memory is fine. I had no idea about EBCDIC before joining IBM just over a year ago. When my teammate here started talking about it I thought what the heck "acidic encoding"? :) But I know how to use Wikipedia and even donate to it.

  • Dec 19, 2018 at 03:38 PM


    Not knowing that relational databases have no default ordering sequence -> you must use ORDER BY.


    "I am using a TMG".

    Makes me laugh.

    "I have an AMDP procedure".

    • Dec 19, 2018 at 05:26 PM

      TIL something called AMDP exists. :)

      What is TMG? (Hopefully not Trimethylglycine?)

      • Dec 19, 2018 at 05:59 PM

        Well, Wikipedia offers several explanations...

        (Yes, I tried to lookup, apparently because I'm too young... and now I guess I should be at home, it's already dark outside:))

      • Dec 20, 2018 at 12:41 PM

        AMDP = ABAP Managed Database Procedure. So AMDP Procedure = ABAP Managed Database Procedure Procedure.

        TMG = Table Maintenance Generator

    • Dec 20, 2018 at 03:39 PM

      Oh, and for some types of databases, Group By doesn't sort the data either

      • Dec 20, 2018 at 07:20 PM

        Ooo. Interesting. Plese expand!

        • Dec 20, 2018 at 08:08 PM

          I ran into this a couple of years ago with, I believe, Oracle. It would group the data appropriately, but the groups were not sorted in the results. I had to add an Order By to sort by the groups.

          • Dec 21, 2018 at 08:53 AM

            That makes sense. A relational database has no concept of order, so if you GROUP BY, then you should expect sorting either.

            Basic rule: if you don't have ORDER BY, then don't rely on the order of the data.

      • Dec 21, 2018 at 08:24 AM

        > Group By doesn't sort the data either.

        Now I'm surprised - why would you expect any database system to use GROUP BY to order? IMHO, these are two distinct tasks...

        As Matt has stated: "Not knowing that relational databases have no default ordering sequence -> you must use ORDER BY."

        • Dec 21, 2018 at 03:17 PM

          I agree. But I've also seen code written to depend on Group by sorting the results. Granted, that is the case for some databases - I know I've seen it in MySQL and MS SQL Server - but I never depend on it because it may change from one version to another. It's something I've had to train a bunch of folks on.


  • Dec 20, 2018 at 07:24 PM

    Encountered a variable named lv_status today. In the TOP include, When challenged, the programmer said that he only used it inside forms, so it was local.

    No jury would ever convict...

    • Jun 06, 2019 at 12:05 PM

      It's necessary to balance out those who insist on calling class attributes gv_status...

  • May 30, 2019 at 08:20 PM

    Was reminded of this thread by reading I want to send file by web service question. Oy vey...

    I think someone should write a blog and explain some basics, as a community service. This is getting ridiculous.

  • Jun 06, 2019 at 03:44 PM


    Kids? And what about the adults? There are so many of classyear 70' that still copy and paste without a minimum knowledge.

    And this is because companies doesn't need teachers or nerds.

    Companies needs humans acting like robots that can satisfy the market and if the market asks for "*hit" , well it's ok.

    Invoice is the master word . And this is basically because of the speed our system decided to live in. We're not at school they say always and always.

    The faster you go, the sooner you reach ... I forgot the words :)

    Produce , consume and die happy ;)

    Have a nice day

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