December 2019: Applications to take part in this program are currently on hold as we try to clear our backlog. We will re-open applications in March 2020, and hope to work with you then.
RStudio’s instructor training and certification program helps people apply modern evidence-based teaching practices to teach data science using R and RStudio’s products, and helps people who need such training find the trainers they need. Candidates must be proficient in the technical skills and tools they wish to teach; they can demonstrate this when applying by pointing us at materials they have previously developed and/or sharing a link to a screencast they have made or a recording of a conference talk.
There are three steps to becoming certified:
Candidates must take part in a one-day training course on modern teaching methods. We offer this course several times a year both online and on site. (Anyone who is a certified Carpentries instructor and has taught at least one R workshop does not need to take this training course.)
After completing that course, candidates must complete a 90-minute exam on the material that includes preparing and delivering a 15-minute demonstration lesson.
Finally, in order to ensure that instructors are proficient with the technical content they will be teaching, they must complete a practical examination and deliver a demonstration for each subject they wish to be certified in.
Instructors must certify on a per-topic basis, just as pilots obtain ratings for different kinds of aircraft. We currently offer certification on the tidyverse and Shiny; other subjects will be rolled out before the end of 2019. Once certified, instructors are added to our web site and are eligible for free teaching licenses to RStudio professional on-premises and cloud products for use in their training.
The training course costs $500, and each examination costs an additional $500; anyone who does not pass an exam can re-try once at a later date. Applicants from emerging economies may request a reduced fee of $100 for the course and for each exam, and a small number of waivers will be provided on a case-by-case basis for those in special circumstances.
Our most frequently asked questions; please email us if you have others.
How much demand is there for training in R?
Lots, and it seems to be steadily increasing.
Will the training course teach me R, the tidyverse, or Shiny?
No: we expect that people will have mastered the tidyverse and Shiny before becoming trainers.
How much statistical knowledge do trainers need?
If you understand linear regression and can explain what a $p$ value is (and what’s wrong with relying on them), you probably know everything you need to teach an introduction to the tidyverse.
How much programming knowledge do trainers need?
If you can write functions, vectorize loops, and work with nested lists and regular expressions, you probably know everything you need. (Note that you do not need to use non-standard evaluation or create packages for the tidyverse exam; we may add a more advanced certification in 2020 that includes these topics.)
What is the schedule for instructor training classes?
We ran 3-4 events each quarter in 2019, and tried to schedule them at times that were convenient for participants. In 2020 we are running 2-3 events each quarter, scheduled to give people in all timezones a chance to take part.
Is the training course offered in person, online, or both?
Most events are run online for groups of 6-16 people. Each class is two sessions of 4-5 hours each on two successive days.
When and how do candidates take exams?
After completing the course, people can book an individual 90-minute slot for each exam and complete it online. We strongly encourage people to complete exams within 90 days of the course.
Is there a fixed syllabus or curriculum to teach?
No: we think that “Mastering the Tidyverse”, our primers, and other lessons are effective lessons, but our trainers speak to such a wide variety of audiences, in so many different parts of the world, that we rely on them to decide what’s best to teach.
Does RStudio help connect trainers with people who want training?
Yes. We stay out of contract negotiations, but whenever we get a request for training, we direct people to the trainers directory.
How much do certified trainers usually charge for training?
Like lesson content, that varies widely from place to place and from audience to audience. That said, you can get an idea of what people charge for training by looking at the prices for workshops at conferences, multiplying by the number of participants, and subtracting 20-50% for overheads.
Can we teach in other languages?
Is the training offered in other languages?
Not yet, but participants may be allowed to do the teaching exam in a language other than English: please contact us if you would like more information.
Is this training only for people in industry?
No: many of our certified instructors work in academia, and have become certified in order to advance their careers there.
What are the benefits for someone who isn’t a freelancer?
Almost half of our certified trainers teach on behalf of their employer; they find the training useful because it helps them collaborate with their peers more effectively.
What’s the best way to connect to other trainers?
All certified trainers are invited to join a private Slack channel, and we have bimonthly webinars where they can discuss new software releases and compare notes on their own work.
Is some sort of certificate provided upon completion?
We can produce a one-page PDF certificate for printing and framing if desired.
What is the relationship with Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry?
Our instructor training program draws inspiration and material from the one developed by the Carpentries (the umbrella organization that includes Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry). In recognition of this, anyone who is a certified Carpentries instructor and has taught at least one R workshop for them does not need to take RStudio’s instructor training course. However, we still require people to complete the teaching and technical exams.
How do fee waivers work?
The course and each exam are offered at three price points: US$500, US$100, and free. The first is the default; we routinely offer the second to people in lower-income countries, and will waive the fee entirely in some circumstances. (For example, our summer interns were offered the course at no charge.) If you would like a fee reduction or waiver, please indicate that when you apply for training.
How does this relate to becoming a certified RStudio administrator?
The two programs are separate: RStudio admins may or may not teach, and becoming one is intimately connected with become a full service certified partner.
Are there sample exams so that we can see what they will cover?
Yes: please see this blog post.
What does the teaching exam cover?
The slides for the teaching exam are available online under a Creative Commons license, and this book has more material for those who want a deeper dive. The exam itself is 90 minutes long, during which you will teach a 15-minute demonstration lesson you have developed and then answer questions based on the material linked above.
What does the tidyverse exam cover?
What does the Shiny exam cover?
We don’t yet have an authoritative reference for the Shiny exam (though we hope that Mastering Shiny will eventually serve that purpose). If you can build dashboards, debug common problems, and explain how reactives work, you’ll be fine.
Does RStudio fund the development of curriculum or workshops?
No, but we encourage instructors to share material and experiences with each other, and we maintain a list of teaching materials that we hope will help people get started.