DataCamp Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

Jan 23

The DataCamp website in the last two years has become my favorite destination for learning coding. It is not publicized as much as other places that offer coding classes. However, its courses are extremely effective and make the learning process very smooth and efficient.

I have given a few hours each week to learn a lot from this website. DataCamp is different because of its unique approach to education. You get videos that adequately explain the subject matter through real examples. They are easy to follow and very helpful. These are followed by exercises and quizzes that test the user’s grasp on the subject matter. No long lectures or complications are added to the overall learning experience.

I thought I would write about my experience with this platform. This DataCamp review looks at my overall experience with the website.

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Disclaimer

DataCamp Website

DataCamp is a website that offers a wide variety of courses. It deals with the subject of data science using Python and R. DataCamp is not the exclusive provider of these subjects. A plethora of educational websites exist for the same purpose. DataCamp, however, takes the lead by offering great teachers who know the subject inside out.

Their interactive exercises make the learning experience easier and more enjoyable. The website also offers a great community that is willing to help their peers in the quest of knowledge.

Apart from these great aspects, the curriculum itself is technically sound and can help any student acquire the necessary tools in their respective fields.

Learning R

When I first started using this website, I had to acquire an in-depth understanding of R. I chose DataCamp because a friend recommended it. He mentioned DataCamp's focus on R, which really caught my attention. I was completely satisfied with the website and soon acquired most of the knowledge I needed regarding R.

The reliance on exercises in the learning process helped me greatly to utilize this language to a great extent. This approach provided me with a fun way to test my capabilities. The only drawback was that these exercises could not help me grasp the inner workings of the language. However, DataCamp is not equivalent to an actual degree and, hence, provided me with a vast amount of knowledge without getting too deep into the subject.

DataCamp is evolving at an alarming rate. It has added various new courses since I joined two years ago. Most of these new courses are great for Python. Even though I was focused more on R when I signed up, I took courses focusing on Python as well. It was an overall enjoyable experience and I was able to learn various new things.

The makeup of DataCamp courses is very simple and easy to follow. They consist of videos that provide instructions and guidance. These videos are extremely helpful and wonderfully creative. They are followed by exercises regarding the subject matter of the videos. Actively solving these exercises will help the user retain most of the instructions provided in the video.

Apart from the exercises, the website also tests a user’s capabilities through quizzes, which give the user a very good understanding of where they stand in terms of a particular subject. These quizzes are mostly in a multiple-choice format and cover the subject matter that is touched upon in the videos.

The instructions are easy to follow and are made in a creative way to create interest in their relevant subjects. The videos and exercises, therefore, are a great way to learn the languages or subjects on offer.

Career Track Feature

There aren’t a lot of DataCamp reviews online. Therefore, it is essential to mention some of the features provided by this platform. In 2017, DataCamp introduced the Career and Skill Tracks, which were essential in various ways. They create a predestined timeline of various subjects based on the skills a user needs to acquire.

For me, they provided a path for learning as before, I was taking random courses based on my own preferences. The Career and Skill Tracks suggest and let you take courses that can help you acquire the knowledge necessary for your goals without aimlessly wandering around. I, therefore, had the opportunity to select the right courses without wasting my time on courses that weren't helpful.

I enrolled in the Python Skill Track. This was because I wanted to learn more about Python. The estimated time to complete this course based on my experience should be around two years. It was engaging overall and has an interesting design and interactive nature.

The Career and Skill Tracks contain various subjects other than Python as well. DataCamp offers three tracks that a user can choose for Python. Similarly, various tracks for R and other subjects are offered as well. Many courses exist outside of these tracks, which I found interesting as well. The Natural Language Processing Fundamentals in Python is a personal favorite as it covers a variety of topics and is convenient and easy to follow.

The Python track itself consists of 22 courses and takes around 70 hours. I completed these courses with another job, so this number would probably be less for someone who has time to spare. If you have a job and are willing to learn on a part-time basis, the 70-hour mark should be more than sufficient to complete this track.

The best thing about this track is that it starts from scratch. It does not treat its users like experts in programming and covers all the basics. The 22 courses, therefore, are designed to take a user from a beginner to an expert status in their respective topics. This is what gives DataCamp an edge over its competitors because you need to have prior knowledge in order to start them. Even with a lack of knowledge, all it takes is the will to learn. I had prior knowledge of Python, so the starting courses felt like a refresher on the concepts that I was already comfortable with.

I didn't always follow the layout provided by the website. Since I had prior knowledge in some courses, I took others in their place. I was wonderfully surprised by the flexible nature offered by the website in this regard. It made the learning experience less tedious as I only had to do the courses I wanted to. The website, however, forms its courses in such a way that a user feels rewarded for following the complete path set by the website.

I felt challenged and rewarded and that kept me going thought the predefined courses for the track. Even if I had prior knowledge about the course, the selection process was very nicely done and you could see why the courses were placed in the order that they were. Of course, I disagreed with the placement of some courses, but they were outliers in the general scheme of the track.

Curriculum

The starter courses for R and Python provided me with great insight into the languages. They were greatly designed and interactive. This made the entire process easy. I really looked forward to these tutorials and exercises every day.

The courses were designed in a way that they take you to the advanced level fairly fast. The layout of the courses made sure that I didn't feel out of place in these advanced levels.

If you use this website, I would recommend taking some initial courses. A little background in coding is necessary. If you have a little knowledge in these subjects, the website can build on that and take you to the next level.

Problems with the Courses

This DataCamp review would also look at the various problems I encountered with the website. The courses take into account various problems you might face and do an excellent job of getting the user through them. However, I still had two problems with the courses on offer.

The exercises become a bit repetitive, which takes away from the whole learning experience sometimes. I did not want to do various exercises that I knew I would have no problem doing. A bit of autonomy in this regard would greatly enhance the overall experience.

The overall exercises, however, were engaging and helped me go through the ones that became a bit tedious. I looked forward to the ones that challenged me in areas where I was not quite as confident. A little change, therefore, in the repetitive nature of the exercises would easily solve this issue. A skip option for exercises is required.

The second problem I encountered is that DataCamp does not focus on the methodological and theoretical part of the subjects. This does not apply to all courses, but background knowledge is an integral part of some courses. DataCamp should incorporate that into all its subjects.

A lack of resources hinders the user somewhat. Various topics do not exist freely online, and the user has to learn about them with just the resources on offer. This doesn't mean this is a huge problem for all courses. However, in my time, I did find some problems in acquiring the resources necessary to complete some courses. While they didn't impede my progress, they were a little annoying in the general scheme of things.

General Observations

The courses offered by DataCamp were fun and engaging. It really pays a lot of attention to the needs of the users. The skills of the users take centerstage. Real-world examples play an important role in the design of the curriculum, which helps a user acquire the skills necessary to tackle the tasks.

Some classes did feel repetitive, but I can understand why they were put in place. They are designed for everyone, so others who do not share a skillset similar to mine would find them helpful. Even the ones that seemed repetitive held true to the promise those courses made in terms of the skills they thought, so I guess this comes under the category of nitpicking. In short, the answer to the question, “Is DataCamp worth it?” would be a resounding yes.

A general problem with most educational websites is that they are not able to deliver on these promises. DataCamp promises that it's a step toward becoming a data scientist. That is a tall claim, but the platform stays true to its words. The courses are designed in a way that can help a user achieve the goals they set for themselves.

A data scientist would need a lot of other tools and skills. This website can act as a path toward attaining that goal ultimately. The courses can suit a wide variety of needs. They are designed in a flexible way and create real intrigue for their respective subjects.

A DataCamp certificate also looks good on your CV as it provides validation for the skills you have acquired. If you're looking for a job, DataCamp provides a good opportunity to make your skillset into an official tool for your CV.

Conclusion - Is DataCamp Worth It?

Is DataCamp worth it? The simple answer to this question is, “Yes.” I have used this website for two years and continue to do so because of the expanding nature of the courses and ease of use that comes with the learning process. I would recommend DataCamp for anyone trying to learn new things and acquiring new skills.

DataCamp relies on simplicity and user-friendliness. This is accompanied by very informative courses, great teachers and an interactive website. I found various concepts easy to learn on this website which had previously been hard for me. This website is an example of how the learning process can be simple and interactive while still setting up a clear path for users to learn the necessary skills.

This DataCamp review looks at my journey through the DataCamp website. I would suggest you start your own.

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