Posted in Courses

Learning Scala and Gaining Commercial Experience

So… I am now into week 5 of the Coursera course on Functional Programming Principles in Scala. It’s been hard work so far as I have had to learn a lot more about functional programming.

Week 1 was really a challenge as I had to get my head around recursion. Particularly the coin counting assignment which I eventually figured out. What’s really been fascinating is that once you start “getting” Scala you realise how powerful the language really is. One starts to appreciate it’s elegance and expressiveness.

My initial reason for learning Scala was to understand Spark better as I see Spark as a key component for many Big Data Solutions. Spark is written in Scala and hence I felt the need to learn Scala.

Having learned the foundations of Scala, I am now debating on next steps. I have a number of choices either getting a role where I can do some hands on coding or building my own software product. Ideally, I would prefer the former provided I have a good team of people that I can work with. I also joined the Slack chat for Spark and there is a nice channel dedicated to Scala Algorithms (Scala_viz)

Coursera is yet to launch the Spark and Scala course but when it’s on I think it will be a really good course.

In terms of the Coursera course, I would highly recommend it. It’s challenging but you really do get a lot out of it particularly if you have not programmed in a functional manner previously.

In terms of gaining experience with Scala, there seems to be a shortage of Scala developers that have a few years experience. However, for the newbies, it’s the classic chicken and egg situation where it’s hard to find a junior role that will provide sufficient commercial experience. The great thing about coding is you can still build your own App or contribute to an open source project.


I come from a background where I have built up and run as successful marketing agency. I am now interested in looking at new more innovative approaches, particularly in the area of Big Data, Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence and Statistics.

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