Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

How to build your data team: Lessons from unicorn hunting in the wild

Katie Kent (Galvanize)
11:30am–12:00pm Tuesday, 09/29/2015
Data 101
Location: 3D 05 / 08 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.80, 15 ratings)


It’s hard to hire and build a data science team. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and many others have gained massive competitive advantages in their markets by building incredibly talented data science teams — and have invested serious resources in figuring out how to recruit and retain them. Data scientists are proficient in a weird combination of skills: programming, math and statistics, business acumen, and — well, science.

This talk draws from original research into the team structure and hiring practices of the most interesting companies in the Bay Area and beyond, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Twitter, Tesla, Airbnb, Uber, Square, Coursera, The Phoenix Suns, etc — in total, Katie has conducted over 200 phone interviews with data science leads, hiring managers, CTOs, and recruiters.

This talk is presented by educational company Galvanize, and as such the talk has specific learning objectives. For the purposes of the talk, those are:

  • Understand when is the right time to hire a data scientist
  • Be able to explain how data science means different things to different people
  • Know which kind of data scientists to hire
  • Understand how to sell your company to a data scientist
  • Find resources for reliably interviewing data scientists
  • Garner a list of specific recommendations about where to find great ones
Photo of Katie Kent

Katie Kent


Katie Kent is the Product Manager for Galvanize Enterprise, the learning community for technology. In this role she builds executive and contributor training in software development, data science, and data engineering. Katie was part of the founding of data science training startup Zipfian Academy, where she was responsible for growth of the business from concept to acquisition. Previously Katie worked in venture capital, working with startups building data- and design-driven products. Katie’s academic background is in environmental social science research at the University of Michigan.