Three flavors of data scientist

As the field grows and needs develop throughout companies, specialization in data science is a natural next step. Elena Grewal, head of data science at Airbnb, describes their three main tracks and further specialization within each.

We decided to restructure data science along three tracks. These described what we were looking for and are areas we want to attract talent.

The Analytics track is ideal for those who are skilled at asking a great question, exploring cuts of the data in a revealing way, automating analysis through dashboards and visualizations, and driving changes in the business as a result of recommendations. The Algorithms track would be the home for those with expertise in machine learning, passionate about creating business value by infusing data in our product and processes. And the Inference track would be perfect for our statisticians, economists, and social scientists using statistics to improve our decision making and measure the impact of our work.

Sounds about right.

I’m curious what statistics and data science look like ten or twenty years from now. As each becomes more like the other, do the two fields converge into one, or do they collide and differentiate themselves as much as possible? I guess the former.