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Learner Spotlight: Nigeria’s DataCamp Evangelist

How Felix Ayoola, a student and graphic designer in Nigeria, helped over 1,500 learners get free access to data skills training.
Dec 2020  · 5 min read

I discovered the DataCamp giveaway from their blog post looking for nonprofit partners to make data science education accessible to everyone. I’d originally wanted this partnership for my local data science community at AI+ Obafemi Awolowo University, but we weren’t eligible because we didn't have a website. Luckily, we were a sub-community of Data Science Nigeria, which was already involved in the giveaway, so we were able to get free access to DataCamp after all.

Data science is a booming field and many even go as far as to say that data is the new oil. The opportunity offered by DataCamp was too good to pass up, so I forwarded the registration link to all the communities that I know of that share the vision of empowering young people to acquire digital skills. Some of the communities, like Ingressive For Good and Google Developer Student Club Obafemi Awolowo University, have since become partners of DataCamp, and I’m happy to see so many people learning data science through my referrals.

I particularly enjoy using DataCamp because of its simplicity and the way lessons are broken down. I’ve come to more deeply understand libraries like pandas and Matplotlib. As of today, I'm taking my fifth course on DataCamp and I can say it’s been a great journey. The assessments are my favorite—they’re not too complex and they help me to be able to recollect and practice the lessons learned in a step-by-step approach.

I like to take the courses early in the morning before 6 AM because it allows me to use a lower-cost midnight data subscription to take these courses. One thing westerners might not realize about Nigeria and other countries in Africa is that Internet access is charged by the megabyte. That’s why it’s truly commendable that DataCamp addresses this additional hurdle by making its course videos and slides available to download for offline viewing. Combined with the fully-featured mobile app and their generous donation of thousands of subscriptions to disadvantaged communities, DataCamp is making it radically easier for citizens of developing nations to still attain world-class data science training, even when a computer and Internet access are out of reach.

DataCamp’s impact on my community has been huge, and I urge others to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. —Felix Ayoola

As a graphic designer, what really interests me about data science is that it's applicable in every field. In fact, I think everyone should learn the basics of data science regardless of your field or domain. Let me give a graphic design use case to demonstrate this: When I started designing, I taught myself, so I wasn't able to learn the basics first and instead simply used the tools I could find, like to remove pictures from backgrounds. Understanding data science has helped me to appreciate websites that match fonts, create color palettes, and other awesome graphic design tools that are powered by data science. To ease your way into data science, DataCamp’s Understanding Data Science course is a great place to start.

I'm really interested in how to use data science to create plots for graphic design, saving Matplotlib figures in .svg format enables editing with vector softwares like Adobe Illustrator or Figma. I'm transitioning into product design and in the process, I’ve seen how data is used to create products that solve problems, like Netflix’s recommendation engine. Data science is a powerful tool to create amazing graphics, and there’s a ton of opportunity to leverage data science to maximize profit and impact.

Using my skills learned on DataCamp, I wrote a Twitter thread on How to become a Data Analyst, Data Scientist or Machine Learning Engineer before the end of 2020. DataCamp’s impact on my community has been huge, and I urge others to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Thank you, DataCamp!

If you know of a nonprofit organization that could take advantage of free subscriptions to DataCamp, please reach out to [email protected].

Felix helped 1,500+ Nigerians get free access to DataCamp. He is a fourth-year chemical engineering student at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria who wants to build products that leverage data science and product design to solve social and business issues. He is deeply interested in helping people get into the tech ecosystem and connecting them with resources. You can find him across social media platforms @ayoolafelix.


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