On DataCamp

Please note this is my personal opinion and has no relevance in any other thing other than my mind.

Recap for anyone who is unaware:

Last week DataCamp released a public note describing an executive sexually assaulting someone in the presence of coworkers, using their implicit position of power to their gross advantage. The post can be found here.

Let’s be really clear: This was sexual abuse.

What happened at DataCamp is violating on both a professional and personal level. The fact that DataCamp took so long to respond and report put potential victims in the room with a person who abuses their power and a culture that covers that up. That is absolutely unacceptable.

And to the victim(s) of this (because we know people like this generally don’t offend a single time), I want you to know that I find this behavior absolutely abhorrent. You didn’t deserve that in any way, shape, or form. It’s astonishing that the perpetrator was kept around and the company delicately kept quiet, saying “Oh, but we did training after this!” Irrelevant. This is how Jehovah’s Witnesses ended up in a cycle of sexual abuse involving children. You can’t run an organization like this.

But I’m struggling to break up with DataCamp. It’s one of the only places I know that starts at the very beginning, uses R, and allows for the privacy of practicing alone — all things that are pretty essential for getting women into data science. (I know that not all women use R but it’d be really silly to discount the absolutely delightful proportion of the R community that is women compared to other such communities).

It’s from a place of privilege that people are able to boycott anything. You have to have some resources to reject others. Lots of time, energy, love, and work has went into DataCamp and the community. It remains an accessible resource for tons of people (including women!) trying to break into a rigid field that shoehorns people through a broken, expensive education system. It’s easy to overlook how essential this opportunity is from inside the field.

It is our responsibility to create an alternative education system that is cheap, accessible, and doesn’t support a culture which covers up egregious abuse of power.

I’m really struggling not detaching the content from the creator. Let me be clear — every single time DataCamp is mentioned, I’m going to say “It’s a company that covers up sexual assault. “ That’s not up for debate.

At the same time, I’ve gotten real value from DataCamp. I’ve learned SO MUCH and met so many people who really shine in this community — and I’m in the middle of learning more! So much of my current professional development is invested in DataCamp. And frankly? When a young person with no money approaches me about switching to data science, I don’t have another resource to recommend that is as good as DataCamp. If you know of one that is honestly as good as DataCamp, tell me. But I’ve tried a lot and have been disappointed.

The best I can do is say “DataCamp has really good courses. They also cover up sexual assault and use the implicit power over content creators in ways I do not condone. Use ’em, know this, and get out.” And in having these conversations every single time, I hope that the knowledge of these actions spreads. I hope as their influence grows, so does the overwhelming force of people who think their handling of sexual assault is absolutely unacceptable. I hope more people hold them accountable. I hope every single person I talk about this to goes on to challenge their own companies with regard to their formal policies and protections for employees. I dream of a world where I don’t recommend DataCamp — but I think this is the best I got.

(And they really should put their money where their mouth is. This is a great analysis but creates an illusion that this is a company safe for women https://www.datacamp.com/community/blog/metoo-twitter-analysis)