With its database platform based on Cassandra, DataStax has a vested interest in the success and popularity of the hot NoSQL platform. Cassandra was built by Facebook and powers some of the largest cloud applications in the world, including Netfix and Spotify—thus the growing developer interest in the platform.
"Apache Cassandra has become extremely popular," Christian Hasker, director of DataStax Academy at DataStax, told eWEEK. "With that popularity comes the need to acquire skills because DataStax and Apache Cassandra are part of the newer NoSQL database movement. In the traditional relational world SQL is an incredibly common language and skill. Millions of people know how to write SQL. So while Cassandra and NoSQL databases are growing in popularity, the skills needed to develop against them have not really kept apace. So there has been a widening gap between companies wanting to adopt Apache Cassandra and DataStax and the ability of their developers to develop against it."
DataStax Academy provides self-paced courses, videos and other training methods and materials to train developers, engineers, administrators, architects and others about Cassandra. DataStax interviewed more than 250 DataStax Academy members to confirm that there definitely is a massive skills gap in the database industry and a need for more people with Apache Cassandra skills.
Hasker said, according to last year's Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Apache Cassandra was the top paying technology skill for developers, enabling developers with Cassandra skills to earn 52 percent more than the average developer.
"This is really a double-edged sword," Hasker said. "It's great because it makes Apache Cassandra more popular for developers because they want to get onboard with a very hot technology so they can get a better job. But, on the other hand, CIOs at companies, when they look at their existing development teams and they don't have the skills, they're going to have to pay a 52 percent premium to bring in new developers who know Apache Cassandra and DataStax. They are happy that we have a solution to retrain their existing development team in-house for free."
About 18 months ago, DataStax decided to go all in on a strategy to close the NoSQL skills gap. "The first thing we decided to do was to offer a completely free way to access training," he said. "Now, as the economy starts to slow a little bit and companies tend to cut back on their training budget, individuals are using down periods to retool on their skill sets."
Frank Staszak, a software engineer at American Family Insurance, said access to free online courses helps engineers lower the barriers to adoption for teams to quickly learn how to use the latest open source technologies.
"Coming from a background in the relational database world, DataStax Academy made it easy to grasp new concepts and has been an invaluable resource in keeping me up to speed on Cassandra to build cloud applications," Staszak said in a statement.