MapR to Offer Free Hadoop Training to Close Big Data Skills Gap
Blackjack is used to illustrate the MapReduce model conceptually in MapR’s on-demand curriculum (Image: MapR)

MapR to Offer Free Hadoop Training to Close Big Data Skills Gap

Distro provider will offer Hadoop courses for developers, data analysts, admins

MapR will provide a free Apache Hadoop training program it developed to help address what it says is a gap in Hadoop skills in the workforce. The company, one of the leading Hadoop distribution providers, developed an on-demand curriculum and increased hiring and build-out of its education services team.

Hadoop is a popular open source framework for distributed storage and processing for large data sets. MapR thinks 2015 will be the year of enlightenment when it comes to Hadoop, its chef marketing officer Jack Norris said.

“The journey that we see is people are moving from batch orientation and thinking of Hadoop as back-office stuff to people doing real-time applications and automated adjustments to impact the business as it happens,” he said.

There’s an obvious benefit in providing Hadoop training for MapR, as it will get those starting on Hadoop journeys interested in the MapR platform. However, this is about Hadoop education and essentials, not about MapR-specific education, according to Norris.

“With Hadoop, the knowledge transfer and the education is a major hurdle,” he said. “MapR is in good position [to provide education]. We get 90 percent of revenue from software licensing, so we’re not heavily reliant on services.”

Free Hadoop training benefits the larger community. Labor supply is a key constraint to adoption of the framework. The company’s goal is to train 10,000 people for free on big data skills this year. Given an average of three courses per person and cost of $1,750 per course, this equates to a $50 million in-kind contribution to the industry.

A variety of quizzes and interactive lab examples will be used to teach three paths:

  • Developer path: building applications on Hadoop
  • Data Analyst path: for getting insights from massive amounts of data
  • Administrator path: learn how to architect, deploy, and manage a Hadoop cluster

The curriculum also illustrates typical applications and use cases. “How do you think about Hadoop? At one end of the spectrum, it’s about using Hadoop to offload and collect data from existing apps and existing processes as well as new data sources,” said Norris. “At the other end of the spectrum, what’s the elegant algorithm to improve my fraud detection, and there’s a whole lot in between.”

The training program readies people for several different certifications if they choose to go that route. Certifications are not administered by MapR, but by third parties, so they are not free and not required.

In the past few years, there have been several funding rounds for Hadoop-based companies like MapR, Cloudera, Altiscale, Pepperdata and Hortonworks, which also recently held its Initial Public Offering. These companies are well-funded, but they need better education to help the workforce catch up with the technology.

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