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About Data Engineering (Data 101 / Info 258)

This course will cover the principles and practices of managing data at scale, with a focus on use cases in data analysis and machine learning. We will cover the entire life cycle of data management and science, ranging from data preparation to exploration, visualization and analysis, to machine learning and collaboration.

The class will balance foundational concerns with exposure to practical languages, tools, and real-world concerns. We will study the foundations of prevalent data models in use today, including relations, tensors, and dataframes, and mappings between them. We will study SQL as a means to query and manipulate data at scale, including analytical challenges like sampling, aggregation and windowing, and performance concerns like views and indexes, data models, query processing and optimization, and transactions, all from a user perspective. We will study the foundations and realities of data preparation, including hands-on work with real-world data using standard Python and SQL frameworks. We will explore data exploration modalities for non-programmers, including the fundamentals behind spreadsheet systems and interactive visual analytics packages. We will look at approaches for managing the lifecycle of data science, including the establishment, monitoring, and maintenance of data pipelines for both analytics and machine learning. Time permitting, we will look at the specifics of ML pipelines including data validation, training, prediction serving and feedback loops, as well as technologies for representing, moving, sharing, and caching data including event streaming systems, key-value/document stores, in-memory and on-disk representation formats, log analytics, and search engines.

Textbook: There is no official textbook for data engineering this semester; we will provide course notes for some lectures that will be released with the respective lectures.


COMPSCI C100/DATA C100/STAT C100 or COMPSCI 189 or INFO 251 or DATA 144/INFO 254 or equivalent upper-division course in data science. COMPSCI 61B or INFO 206B or equivalent courses in programming. This class will not assume deep experience with databases or big data solutions.


See our FAQ page.


  • Ed is our primary method of communication and making announcements, and you are responsible for checking it frequently. We will also make assignment “megathreads” where you can public ask questions about the course assignments.
  • bCourses will only have lecture webcasts, and links to Ed.
  • Gradescope is where all assignments are submitted.
  • is the course staff email and is for private logistical student support and DSP accommodations. This email monitored by both the instructor and staff to ensure fastest response. Please only contact the course instructor directly for matters that require strict privacy and/or their personal attention.

Course Culture

Students taking data engineering come from a wide range of backgrounds. We hope to foster an inclusive and safe learning environment based on curiosity rather than competition. All members of the course community — the instructors, students, and course staff — are expected to treat each other with courtesy and respect. Some of the responsibility for that lies with the staff, but a lot of it ultimately rests with you, the students.

Be Aware of Your Actions

Sometimes, the little things add up to creating an unwelcoming culture to some students. For example, you and a friend may think you are sharing in a private joke about other races, majors, genders, abilities, cultures, etc. but this can have adverse effects on classmates who overhear it. There is a great deal of research on something called “stereotype threat”: research finds that simply reminding someone that they belong to a particular culture or share a particular identity (on whatever dimension) can interfere with their course performance.

Stereotype threat works both ways: you can assume that a student will struggle based on who they appear to be, or you can assume that a student is doing great based on who they appear to be. Both are potentially harmful.

Bear in mind that diversity has many facets, some of which are not visible. Your classmates may have medical conditions (physical or mental), personal situations (financial, family, etc.), or interests that aren’t common to most students in the course. Another aspect of professionalism is avoiding comments that (likely unintentionally) put down colleagues for situations they cannot control. Bragging in open space that an assignment is easy or “crazy,” for example, can send subtle cues that discourage classmates who are dealing with issues that you can’t see. Please take care, so we can create a class in which all students feel supported and respected.

Be an Adult

Beyond the slips that many of us make unintentionally are a host of behaviors that the course staff, department, and university do not tolerate. These are generally classified under the term harassment; sexual harassment is a specific form that is governed by federal laws known as Title IX. UC Berkeley’s Title IX website provides many resources for understanding the terms, procedures, and policies around harassment. Make sure you are aware enough of these issues to avoid crossing a line in your interactions with other students. For example, repeatedly asking another student out on a date after they have said no can cross this line.

Your reaction to this topic might be to laugh it off, or to make or think snide remarks about “political correctness” or jokes about consent or other things. You might think people just need to grow a thicker skin or learn to take a joke. This isn’t your decision to make. Research shows the consequences (emotional as well as physical) on people who experience harassment. When your behavior forces another student to focus on something other than their education, you have crossed a line. You have no right to take someone else’s education away from them.

Issues with Course Staff

As course staff, we are committed to creating a learning environment welcoming of all students that supports a diversity of thoughts, perspectives and experiences and respects your identities and backgrounds (including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, language, religion, ability, and more.) To help accomplish this:

  • If your name and/or pronouns differ from those that appear in your official records, please let us know.
  • If you feel like your performance in the class is being affected by your experiences outside of class (e.g., family matters, current events), please don’t hesitate to come and talk with us. We want to be resources for you.
  • We (like many people) are still in the process of learning about diverse perspectives and identities. If something was said in class (by anyone) that made you feel uncomfortable, please talk to us about it.
  • While the course staff understands that improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not enough to overcome systemic issues in academia such as racism, queerphobia, and other forms of discrimination and hatred, we also recognize the importance of DEI work.
  • If there are other resources you think we should list here, let us know!

We will take all complaints about unprofessional or discriminatory behavior seriously.

Misuse of Course Resources

If individuals are disrespectful to students, course staff, or others via course resources, they will lose access to course resources. E.g., if someone is unkind in the course forum, their account will be removed from the course forum. If someone is unkind in the classroom, they will be asked to leave the classroom.

Course Components

Lecture: There are two 80-minute lectures per week. You can attend in-person or watch the recording. The lecture hall only accommodates 50 students in a first-come-first-served manner, so if we end up exceed capacity for any given lecture, we may ask you to instead watch the recording. We may also have a live Zoom option, but this will be disclosed in due course of time. The class schedule will contain links to video recordings posted within 24 hours after the corresponding class.

Discussion: This course also includes one weekly optional 50-minute discussion section held on Thursdays from 10-11. This section will help you synthesize materials via worksheets and activities and is good practice for the final exam. Handouts wil be posted on the class Schedule. Section attendance is not required, but you are strongly encouraged to practice the material on your own time.

Projects: There will be four (4) programming assignments released throughout the semester (see the Schedule). Generally, you will have about two weeks to complete each project. Graduate students taking Info 258 will have an additional 5th project (Details TBD). Projects are graded on accuracy and are equally weighted. Project deadlines are Wednesday 5pm.

Multivitamins: There will be five (5) multivitamins released on Gradescope throughout the semester. You will have about two weeks to complete short written assignments that consist of multiple choice questions covering material that is not covered in the projects. Multivitamins are graded on accuracy and are equally weighted. Multivitamin deadlines are Wednesday 5pm.

Final Exam: The final exam will be held on May 7, 11.30am - 2.30pm. The final exam is offered in-person only (location TBD), and we will not offer alternate exams. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are not enrolled in another class that conflicts with our exam time.

Office hours are a great place to get help from course staff and to find study partners for this course. You can find a list of all office hours on the Calendar page.


Letter grades for the course will be based on your overall score in the class, calculated using the following weights:

Component Weight Details
Projects 60% No drops; see Late Policy
Multivitamins 25% No drops; see Late Policy
Final Exam 15%  

Grading will be done separately for Data 101 and Info 258 even though the two classes will, for all practical purposes, be run together.

Late Policy

Everyone has 9 slip days, which can be applied to late submissions of projects and multivitamins.

  • Each project or multivitamin can have a max of 3 slip days applied to it. These slip days will be automatically applied at the end of the semester to maximize your grade. After 3 slip days (i.e., late days), you can no longer receive credit for the submission.
  • Slip days are rounded up to the next day. That is, 4 minutes late = 1 day late. We will use the submission time as displayed on Gradescope.
  • If you have no remaining slip days, there is a 15% reduction to your total score for every day that the assignment is late. But bear in mind that you still will not receive credit for submissions after 3 late days, independent of whether you have slip days left.

Extenuating Circumstances

We recognize that life can be unexpected. If you encounter extenuating circumstances at any time in the semester, please don’t hesitate to let us know. The sooner we are made aware, the more options we have available to us to help you.

The Extenuating Circumstances form is for addressing any circumstances that cannot be resolved via the slip day policy above. This form is designed to lower the barrier to reaching out to us, as well as build your independence in managing your academic career long-term. Within one business day of filling out the form, a course staff will reach out to you and, as needed, provide a space for conversation and arrange course accommodations as necessary. When making extension requests, if possible:

  • Send requests before the assignment deadline
  • Send one extension request per assignment
  • If your extension request is granted, then the extension is to the original on-time deadline.

You are responsible for reasonable communication with course staff. If you make a request close to the deadline, we can not guarantee that you will receive a response before the deadline. Additionally, simply submitting a request does not guarantee you will receive an extension. Even if your work is incomplete, please submit before the deadline so you can receive credit for the work you did complete.

DSP Accommodations

If you are registered with the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) you can expect to receive an email from us during the first week of classes. Otherwise, email our course email. Assignment extension requests can be submitteed to the Extenuating Circumstances form

Collaboration and Integrity

You are encouraged to discuss practice problems and lecture content with your fellow students and with course staff. Arguing with friends about exercises is an excellent and time-honored way to learn. However, you must write up all your own assignments and code by yourself. Copying assignments from other sources is not only dishonest, it also doesn’t help anyone, least of all yourself. We have important rules:

  1. All code you submit should be written by you alone.

  2. Do not possess or share code. Before submitting your final work, you should never be in possession of solution code that you did not write. Looking up solution code online is effectively possessing solution code. You will be equally culpable if you distribute code, now or in the future. If you find yourself struggling or really desperate, reach out to the staff and/or submit to Extenuating Circumstances.

  3. Cite your sources:

    • Study groups: If you do discuss the assignments with others please include their names at the top of your notebook. Restated, you and your friends are encouraged to discuss course content and high-level approaches to problem-solving, but you are not allowed to share your code nor answers. You can work on a project alongside another person or group of people (e.g., study group), but it should not substantially resemble anyone else’s.
    • StackOverflow, etc. You should cite these sources, even if it’s using small snippets of code (e.g., googling “postgres string matching” may lead you to some sample code that you copy and paste. Include the link to these online sources.
    • With extreme caution: If you’re just generating some amount of boilerplate code with GitHub Copilot / GPT4 / etc., that’s OK. However, you should not use such tools to generate non-trivial methods. We are trying to build your engineering skills, and learning on an AI is going to cause you trouble in circumstances where you don’t have an AI to help, such as exams or often-time industry. Any AI-generated code must be cited (with the prompt and log) and explicitly indicated as such. Violation of this citation rule is a serious act of plagiarism. Note that AI generated code, especially from sources like ChatGPT, is often subtly buggy or completely incorrect.

We will follow the EECS departmental policy on academic honesty, so be sure you are familiar with it. We will be running advanced plagiarism detection programs on all assignments. Posting solutions is also prohibited. If you find a solution online, please email a link to that solution to the instructor.

We are tough with dishonest students and we hope that we will not be put in that situation in this class. We expect that you will work with integrity and with respect for other members of the class, just as the course staff will work with integrity and with respect for you. If you need help, just reach out and ask us. You are not alone.

Academic and Wellness Resources

Our Resources page lists not only course-specific academic resources such as course notes, past exams, study guides, and prerequisite review links, but also campus wellness resources on COVID-19, academic support, technology support, mental well-being, DSP accommodations, dispute resolution, social services, campus community, and basic needs. Our staff will also refer to this page when supporting you through this course.

We want you to succeed!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, visit our office hours and talk with us, or fill out the Extenuating Circumstances Form. We know college can be stressful and we want to help you succeed.

Finally, the main goal of this course is that you should learn, and have a fantastic experience doing so. Please keep that goal in mind throughout the semester. Welcome to Data Engineering!


Academic Honesty policy and closing words adapted from Data 8. Course Culture inspired and adapted with permission from Dr. Sarah Chasins’ Fall 2021 CS 164 Syllabus and Grace O’Connell, the Asssociate Dean for Inclusive Excellence.