Big Data Pros Are Made, Not Born

Ann All

Updated · Mar 29, 2012

Companies are understandably excited about Hadoop's potential to help them derive  business benefits from their swelling volumes of data.  To do that, however, they'll need database administrators, developers and other professionals familiar with the open source project for storing and processing huge amounts of data. Unfortunately, folks with Hadoop skills are in short supply.  

A growing number of technology vendors are addressing this dearth of Hadoop professionals by providing training in Hadoop and other Big Data technologies.  Here is information on a few of the offerings:


Hortonworks, a company founded by a team of former Yahoo software engineers who contributed some 80 percent of code to the Hadoop project, last month launched a Hadoop training program called Hortonworks University. Bob Mahan, the company's global head of Field Services, said Hortonworks and other companies offering Hadoop services have been “overwhelmed” by customers seeking Hadoop training for their developers and database administrators.  “It's amazing to see the demand grow as quickly as it has,” he said.

Hortonworks currently offers a four-day course for Java developers who want to better understand how to develop Apache Hadoop solutions and a two-day course for database administrators who want to learn how to deploy and manage Hadoop clusters. The DBA course will likely expand soon and become a three-day course, Mahan said.

Hortonworks, which has partnered with Microsoft to enable Hadoop to run on Windows Server and to create a connector to link Excel with Hadoop, also plans to add a class on developing Hadoop solutions on Microsoft Windows, probably in the third quarter. Thanks to inquiries from customers, Hortonworks also intends to add a course for data analysts.

“We can create all these MapReduce programs and enormous Hadoop environments, but the bigger question for customers is what do they do with all that data,” Mahan said, noting the new course should help answer that question.

Hortonworks offers certifications for those who complete its training courses, with certification tests administered by Pearson Vue. The certifications can bolster a resume, Mahan said. “One of our students added the certification to his LinkedIn profile and started getting calls.”

In addition to these public training courses, Hortonworks offers on-site Hadoop training for clients that want to tailor courses to their specific development and admin needs and the products and services they already use.

Thanks to a Hortonworks executive's relationship with the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, Mahan said Hortonworks will likely make Hadoop training available through the college and will hopefully make similar arrangements with other universities. “We’d like to enable folks coming out of college to use this technology and to improve adoption of Hadoop,” he said.


Cloudera, which also employs some of the creators of Hadoop, has offered Hadoop training since early 2009. Sarah Sproehnle, the company's director of Educational Services, said more than 10,000 people have taken instructor-led courses, with “many more” viewing free instructional videos on the company's website.

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  • Ann All
    Ann All

    Public relations, digital marketing, journalism, copywriting. I have done it all so I am able to communicate any information in a professional manner. Recent work includes creating compelling digital content, and applying SEO strategies to increase website performance. I am a skilled copy editor who can manage budgets and people.

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