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Databricks to Launch First of Five Free Big Data Courses on Apache Spark

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Databricks helps hundreds of organizations use Apache Spark to answer important questions by analyzing data. Apache Spark is an open-source data processing engine for engineers and analysts that includes an optimized general execution runtime and a set of standard libraries for building data pipelines, advanced algorithms, and more.

Besides contributing over 75% of Apache Spark's design and development work, Databricks has also trained a large number of Spark developers. In less than three years over 30,000 students have completed a Databricks training course about Apache Spark and over half of those students received the training for free.

Last year Databricks worked with professors from the University of California Berkeley and University of California Los Angeles to produce two free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses were recently nominated for the edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning. These courses were also remarkably successful, with highly positive student feedback along with enrollment, engagement, and completion rates that are two to five times the averages for MOOCs. Overall, upwards of 125,000 students registered for the courses and over 15,000 students passed.

This year we have expanded our investment in these academic partnerships and created the five-part MOOC series Data Science and Engineering with Apache Spark. Through this series of courses, students will be exposed to an integrated view of data processing, and will gain hands-on experience building and debugging Spark applications using the Databricks platform.  All of these MOOCs will be freely available on the edX MOOC platform.

On June 15 we will be launching the first of these courses, a two week course entitled Introduction to Apache Spark.  This statistics and data analysis course will teach you the basics of working with Spark core and Spark SQL and provide you with the necessary foundation for diving deeper into Spark. You’ll learn about Spark’s architecture and programming model, including commonly used APIs. After completing this course you’ll be able to write and debug basic Spark applications, use Spark’s web user interface (UI), as well as recognize and avoid common coding errors. We are excited to contribute back to the Apache Spark community with these efforts, and we hope these MOOCs will contribute to the growth of the community.

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