Data Engineering using Spark SQL - Basic Transformations - Spark SQL - Overview

Let us get an overview of Spark SQL, which covers the standard operations we typically perform in data processing using Data Frame APIs or Spark SQL.

Selection or Projection

Selection or Projection involves using the select clause to perform row-level transformations like applying standardization rules (e.g., converting names and addresses to uppercase) and masking partial data (e.g., SSN and Date of births).

# Example code for selection or projection"name", "address").withColumn("name", upper(col("name")))

Filtering data

Filtering data is done using the where clause to retrieve specific records based on conditions like date, product, or category.

# Example code for filtering data
df.filter(col("date") == "2022-01-01")


Joins help combine multiple datasets based on common keys, supporting outer joins as well.

# Example code for joining datasets
df1.join(df2, df1("key") === df2("key"), "inner")


Aggregations involve grouping data using group by and performing functions like sum, avg, min, or max to calculate metrics.

# Example code for aggregations


Sorting the final output can be done using the order by clause, allowing you to sort by one or more columns in ascending or descending order.

# Example code for sorting data
df.orderBy("date", desc("revenue"))

Analytics Functions

Analytics functions provide advanced aggregate, ranking, and windowing functions to analyze data further.

# Example code for analytics functions

Hands-On Tasks

Try out the following hands-on tasks to practice Spark SQL concepts:

  1. Select only the name and address columns from the DataFrame.
  2. Filter the data to retrieve orders placed on a specific date.
  3. Perform a join operation between two DataFrames.
  4. Group the data by category and calculate the average revenue.
  5. Sort the final output by date and then by revenue in descending order.
  6. Use window functions to rank stores by revenue within each state.


In conclusion, Spark SQL offers a powerful set of tools for data processing and analysis. By mastering key concepts like selection, filtering, joins, aggregations, sorting, and analytics functions, you can efficiently manipulate and derive insights from large datasets. Practice these concepts and engage with the community for further learning and exploration into Spark SQL.

Watch the video tutorial here