My First Year as a Data Scientist


Last month, DataXu’s Sunanda Koduvayur returned to Columbia University, where she recieved her data science certificate in 2014, to speak on a panel titled “My First Year as a Data Scientist.” Now working as a Data Scientist, Analytics and Innovation at DataXu, we wanted to share an excerpt of a Q&A Columbia’s Data Science Institute published with Sunanda so you can see what a day in the life of a data scientist here at DataXu looks like.

 Click through to see Sunanda’s full interview!

What does your average workday look like?

It ranges from pulling data from our data systems (Hadoop Distributed File System), cleaning and exploring the data, to applying predictive and statistical models to glean business insights from it. As a member of the innovation and analytics team, I get to explore further than the immediate business question at hand. We are constantly looking for hidden stories that can lead us to new solutions and offerings.

What was your hiring process like?

It was half technical, half culture. The technical part is usually a timed test. Most companies are tool agnostic. So while you should be familiar with a few of the in-market tools, be super strong in one. Also, have at least one cool project to discuss. Talk about the challenges you encountered, how you solved them and what excited you most.

Where do you see data science heading?

In the last year or so I’ve seen the field mature tremendously. Employers now require stronger programming skills of entry-level employees and greater attention is being paid to the questions that we ask of models to make sure we measure the right things. There is lots of opportunity for people who want to build data science teams and align the company’s goals with analytics.