Apache Spark with Scala- Learning Path Decoded

When you are going back and forth on learning Big Data and Apache Spark, most of the resources on the Internet will point you towards Scala. The programming language has earned credits for itself lately and is the most talked about language in the Big Data arena.

The number of job posting demanding Scala as a skill has exponentially boosted on the job search platform Indeed since 2015. but, learning a new programming language from scratch can be a hard task to take. Well, we are making sure that you have a guide by your side to lead you from here.

First, you need to be clear with a basic understanding of the language. Apache Spark is an open-source cluster computing system that provides APIs in three main languages- Java, Python, and Scala. Scala is the most competent of all three as Spark is itself written using Scala.

Scala was created with the motive of bringing around a programming language that was a multi-paradigm programming language, functional, object-oriented, and run on JVM.

It is important that you have some background in programming and that you don't directly hop into programming with Scala as your first. However, if that is the case, you can learn the language but with moderate efforts.

Learn OOPs first if you are a novice in programming

Do not jump to the functional side of Scala, as it can overwhelm you. This is a basic mistake where people often fail to go through their entire learning cycle. It is possible to learn the object-oriented imperative style of programming with Scala before learning its functional side. It is recommended for Java programmers to convert their basic Java programs into Scala programs to get a good grip on the language.

Scala runs on the JVM and so the Java libraries can be utilized in its development. Learn to consume Java libraries in your Scala code. This will give you compact code due to the use of libraries and Scala's programming syntax.

Learn about the Ecosystem

Get familiar with the ecosystem to skip getting frustrated in your learning process. It is important to know that the compiler used for Scala is different from that used for Java. The IDE is the next bit of change. Look out for all the options available in the market, compare them, and then choose the IDE that works best for you.

There are three development environments that you can broadly choose from- Terminal or shell-based development environment, Integrated Development Environment or IDEs, and Notepad or Editor-based development environments. Weigh out each option not just on the basis of what's best, but your comfort too.

Functional Programming

The shift from Scala object-oriented programming to Scala functional programming is based on refactoring the code according to the project requirements. This is what is special about Scala in developing new code or refactoring, the process can be taken in parts without completely affecting the regular development cycle.

Learning Scala can be your career-boosting activity or can provide you a career change option. Scala has the potential of improving you as a programmer. Through Scala, you will be faced with difficult problems that will compel you to think in newer ways enhancing your understanding and capability to think. Scala is a preferred language in developing Machine Learning Big data science solutions, Big Data and analytics solutions, front-end development, and so on.

The giants in the IT space such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Netflix, Foursquare, Tumblr, The Guardian, Sony, Klout, Airbnb, Apple, etc., are all striving to make sense out of data by leveraging the power of Scala through Apache Spark. These companies have invested huge sums of money in the Big Data technology and are battling to gain an edge over others in their market.

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Comment by Yaro on May 18, 2018 at 4:28am

Bonson - you can use Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA - realy good ones IDE`s for scala or you can use raw sbt console for some quick coding.

Comment by steve miller on February 10, 2018 at 9:56am

there are Jupyter notebook Scala kernels available.

Comment by Bonson Sebastian Mampilli on February 8, 2018 at 2:34pm

Nice..  would be interested to know the IDEs for Scala and the ones that are widely used.

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