Tech Talk

Scaling a School: Bringing Data Science Curriculum to 20,000 Students – in the Cloud

Updated on October 7, 2020

Scaling a School: Bringing Data Science Curriculum to 20,000 Students – in the Cloud


About the Talk

Using Kubernetes, JupyterHub, and DigitalOcean, The Data Incubator – an immersive data science bootcamp and the leading training and placement organization in the world – was able to scale and offer their curriculum to an online class of 20,000 students in Subsaharan Africa – for free.

In this Tech Talk, Michael Li and Robert Schroll will speak about how The Data Incubator’s training success depends on an integrated Jupyter notebook-based learning management system. They will discuss some of the challenges in learning data science and their solutions. The talk will also feature a use case showing how they built a learning management system in the cloud using Docker and Kubernetes to dynamically provision interactive learning environments for students that allow dynamic code execution and integrate with live code examples. This has enabled them to scale their curriculum to tens of thousands of students in the developing world – simultaneously. The Data Incubator relies on DigitalOcean’s cloud infrastructure, which allows their team to focus on doing what they do best – delivering world-class data science education to students all over the world.

Darian Wilkin – a Solutions Architect at DigitalOcean – will discuss how the DigitalOcean products and services used have enabled The Data Incubator to scale up so quickly and easily.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to build an interactive data science curriculum
  • How to scale using Kubernetes and JupyterHub
  • How you can use DigitalOcean solutions to achieve the above

This Talk is Designed For

Anyone interested in education, innovative learning environments, data science, immersive bootcamps, Kubernetes, JupyterHub, and DigitalOcean.


Some familiarity with Kubernetes, Jupyter, or data science is helpful.

About the Presenters

Michael Li is the founder and president of The Data Incubator, a data science training and placement firm. Michael bootstrapped the company and guided it toward a successful sale to the Pragmatic Institute. Previously, he headed monetization data science at Foursquare and has worked at Google, Andreessen Horowitz, J.P. Morgan, and D.E. Shaw. He is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Wired, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Entrepreneur, VentureBeat, TechTarget, and O’Reilly. Michael was a postdoc at Cornell Tech, a PhD at Princeton University, and a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge. Follow the Data Incubator on Twitter, LinkedIn, and GitHub.

Robert Schroll is a Data Scientist in Residence at The Data Incubator and has been a key contributor to a variety of open source software development and data science projects. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in computational physics and his undergraduate degree from University of Maryland.

Darian Wilkin has been a DigitalOcean Solutions Engineer since May 2016. His contributions to the DigitalOcean Community can be found here. Darian plays a critical role in supporting DigitalOcean customers who are migrating their workloads and building their applications on DigitalOcean. He is also a key contributor to the DigitalOcean Technical Documentation team, spending a significant amount of time creating and refining tutorials – especially on Managed Databases.

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