PySpark Tutorial For Beginners [With Examples]

PySpark is a cloud-based platform functioning as a service architecture. The platform provides an environment to compute Big Data files. PySpark refers to the application of Python programming language in association with Spark clusters. It is deeply associated with Big Data. Let us first know what Big Data deals with briefly and get an overview of PySpark tutorial

What is PySpark Used for?

As a Python API for Spark released by the Apache Spark community, it supports Python with Spark. Keep reading this article on spark tutorial Python to know more about the uses.

  • With the use of PySpark, one can integrate and work efficiently with Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDDs) in Python. 
  • Numerous features make PySpark an excellent framework as it facilitates working with massive datasets.
  • PySpark provides libraries of a wide range, and Machine Learning and Real-Time Streaming Analytics are made easier with the help of PySpark.
  • PySpark harnesses the simplicity of Python and the power of Apache Spark used for taming Big Data.
  • With the advent of Big Data, the power of technologies such as Apache Spark and Hadoop have been developed.
  • A data scientist can efficiently handle large datasets, as being well within reach of any Python developer. 

Read: Dataframe in Apache PySpark

Big Data Concepts in Python

Python is a high-level programming language that also exposes many programming paradigms such as object-oriented programming (OOPs), asynchronous and functional programming. 

Functional programming is an important paradigm when dealing with Big Data. It follows a parallel code, which means you can run your code on several CPUs as well as entirely different machines. PySpark ecosystem has the power to allow you to use functional code and distribute it across a cluster of computers. 

Functional programming core ideas for programmers are available in the standard library and built-ins of Python.

Data manipulation occurring through functions without any external state maintenance is the core idea embodiment of functional programming. This stands for the fact that your code circumvents global variables and does not manipulate the data in-place but always returns new data. Python uses the lambda keyword to expose anonymous functions.

Some Key Features of PySpark

  • Polyglot: PySpark is one of the most appreciable frameworks for computation through massive datasets. It is compatible with multiple languages too.
  • Disk persistence and caching: PySpark framework provides impressive disk persistence and powerful caching.
  • Fast processing: Compared to the other traditional frameworks used for Big Data processing, the PySpark framework is pretty fast.
  • Works well with RDDs: Python is dynamically typed for a programming language, which helps to work with Resilient Distributed Datasets. 

What is PySpark?

This Pyspark tutorial will let you understand what PySpark is. PySpark is a Python Application Programming Interface (API). The API is written in Python to form a connection with the Apache Spark. As you know, Apache Spark deals with big data analysis. The programming language Scala is used to create Apache Spark. It can be integrated by other programming languages, namely Python, Java, SQL, R, and Scala itself. 

PySpark is based on two sets of corroboration:

  • PySpark API: It has a lot of samples. 
  • Spark Scala API: For PySpark programs, it translates the Scala code that is itself a very readable and work-based programming language, into python code and makes it understandable. 

Py4J gives the freedom to a Python program to communicate via JVM-based code. It helps PySpark to plug in with the Spark Scala-based Application Programming Interface. 

How to Set PySpark Environment

Now let’s discuss different environments where PySpark gets started with and is applied for. Follow this spark tutorial Python to set PySpark:

  • Self Hosted: In this case, you can set up a collection or clump yourself. In this environment, you can look to use metal or virtual clusters. There are some proposed projects, namely Apache Ambari that are applicable for this purpose. However, this process is not quick enough. 
  • Cloud Providers: In this case, more often than not, Spark clusters are used. This environment serves quicker than self-hosting. Amazon Web services (AWS) has Electronic MapReduce (EMR), whereas Good Clinical Practice (GCP) has Dataproc. 
  • Vendor Solutions: Databricks and Cloudera deliver Spark solutions. It is one of the fastest ways to run the PySpark.

PySpark Programming

As we all know, Python is a high-level language having several libraries. It plays a very crucial role in Machine Learning and Data Analytics. Therefore, PySpark is an API for the spark that is written in Python. Spark has some excellent attributes featuring high speed, easy access, and applied for streaming analytics. In addition to this, the framework of Spark and Python helps PySpark access and process big data easily. 

The essentials of spark tutorial Python are discussed in the following. 

Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDDs): Resilient Distributed Datasets or the RDDs are one of the primary building rocks of PySpark programming architecture. This collection is unchangeable and undergoes weak transformations. Each word of this abbreviation has a significance. It is resilient because it can permit mistakes and can rediscover data. It is distributed because it expands over various other nodes in a clump. Dataset stands for the storage of values data.

Also Read: Most Common PySpark Interview Questions

RDD Supports Primely the Following Types of Operations

1) Transformations: Transformations following the principle of Lazy Evaluations, allows you to operate executions by calling an action on the data at any time. Few of the transformations are Map, Flat Map, Filter, Distinct, Reduce By Key, Map Partitions, sort by which are provided by RDDs.

2) Actions: The RDD operations allow PySpark to apply computation, passing the result back to the driver, which is called actions.

Steps to Convert Uppercase to Lowercase and Split a String

The output of split function is of list type. To use join function the format is “.join (sequence data type)” With the above code:

Input: String Split and Join

Output: String split and join

How to Read a File?

Read a file in Python by calling .txt file in a “read mode”(r).

Step 1) Open the file in Read mode

f=open(“sample.txt”, ”r”)

Step 2) We use the mode function in the code to check that the file is in open mode. 

f.mode == ‘r’:

Step 3) Use to read file data and store it in variable content 

contents =

Steps in Predictive Analysis:

  1. Data exploration: You have to gather the data, upload it, and figure out the data type,  its kind, and value. 
  2. Data cleaning: You have to find the null values, missing values, and other redundancies that might hinder the program.
  3. Modelling: You have to select a predictive model.
  4. Evaluation: You have to check the accuracy of your analysis.

PySpark Streaming

PySpark Streaming is nothing but an extensible, error-free system. It abides by the RDD batch intervals ranging from 500ms to higher interval slots. According to spark tutorial Python, Spark Streaming is given some streamed data as input.

Depending on the number of RDD batch intervals, these streamed data is divided into numerous batches and is sent to the Spark Engine. Some of the sources from where the streamed data is received are Kinesis, Kafka, Apache Flume, etc. By using Data Structures and algorithms, Spark Engines can retrieve data. After that, the retrieved data is forwarded to various file systems and databases. 

As stated earlier, PySpark is a high-level API. Despite any failure occurring, the streaming operation will be executed only once. One of the main distractions of the PySpark Streaming is Discretized Stream. These stream components are also built with the help of RDD batches. MLib, SQL, Dataframes are used to broaden the wide range of operations for Spark Streaming. 

In this PySpark Tutorial, you get to know that Spark Stream retrieves a lot of data from various sources. This is possible because it uses complex algorithms that include highly functional components — Map, Reduce, Join, and Window. 

These are the things that sum up what PySpark Streaming is. Now in this Spark tutorial python, let’s talk about some of the advantages of PySpark. 

Advantages of PySpark

This segment can be divided into two parts. First of all, you will get to know the advantages of using Python in PySpark and, secondly, the advantages of PySpark itself.

  • Being a high-level and coder-friendly language, it is easy to learn and execute. 
  • A simple and inclusive API can be used. 
  • Python gives the reader an excellent opportunity to visualise data. 
  • Python has a broad range of libraries. Some of the examples are Matplotlib, Pandas, Seaborn, NumPy, etc. 

Now, the following are the features of PySpark Tutorial:

  • PySpark Streaming easily integrates other programming languages like Java, Scala, and R. 
  • PySpark facilitates programmers to perform several functions with Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDDs) 
  • PySpark is preferred over other Big Data solutions because of its high speed, powerful catching and disk persistent mechanisms for processing data. 

Must Read: Python Tutorial for Beginners

Inclusion of Data Science and Machine Learning in PySpark 

Being a highly functional programming language, Python is the backbone of Data Science and Machine Learning. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Data Science and ML are the integral parts of the PySpark system. Machine Learning Library (MLib) is the operator that controls the functionality of Machine Learning in PySpark. 

The following are the advantages of using Machine Learning in PySpark:

  • It is highly extensible. 
  • It remains functional in distributed systems. 

The main functions of Machine Learning in PySpark:

  • Machine Learning prepares various methods and skills for the proper processing of data. These are transformation, extraction, hashing, selection, etc.
  • It provides some complex algorithms, as mentioned earlier. These are used to process data from various sources. 
  • It uses some mathematical interpretation and statistical data. It involves linear algebra and model evaluation processes. 


In this tutorial, we discussed key features, setting the environment, reading a file and more.

If you are curious to learn about data science, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Diploma in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.

Prepare for a Career of the Future

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Know More