Looking to Hone Apache Hadoop Skills?

Apache Hadoop, the open source data management software that helps organizations analyze massive volumes of structured and unstructured data, is a very hot topic across the tech industry. Employed by such big named websites as eBay, Facebook, and Yahoo, Hadoop is being tagged by many as one of the most desired tech skills for 2012.

Hadoop’s popularity has made its way down to IT professionals looking to score top jobs with the proper skills.  Luckily, the industry has stepped up to the plate by offering several ways for those eager pros to get the education and training they need to be successful in the world of Hadoop and big data.
The big data concept essentially refers to the ability to analyze large volumes of different types of data in real time to allow companies to increase profitability through the identification of trends.  It’s a topic that is being talked about across many industries in the United States, including energy, financial services, media, pharmaceuticals, retail, and utilities.  With the increased interest from organizations in big data and products such as Hadoop, a demand exists for professionals versed in the field.  That’s where the importance of Hadoop training comes into play.

IT professionals seeking training courses and certification programs that concentrate on Hadoop will find many options.  Some of the companies that offer Hadoop training include Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, and MapR.  In addition, CIOs, CTOs, and other IT executives can take advantage of training that focuses on general overviews of big data and Hadoop.

A closer look at Cloudera showcases the demand for Hadoop training.  Based in Palo Alto, California, Cloudera is no rookie to the Hadoop training game.  In fact, Cloudera’s training history goes back three years and was instituted to add value to its Hadoop software for enterprises.  Cloudera currently offers six courses on Hadoop that cater to programmers, database analysts, system administrators, and IT managers.  The courses, which cost $2,000 and last four days, consist of training and lab work guided by instructors.  Those who complete the course receive a certification from Cloudera. 

Sarah Sproehnle, Cloudera’s director of educational services, commented on the company’s Hadoop training program: “Companies are struggling to hire Hadoop talent.  We’ve been doing Hadoop for awhile. We’ve put all of the best practices into our training so we can get people really quickly up to speed.”  She continued: “Our certification is quite popular.  Some of the industries that are adopting Hadoop want assurances that the people who are going to manage their petabytes of data are reliable. But if they’ve taken our courses and passed our certification, that’s proof. We’ve seen people bragging about our certifications in online posts, and we’ve seen job postings looking for our certifications.”

Touching on the point of popularity, the demand for Cloudera’s Hadoop courses has skyrocketed as of late.  Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of participants in Cloudera’s courses for the first quarter of 2012 is expected to be four times greater.  Spots are filling up fast too, with the company selling out its courses during last November’s Hadoop Word Conference held in New York City.  The conference, which was in its third year, had 2,000 attendees.

Commenting on the popularity of Cloudera’s training, Sproehnle said: “Over 10,000 people have come through our Hadoop curriculum in three years. But by the end of 2012, we will train another 10,000 people.  People are coming out of the woodwork to take our courses.”

As for the makeup of professionals taking Hadoop courses with Cloudera, company vice president Charles Zedlewski noted that it has changed over time.  He said: “In 2011, we saw our audience flip. We went from 70% of our customers being Web companies and 30% being enterprise to 75% being traditional enterprise and 25% being Web companies.  Hadoop has become a very big thing for industry.”

Unlike Cloudera, Hortonworks is new to the Hadoop training arena.  The Hortonworks University program offers courses and two Hadoop certifications to IT professionals.  The developer certification consists of a four-day course and carries a cost of approximately $2,500.  The administrator certification, meanwhile, lasts two days and costs $1,400.

Bob Mahan, senior director of worldwide field services for Hortonworks, discussed the need for Hadoop training: “We’re seeing the demand for our training increase exponentially.  Enterprises are starting to collect data in a much more granular level — customer information and deal information — and they’re scrambling to figure out how to crunch that data cost-effectively.”

According to training companies, those interested in registering for Hadoop training should meet certain prerequisites.  Developers should have Java experience, while administrators should be versed in Linux or Unix administration.  Some SQL knowledge is required for database courses too.  General big data courses, on the other hand, are open regardless of experience.

Although the road to becoming a Hadoop expert may take some work, Mahan predicts it will be well worth the effort, saying: “Within three to five years, half of the world’s data will be processed on Hadoop.  It’s something we haven’t seen since the early SQL days or the early Java days. There are going to be demand for thousands and thousands of individuals who are trained in Hadoop.”

For more on this topic, visit http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9224964/Get_Hadoop_certified_…_fast?taxonomyId=9&pageNumber=1

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