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Datacamp, Machine Learning, Online Courses

Employee Spotlight: Building and Iterating on DataCamp’s Products

Q&A with Sue Lai, VP of Product at DataCamp

What was your journey to joining DataCamp?

I started off my career as a Software Engineer, got my MBA and dabbled in Investment Banking before transitioning into Product Management at an advertising technology company. As much as I loved solving complex problems for large media publishers with software solutions, I was looking for a change after six years in the industry.

DataCamp really stood out to me because of (1) its meaningful mission of democratizing data fluency, (2) its B2B and B2C business lines, and (3) the team was fantastic and the company was at a pivotal stage of its growth. I knew that I would learn a ton while building a solution that directly benefits our learners’ lives.

I joined DataCamp in 2018 and it’s been everything I’d expected and more. I’d make the same decision again today in a heartbeat.

Describe your current team. What do you find most interesting about your role?

The Product team at DataCamp consists of inclusive, talented, team-oriented people who are truly passionate about our mission and constantly think about solutions to our users’ problems. I learn so much from them everyday and I love that we are in the middle of an amazing opportunity that we’re primed to seize.

How has your career grown since joining DataCamp?

DataCamp embraces transparency and radical candor, which helps to surface wrong assumptions or issues very quickly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a junior employee or a senior executive—anyone is invited to question decisions in order to ensure we’re coming up with the best solutions with the information we have. This in turn helps everyone to learn fast and iterate as needed. I’ve personally grown a lot as a Product leader from discussions resulting from our flat organization.

Also, given the rate of DataCamp’s growth, I’ve had to make decisions and experience situations that I hadn’t experienced before. I sometimes feel that my growth at DataCamp in one year is equivalent to spending three years at another company.

What are you most excited for in 2020?

Seeing the realization of exciting initiatives, like Skill Gap Analysis to guide organizations toward company-wide data fluency and Unguided Projects where learners can get more real-world experience solving meaty, open-ended business problems from scratch.

What do you like best about working for DataCamp?

The people. We pride ourselves in hiring great people—it’s truly the highest talent + passion per capita I’ve experienced. Everyone cares so much and isn’t afraid to raise difficult questions about whether we’re making the right decision as a team and as a company. The accelerated learning from these discussions has pushed me to become a better Product Leader. Plus, people here are fun and interesting—whether it’s just a casual lunch with a coworker or a team event, I always look forward to them!

What are your favorite DataCamp cultural values and why?

Care for DataCampers and Putting the Team first.

Time and time again, I witness teams putting what’s best for the company/team first over self-interests because they care for their teammates and for where we’re headed together as a company. I love that and it’s this mentality that makes us different from the rest.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

The summer before I started college, I sold massage chairs to shoppers at a local mall. It was mostly commission-based and people don’t generally go to a mall looking to come home with an expensive massage chair. I learned early on that outbound sales is not easy and I’ve had a lot of empathy for Sales teams thanks to that experience!

Anything else you’d like to share with our learners?

DataCamp was founded on the epicenter of active learning by doing. Our unique, hands-on methodology of Assess-Learn-Practice-Apply makes us truly the best place to upskill in data fluency. In this increasingly data-oriented world, you don’t have to be on a Data Scientist track to benefit from what we offer.

Would you like to join Sue at DataCamp? We’re currently hiring in New York; London; Leuven, Belgium; and remote locations. Check out our open roles.

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