2015 in review and a preview of 2016

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DataCamp’s mission is to build the best online platform for data science education with a focus on R and Python. In this post, we share our journey during 2015 and our plans for 2016 (hint: we’re hiring)*:


2015 – The data**

Since we’re all obsessed with data, let’s start with some numbers: In 2015…

Of course, there are people and stories behind these numbers: people who found a job through DataCamp, a teacher who started using DataCamp in the classroom, and companies that started training their employees through interactive courses.

2015 – The subscription model

Since we started DataCamp at the end of 2013, we’ve always allocated a large amount of our time to the creation of courses and technology that are freely available to the community. However, like every business, we need to keep the lights on. That’s why we launched our subscription plan in early 2015. On top of our free courses, a DataCamp subscription gives you full access to our entire course curriculum for only $25/month (or $9/month for students). In less than one year, thousands of people have become DataCamp subscribers.

2015 – The instructors

Behind the scenes, we share the revenue with external instructors, which has 2 benefits: (i) our students learn from the experts in every domain (e.g. who’s better to explain how to use a particular R or Python package than the actual package author himself?) (ii) it allows us to give back to people and companies that contributed a lot to the open-source ecosystem. We’ve been fortunate to be able to work with some of the best people (e.g. Matt Dowle and Arun Srinivasan) and companies (e.g. RStudio) in the R community. What’s exciting is that this model actually works: our most popular instructor is already making over $ 100,000 annualized.


In 2016, we’d like to focus on:  

  1. DataCamp’s community section and open-source tools to improve data science education with R and Python

  2. Building tools for teaching data science in the classroom and in a corporate setting

  3. Attracting the best instructors from the R,Python, and data science communities to further build out our curriculum

2016 – The community

The goal of DataCamp’s community section is to open up to the community some of the technology and tools we’ve built. Anyone can create an interactive course for free on the community section. Plus, in just a few days, we’ll launch a lightweight and open version of DataCamp providing easy-to-use interactive tutorials that anyone can embed on their blog or include as output of an R Markdown document. We envision that people will use these interactive tutorials, for example, to make existing vignettes for R packages more engaging. Professors can use them to create quick interactive versions of existing R Markdown documents or data scientists can use them to share internal knowledge with their team. Deep integration with Github will make this super easy to use.

2016 – The Groups feature

Teaching R, Python and data science can be a daunting task, especially when teaching to non-technical students. We’ve gotten many requests in the past year from teachers who are using DataCamp in their classroom and would like to get access to the data of their students. Our Groups feature helps these teachers understand where students are struggling and saves them time because our auto-grading system allows for an easy export of students’ results. We strongly believe that blended learning models are the future of education and will work hard to make our Groups product valuable to teachers of R, Python and data science.

2016 – The course curriculum

We’re happy to announce that we’re in the process of creating new interactive courses with some amazing people like Hilary Parker (Etsy), Sherri Rose (Harvard), Danny Kaplan (Macalester College), Ramnath Vaidyanathan (Alteryx), Brian Mills (University of Florida), Ted Kwartler (Liberty Mutual), Illya Mowerman (former McKinsey), and Jared Lander (author, R for Everyone).  Our goal for 2016 is to continue working with the best instructors from the R, Python, statistics, and data science communities.  Given our user and revenue growth, we’re convinced that multiple instructors will earn enough to allow them to quit their day job. We hope this will benefit everyone in the open-source community.

2015/2016 – FEEDBACK

Finally, we want to thank all of our students for helping us to make DataCamp better. We allowed students to rate the course chapters, hints, and the personalized feedback messages we provide them. In the past 2 weeks alone, our students submitted over 12,000 ratings, which helps us tremendously to better achieve our main goal: building a scalable platform for data science education while providing personalized and tailored feedback to our students. If you have any feedback on what we do and our plans forward, don’t hesitate to send an email to jonathan {at} datacamp.com.

– The DataCamp team

* We’re a team of 10 right now, and as we’ve been profitable in the last few months seeing double digit month-over-month revenue growth for every month in 2015, we’re looking to grow the team by 15 people in 2016. If you’re excited by what we do and want to join a young team that’s working hard to improve data science education, shoot an email with your CV to jobs {at} datacamp.com.  

** Researchers in the learning analytics space who are interested in analyzing our data can contact create {at} datacamp.com to obtain anonymized data from our platform.  

The DataCamp Team @ a wedding (don’t worry, we normally never wear a suit 😀 )

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