Hours with Experts: Our First Data Engineering Course Recap

Hours with Experts data engineering course

1904Labs is a start-up minded tech company with a commitment to the community. Hours with Experts is where those two passions come together. Over a free, eight-week course, Hours with Experts covers the fundamentals of Data Engineering. This includes working with a pub/sub system (Kafka), working with a streaming data framework (Spark Streaming) , and interacting with NoSQL databases (HDFS – Hbase & Hive).

In our first session of Hours with Experts for Data Engineering, thirteen individuals started the in-person class on Feb 27th. (Remember when things used to be in person?) Participants came from a diverse range of experiences within the tech industry; Software developers looking to jump into big data. Systems architects looking to hone their skills. Data engineers looking to bring practical solutions to their everyday job. And a few people looking for their first break into full-time development. The program’s called Hours with Experts because 1904Labs provides the instructors, but all the participants brought knowledge to share and a willingness to teach one other.

The first four weeks started off hot!. Big Data Fundamentals, then Kafka, then Spark. The class was rolling with a good balance of the theory behind these big data tools and practical working software examples.

Then Covid-19 arrived in St. Louis around week four, moving the course entirely online. Two students dropped due to new responsibilities at home. For the eleven that continued, the move to fully remote classes also posed some challenges. A lot of these big data technologies can be a chore to set up and debug. With Covid-19, we are now debugging two languages across multiple operating systems through Google Hangouts.

Hours with Experts transition to remote

Especially in the changed reality, the real story of Hours with Experts was the success of the participants. Every Monday at 6:00pm, through the craziness of the world around them, eleven people would log on for three hours to learn about the next piece of our data pipeline. Spark-Streaming, then Hbase, then Hive, and lastly a final project that tied together all the technologies we learned.

We look forward to checking in with the participants in a month or two. We hope to hear that participants were able to integrate these technologies into their jobs or transition to a Data Engineering role. If you are interested about the next course, let us know here. We’ll shoot you an email next time we are taking applications!

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