In this post I have the opportunity to share the review of a brand new Pentaho Data Integration video course by Itamar Steinberg. The full name of the course is mastering data integration (ETL) with pentaho kettle PDI and is available for purchasing on the Udemy website.
The video course is composed by 80 lectures and more then 10 hours of content. It is a walk-through of a real ETL project using Pentaho Data Integration (also known as Kettle), starting from the beginning of the design of the ETL with some easy steps that becomes more and more complex, layer by layer, as you go forward. This Pentaho Data Integration video course also cover some basic concepts of data integration and data warehouse techniques.
Intended audience and required skills
Itamar declares that “the course is about taking you from the beginning and transfer you to a master of Pentaho kettle”. The required skills for the attendees are: basic SQL and database design. Of course, we are talking about a technical video course, so the attendees are Developers or Software architects.
After viewing all the video course, I’m agree with Itamar about the requested skills and I think that he starts from the very basic concepts of a generic ETL project (why an ETL is useful, the OLAP model, the basic tools like the SQL Client, ecc.) but also covers the most important topics of the Pentaho Data Integration (aka Kettle). IMHO I think that the goal to be a master of PDI is quite hard to reach, not because of quality of the video course, rather because of the huge amount of things that Kettle is able to do. In other words: sometimes Itamar seems to sell a little bit his good product. 😉
Sections and modules
The video course is quite long (more than 10 hours) and is separated in fourteen sections. But we can try to see a more general separation in chapters, useful to review it. Below the chapters I can see:
- Introduction (Section 1). This is a kind of presentation of the author and the video course. This is mainly advertising.
- Theory and concepts of data integration (Section 2). Introduction to some basic concepts of the Data Warehousing techniques.
- Setup of the environment (Section 3 to 4). Description and installation of all the tools requested from the ETL project that is discussed ahead.
- Development of a real ETL project using Pentaho Data Integration (Section 5 to 13). Description and development of a real ETL project using Pentaho Data Integration. Of course, this is the core of the video course.
- Conclusion (Section 14). This is a kind of resume of the video course by the author.
Strengths and weakness
Below I would like to go straight to the goal the review in a brand new and clear way. I would like to share some strengths and weakness of the video course, of course from my modest and honest point of view.
Pentaho Data Integration skills. What do you expect from a PDI course? Of course, to learn from someone that is a Professional on Pentaho Data Integration! Ok, with Itamar you will find it and everything that you will see is a clear result of his experience in real life projects.
Data Warehousing techniques. Most of the books I read and most of the video course I have seen are strictly based on the topics they want to cover. Of course this is correct, but with this video course you will get in touch also with some basics of the Data Warehousing techniques… not all the basics but some of the most relevant basics. 😉
Practical approach to ETL project. Usually I prefer a theoretical approach the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects, but Itamar takes his inspiration from the famous ‘The Data Warehouse Toolkit’ (R.Kimball) that is a real bible. For this reason the video course is definitely coherent with this practical approach.
The video course should have being optimized to reduce the duration. IMHO the video course is quite long and some non relevant parts could be cutted off in post production. (More than) Ten hours are an important amount of time, for an attendee, to be concentrated on a video course (Packt Publishing, for example, indicates two hours for a single video course).
As usual, the final question that I always think about, is: do I suggest the Pentaho Data Integration video course to someone else? In this case my answer is yes. I think that Itamar has done a good job and, above all, this could be useful for a lot of new professionals in Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence projects. Of course some improvements will give to the course a higher quality (especially compacting the duration and natural english speaking) but the goal to share his experience with the attendees is definitely reached. Thank you Itamar for the opportunity to review your course.