Course Review – Hadoop Platform and Application Framework (Natasha Balac, Mahidhar Tatineni, Paul Rodriguez, Andrea Zonca)

Here is my review of Hadoop Platform and Application Framework course offered on Coursera in Oct 2015. Course has bad rankings of 2 out of 5 (bad), while I passed with a 99% grade.

Technologies/Material: The course briefly touches on every major Big Data tool present in Cloudera Virtual Machine: MapReduce framework + HDFS constituting the core of Hadoop; YARN, Spark, Pig, Hive, HBase. While some material in the early weeks is not useful and/or repeats Cloudera tutorials, the introduction to Spark by Andrea Zonca in Week 5 is very well done and can serve as a reference guide. Non-native Python interface to Hadoop is chosen for sparse exercises. In turn, presented Python interface to Spark is native and provides great interactive capabilities. There is a substantial number of code examples, which are often shown only in lecture videos without any ability to copy them(!), e.g. for Hive. The course name fluctuated and eventually converged to a longer version to reflect the broader set of topics. Programming assignments are very simplistic and require mostly copy-pasting from examples. At the time the course was offered, the Big Data specialization was assigned Intermediate difficulty.

Instructor/lectures: the course has an unusually large number of instructors (4), which hinders coherent elaboration of the material. There is a substantial overlap between different weeks and substantial differences in focus as well as in presentation style: Natasha Balac is largely discussing management of Big Data zoo, Andrea Zonca provides highly technical lectures, while the other two guys are somewhere in between. All instructors are affiliated with the University of California, San Diego.

2 thoughts on “Course Review – Hadoop Platform and Application Framework (Natasha Balac, Mahidhar Tatineni, Paul Rodriguez, Andrea Zonca)

  1. It is pleasing to know that you scored very high in this subject while this subject turned out to be challenging for a few others. My background primarily is in C (10+ years), Algorithm, Networking.

    I am planning to take this Coursera Hadoop course very soon (in the next 2 weeks or so). I need your invaluable input here – need to know if you think there is any pre-requisite given my background.

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