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Austin Zhang

Developer, Products & Innovation

I’ve only worked here for a few years and the number of opportunities SAP has offered me is truly remarkable.

Austin Zhang

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, opportunities for software developers are everywhere. Developers directly impact how people interact with each other, with organizations and with their environment. That is a very exciting prospect. However, working in development is not for everyone. It can be a demanding and stressful job, especially when your customers expect the best from your software. But if you are passionate about what you do and never stop learning, your growth in this fast-moving industry is limitless.

I became a full-time developer after graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, U.S, with a master’s in electrical engineering. After I returned to China, I joined SAP as I was interested in gaining experience at a global company. My work is centered on data management within the SAP HANA team, specifically data storage and index maintenance for SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), our high-performance SQL database server that accelerates transaction-based applications on premise and in the cloud. To some, working with zeros and ones every day might seem boring, but I am very passionate about what I do and see how my work helps businesses and the world run better. In my spare time, I make the effort to study products that serve our different lines of businesses to further my knowledge. I am also the technical lead in blockchain enablement and currently the project owner of two blockchain projects, which includes a blockchain-based background verification platform.

My job as an SAP developer isn’t confined to my desk. I have conducted tours of SAP Labs China for our partners, customers, universities, government officials and SAP global leaders where I share stories about what we do. I contributed to our internal security community by producing videos and news updates and helped to organize 2017 Cyber Security Month. In addition, I make it a point to take part in annual programs such as Innoweek, the global SAP Labs innovation contest, to challenge myself in a startup-style bootcamp.

Despite my love for my work, I do not see myself as just a developer. It’s important that I explore and develop different sides of myself and SAP offers many opportunities for me to do just that. Getting involved in the employee community is one of the best ways to learn from others, make strong connections and gain exposure. I was previously the President of the Early Talent community – what SAP calls its group of graduates, interns and young professionals. We organized learning workshops, including ‘deep dive’ sessions that offered Early Talents the opportunities to apply their knowledge and make a business impact. Our activities gained the attention of our leaders and we were awarded the ‘Most Shining Employee Community’ by our Managing Director in the 2017 SAP Labs China awards.

I am also actively involved in our Diversity& Inclusion initiatives, which champions gender diversity, multi-generational intelligence and acceptance of people of different backgrounds, abilities and orientation. For an SAP Early Talent Talk Series initiated by the Greater China Diversity & Inclusion Council, I spoke on a topic titled, “Dare to Try – Reimagining the Life of a Developer”. My intention was to encourage more young professionals to get out of their comfort zone and be proactive and confident.

One of my the most memorable experiences at SAP was hosting an Early Talent round table with our Global CHRO Stefan Ries who was in Shanghai for a visit. Although I had not done anything like it before, I pushed aside my doubts and stepped up. Despite being nervous at the beginning of the round table, and you could see me visibly sweating on stage, I quickly rolled with it and focused on doing a good job. To my relief, I received praise from Stefan after for my performance. That quickly led to many other hosting gigs, such as the opening ceremony of the Labs China Digital Experience Centre, the Labs China Demo Day 2018 and Architecture Summit.

I’ve only worked here for a few years and the number of opportunities SAP has offered me is truly remarkable. In 2017, I attended a mini EMBA program at Fudan University sponsored by SAP, and in 2018 I was fortunate to be identified as an SAP Catalyst, a global professional development program for selected employees. I was also nominated for the 2018 Global P&I Diversity & Inclusion Award. The list goes on. All this would not have been possible without a company who invests in its employees.

One question I ask myself every day is: “The regret of failure or the regret of not trying, which hurts more?”. It motivates me to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to try new things, even if I may fail. What’s important is that I tried and learned from the experience. The opportunities are always there at SAP, it’s up to us to take advantage of them and become our best.

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