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Learn Apache Spark with online courses and programs

Apache Spark is used in computer programming, data analysis, and IT jobs. Take online Apache Spark courses to help build your skills and advance your career. Learn Apache Spark with courses delivered through edX.

What is Apache Spark?

Apache Spark is a leading, open-source cluster computing and data processing framework. The software began as a UC Berkeley AMPLab research project in 2009, was open-sourced in 2010, and continues to be developed collaboratively as a part of the Apache Software Foundation.Footnote 1

Today, Apache Spark is a widely used processing system by programmers and data scientists working with big data. “Big data” refers to data that is too large and diverse to process using traditional methods. Instead, the data must be processed on a cluster of computers. To process data effectively, the cluster must use a distributed storage system, like Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), and a corresponding computational model, like Spark.Footnote 2

Apache Spark is known for its fast processing speed and ability to support a variety of coding languages. It also facilitates large-scale SQL analysis, batch and stream processing. The software is used in many fields including data science, data engineering, and machine learning. It can be leveraged to build applications that stream and analyze large amounts of complex data, illuminating trends, predicting customer behavior, and informing decision-making.Footnote 3

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What is covered in an Apache Spark tutorial?

Spark is a key stop on your road to mastering big data. A variety of online courses can introduce learners to the Spark framework, many of which are self-paced and can be completed in only a few weeks. You’ll also find Spark included in the curricula for some data science, data analysis, and data engineering courses, since it’s a popular framework for working with large data sets and streaming analytics. 

An introductory Spark course can provide an opportunity to learn Apache Spark components and practice skills, such as how to build streaming applications and analyze data with PySpark and Spark SQL. Learners can then begin to use Spark to develop actionable insights and potentially apply what they’ve learned as the foundation for pursuing an Apache Spark certification in the future.Footnote 4

Spark developer jobs

Spark can be a required or recommended skill for a variety of computer programming, data analysis, and IT jobs. You may find it listed under job descriptions for positions in machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, predictive analytics, information security, software development, and much more. Building your Spark expertise and potentially earning a Spark certification can help you enter this field or advance your career.

Companies hire Spark developers to quickly and accurately process big data to identify trends, predict customer behavior, and help them make informed business decisions. Typical Spark developer duties include developing and designing applications, analyzing data sets, identifying patterns and trends in data sets, and collaborating with clients.

Learning Apache Spark on its own does not mean you have the skills required for positions in the fields discussed. Different jobs may require a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or additional technical knowledge that can be acquired through a boot camp.

How to become an Apache Spark developer online

Earning a bachelor’s degree in data science and computer science, or a master’s degree in data science or a related field can be helpful in your job search, as the coursework teaches critical skills for Apache Spark developers. If you don’t have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you’ll still need the coding and analytical skills required for the role. You may learn Apache Spark and its prerequisite skills in another educational setting, such as a coding boot camp. Earning a Spark developer certification can also demonstrate your skills. However, it’s important to remember that every job is different and each company will have unique hiring requirements. Consider those requirements when choosing your learning path.