DataCamp Review [2020]

DataCamp Review 2020

I’ve been testing DataCamp over the past several weeks to bring you a comprehensive DataCamp Review. 

Should you sign up for DataCamp in 2020? 

We’ll look at their curriculum - including what programming languages are covered and the overall setup of DataCamp. We’ll also talk about their learning style, cost, and community / support. 

Then, based on my 15 years of analytics experience, I’ll tell you whether I recommend signing up for DataCamp...or choosing another option...

Disclaimer: This review is my opinion based on my own experience using the product. I’ve spent my own money to sign up for DataCamp to evaluate and review it. Some links may be affiliate links.

What is DataCamp?

DataCamp is an online platform for learning data science skills and programming languages.

Their main message focuses on building data science skills so while that certainly includes knowledge of a programming language, they aren’t targeting people that are looking at programming without a data science flavor to it.

DataCamp Curriculum

DataCamp offers hundreds of courses as well as projects and assessments. While you can take these individually in any order you choose, the main structure of DataCamp is based on their Career and Skills Tracks.

Career Tracks & Skills Tracks

DataCamp offers 14 career tracks and 43 skill tracks. 

Both career tracks and skills tracks are built on different sets of courses. The career tracks are more broad - covering many more courses and topics. The skills tracks are more focused on specific skills so they’re quicker to do. 

DataCamp estimates the length of time needed to complete each of the tracks so you can easily see what time you’ll need to complete the training. The duration varies from track to track since the number of courses within them also vary.

DataCamp Career Tracks include options for programmer, but their main focus is on data analytics and data science so this is what most of the career tracks center around. 

DataCamp Programming Languages

Because the main focus is in this data science area the programming languages they offer as options are the most popular ones for data science - Python, R, and SQL.

DataCamp Courses

DataCamp offers 327 different courses crossing a variety of technologies.

DataCamp courses include additional technology beyond the main Python, R, SQL focus. There are also introductory courses in Git, Shell, Tableau, and Scala as well as a handful of other isolated courses.

Courses are generally 4 hours long with some minor variations.

DataCamp Assessments

There are several assessments you can take to find out where your skills are.

These are all designed to adapt to the skills you show to get a finer read on where you currently stand.

DataCamp Projects

Once you’ve learned different skills within DataCamp, you can move into projects. These projects give you the opportunity to practice the skills you’ve built in the courses.

Each project centers around 1 or more specific objectives like data manipulation, data visualization, or case studies. Most projects are heavily guided. This is a great step when you’re just starting into practicing your skills. You can get assistance at different stages and improve your work.

I’d like to see more projects that push you to figure out an end goal and not walk you through every step of the way, but I also acknowledge this would be difficult to offer automated support since there’s usually multiple approaches that can work to get to the same goal. 

DataCamp Learning Style

DataCamp’s learning style is based around teaching and then practicing.

You watch videos and then jump into exercises. With the exercises, you walk through how to do each step in a practice round. Then, you’re given an assignment to practice what you’ve just been taught. These practice assignments often vary slightly from the examples, adding more complexity.

You get immediate feedback on your code when you check it. If you got it wrong, you can choose to retry or to get a hint to help you.

In going through some of these practice exercises, I noticed that if you put in a different answer than they were expecting, but you got the right result, it still marked this as correct.

I’m a bit torn on this.

Ideally it would be nice if it alerted you that your answer was right, but they wanted to see an answer that used the concept they just taught. ​

I know this seems like I’m just being picky, but when you’re just learning, it can be good to be reminded that there are more efficient ways to code. Since this is the main feedback you get on your skills, it’s good to be reminded that elegance in code can really set you apart over time vs brute forcing your way through it. Same results - but you’ll be quicker and your code will be cleaner if you adopt to the more efficient methods early on.

DataCamp’s learning style is great if you’re a person who learns best by doing. While you get a bit of theory up front, it’s really focused on having you jump in, learn and adjust.

There’s also some gamification to the learning style as you earn experience points for everything you complete correctly and can “pay” with experience points to get hints along the way. 

DataCamp Cost

DataCamp has 3 pricing levels for individuals as well as team options for companies interested in training for 5 or more employees.

At the free level, you get:
First chapter of all courses
7 projects
All coding challenges
1 skill assessment

This is a great option to figure out if you like DataCamp’s delivery style. It’s not enough to learn any skill in depth and having access to the more advanced training isn’t very helpful when you’ve only done the first chapter of the lower level training.

The next level is the basic level at $25 / month and includes:
All FREE content, plus:
44 courses
2 career tracks
Unlimited skill assessments
Community chat

The highest tier is premium, at $33.25 month billed annually:
All BASIC content, plus:
327 courses
14 career tracks
43 skill tracks
81 projects
Priority Support

I recommend the premium level because it opens up a lot more options than the free or basic memberships.

Support & Community

All of the paid plans give you access to a Slack community where you can ask questions, discuss what you’re working on, and help others. The premium plan also offers priority support.

Overall DataCamp Review

DataCamp Pros

DataCamp is a great option if you like to immerse yourself in practicing your new skills and don’t want to spend a lot of time on theory. They are a cost effective option to build programming skills that are needed for data science and data analytics jobs. They’re also a large and growing platform so I expect they’ll continue adding new courses over time.

DataCamp Cons

The main shortcoming of DataCamp is the non-programming related data science skills are lacking. There are a few probability / statistics courses within the content, but they certainly aren’t enough to cover everything you need to know in that area. It’s a great starting point, but I don’t see DataCamp as a complete solution for EVERYTHING you need to know for data science.

Should you use DataCamp?

I highly recommend DataCamp as a way to learn programming skills for data science and data analytics. Their platform is intuitive to use, feels modern, and is flexible to do whenever you have the time. As opposed to less structured methods, it’s easier to get feedback on your work and you’re able to get hints on how to fix any issues along the way.

DataCamp Review Infographic

About this Guide

Jen - the person behind all the content on this site - has over 15 years of experience in data science and data analytics. She know what it takes to be a great data scientist or data analyst.