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SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer FAQ


In order to help everyone understand what we're doing with the Distinguished Engineer Program, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions. If you have an immediate question not addressed here, you can contact the HANA Distinguished Engineer Council members on SCN, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Twitter handles: John Appleby, Harald Reiter, Mike Eacrett, Jon Reed and Craig Cmehil.

Q: What is the Distinguished Engineer Program?

A: SAP HANA is the fastest growing product in SAP's history, with over 400 customers after just 12 months, and there will be an unprecedented demand for SAP HANA resources. With this comes the need to understand the level of experience of a HANA Engineer and their areas of expertise. The Distinguished Engineer program is an SAP-sponsored, community-led effort to address this perceived skills gap in the HANA technical community, and to recognize those with a high level of technical skills, as well as embracing those who are learning and are on their way to gaining skills.

Q: What is a Distinguished Engineer?

A: A Distinguished Engineer is someone with significant hands-on experience with HANA, and a member of the SAP technology community either as a customer, partner, or SAP employee.  There will be several areas in which engineers will be recognized, such as administration, development, modeling, performance architecture, etc.

Through this program, we also focus on the creation of quality, freely accessible technical content for those who wish to learn HANA; work with SAP on ways to help the technical community keep up with the rapid pace of change in HANA development; and feed experiences from HANA implementations back to SAP to guide future development of HANA.

Q: Why would I want to become a Distinguished Engineer?

A: Distinguished Engineers are among the technical elite in the HANA community. They have access to regular briefings from SAP and partners on development efforts, roadmaps, use cases, implementation successes, and other information that can help them stay at the top of their game. HANA is a rapidly evolving product, and SAP is committed to working with the Distinguished Engineer community to ensure they keep up with that pace of development.

There will also be rewards for becoming a Distinguished Engineer, but we can't speak about those yet as they are still being negotiated. But expect free access to select events, and custom stickers, at the very least.

Q: Who are the Distinguished Engineers today?

A: Here is a link to the master list of SAP HANA Distinguished Engineers.

Q: How can I become a Distinguished Engineer?

A: The qualifications for becoming a Distinguished Engineer have been published here: Qualifications (and Nomination form) for Distinguished Engineers. If you would like to nominate someone else (or even yourself) to be the next Distinguished Engineer, please fill out the nomination form completely, with contact information and publicly accessible, high quality technical content that can be reviewed.

Of course, "high quality technical content" can admittedly be subjective, but we're seeking content that can objectively be viewed as representative of technical expertise. Examples include thorough explanations of technical features such as SAP HANA Extended Application Services by Thomas Jung, or undocumented tips such as Lars Breddemann's Freshly found HANA Studio (rev. 26) treat... and Lloyd Palfrey's instructional video on how to reset your system password. Anything that shows not only theoretical knowledge that one might find in a HANA class, but also practical experience gained through working hands-on with SAP HANA.

Q: How can I participate in the Distinguished Engineer Program?

A: As already mentioned, Distinguished Engineers are selected based on the the quality of their content. So the first way to get involved will be to create and submit content of your own. You should submit content wherever you choose - the SAP Community Network,, your own personal blog site, etc.

Soon, we hope to be able to leverage a gamification platform that will allow community members to identify and rate quality content, wherever that content exists. Through this platform, all community members will be able to participate to rate content, and through this process, the highest quality content will be made more visible to those responsible for selecting Distinguished Engineers.

So to put it more succinctly, anyone can become involved in this community program, and the community itself will help judge those with the experience and skills required to become a Distinguished Engineer.

Q: What can I expect from the Distinguished Engineers?

A: Distinguished Engineers are community contributors and technical experts in various areas of HANA technology. As such, they are responsible for contributing high quality content to the online HANA knowledgebase, as well as participating in technical leadership capacities in events such as conferences, webcasts, and other in-person and virtual events.

We've also created  The HANA Distinguished Engineer social contract to explain what's expected of HDEs and what HDEs get in return.

Q: Will Distinguished Engineers come from SAP? Will they be officially recognized by SAP?

A: Distinguished Engineers come from all over the SAP ecosystem, including partners, customers, and even SAP itself. However, the Distinguished Engineer label is not an officially designated SAP branding, but rather a community one. This is one reason why community content is a requirement for Distinguished Engineer candidates - being a Distinguished Engineer is about participating in, and giving back to, the community.

Q: Where can I go to find more information on the Distinguished Engineers?

A: Find out more information on the Distinguished Engineers at the SAP Community Network Distinguished Engineer space.

Q: Where can I engage with the Distinguished Engineers?

A: As frequent community contributors, Distinguished Engineers are accessible via the SCN Distinguished Engineer space, or any other of a number of social media outlets such as twitter.

Q: Can I be a Distinguished Engineer if I work for SAP?

A: Yes, absolutely. We do however want to keep SAP Employees at around the 25-30% mark within the HDE program because we are looking for diversity. This can make it feel harder to be a HDE if you are a SAP Employee but that's better (in our minds) than the alternative. If you would like to help with this then we would encourage you to nominate great HDEs from all walks of life.

Q: Do HDEs need to be active on SCN?

A: HDEs can be socially active in whatever way works for them. SCN is an easy place in which we spot new HDEs but we welcome HDEs that are socially active in any community. Whilst we're there...

Q: Do HDEs need to be English-Speaking?

A: Absolutely not. You can create content in any language and still be a HDE.

Q: I'm in Sales/Pre-sales/Training/Marketing/Management. Can I be a HDE?

A: Probably not. The HDE program is specifically looking for hands-on experts in SAP HANA who work on customer projects or support. If you're more of a sales/marketing/training/manager persona then we absolutely value your input to the community, but the HDE program is probably not the right place for you. Probably, you know some HDEs so we would love you to nominate others. However we definitely don't discriminate, so if you're in sales and you're also a hands-on HANA expert then it's possible. If you are a very motivated individual and you're not a HDE because you're not hands on enough, then do drop us a line, because there are periodically spots on the HDE Council.

Q: Are HDE Council Members, HDEs?

A: Technically, not. HDE Council Members guide the HDE community, rather than being HDEs themselves. Most of the time they spend is behind the scenes. However, it's possible that the Council Members are also HDEs, it's not mutually exclusive. The HDE Council Members do also share the SCN badge.

Q: What's the difference between the HDE Program and the SAP Mentor Program?

A: SAP Mentors are the top community influencers of the SAP Ecosystem. It is a wide program covers all areas of SAP including technical and non-technical individuals. The HDE program has a singular purpose - to celebrate SAP HANA practitioners who share content. Therefore whilst there is an overlap, it is pretty small in practice (<10% and shrinking) and comprises of the HDEs who are also the top community influencers in the SAP HANA arena.

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