April 9, 2014

What I Learned At Big Data TechCon 2014

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Tags: Culture

The Big Data TechCon in Cambridge, MA last week (March 31 to April 2, 2014) presented a plethora of information surrounding Big Data Technologies such as:

Avro, Cascading, Cassandra, Cypher, Factorie, Flume, H20, Hadoop, HBase, HDFS, Hive, Impala, LevelDB, Lingual, MapReduce, MongoDB, Neo4j, NodeJS, NoSQL, OWL, Pig, Python, R, RDF, SAS, Scalding, Spark, SPARQL, Sqoop, Storm, Tez, TokuMX, Turtle and ZooKeeper.

It was an amazing experience. There were over 55 practical classes and tutorials, offered around three levels of expertise – overview, intermediate, or advanced. The hardest part was trying to choose which sessions to attend, since there were too many to fit into just three days.

Right Tool for the Job

The most compelling concept that really stood out to me came during my “Big Data Engineering Practice” session, in which I learned that for any Big Data project to be truly successful, you have to choose the best-fitted technologies for accomplishing your business objective.

Sounds simple, right? In other words, is HBase, Cassandra or MongoDB the best NoSQL database option for your particular project, or does it even need to be a NoSQL database? Should I do my queries using Hive or Pig, or both, or perhaps just straight-up write my own MapReduce code? These are all questions you need to ask yourself, before you begin.

Why did this stick out to me? More often than not, when you bring a project to someone and ask them to create something, they’ll do it in a language like PHP and MySQL. This might not be the best solution to accomplish your objectives, but rather just what the developer is most familiar with. Maybe it’s the way the company has always developed their projects. Not the best way, but the standard way.

Expand Your Horizons. My point is that most people have gotten too comfortable knowing only one primary programming language such as PHP and one database system like MySQL. This results in them trying to fit every project into that development space.

This would be like someone giving you a screw and you going to get your hammer because you don’t want to learn how to use a screwdriver. Sure, you can probably get that screw into the wall with the hammer. But a screwdriver is going to be a lot more efficient.

Looking forward, I believe that the people who will be most successful, and most highly sought after in the job market, are those who take the time to learn as many of the Big Data Technologies mentioned at the top of this page. They’ll then be able to implement the right ones on a project-by-project basis to achieve the best results for their company.

So, if you weren’t able to attend this Big Data TechCon (or didn’t get to make it to some of the more advanced talks), then be sure to attend the next Big Data TechCon on October 27-29, or find Big Data events near you with our new Events Calendar! In the meantime, you can stay up to date on all the latest Big Data news right here at TechnologyAdvice.

Check out our photos from the event below (you might be in one!)