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Make Data Work
Oct 15–17, 2014 • New York, NY

The Unit: Building Data Science Teams the Special Operations Way

Amy Gaskins (Panopticon)
4:10pm–4:30pm Wednesday, 10/15/2014
Data-Driven Business Day
Location: E 20/ E 21
Average rating: ***..
(3.67, 9 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Special operations units select and train members very differently from any other organization in the world. Candidates must be selected based on both skill and fit, but filling a team with rockstar type-As can be an easy recipe for failure. In fact, elite units often rely on a diverse set of skills and personalities to win the day. If you’re building a data science team, put down the Xbox controller and take a page from the real special ops playbook on how to pick the right mix.

Building Data Science Teams (not all teams are created equal):

  • The Mission: Determining Your Needs
  • The Unit: Core Members
  • Basic Training: Selection for Skill
  • Assessment: Selection for Fit
  • Stolen Valor: Weeding out the Wannabes
Photo of Amy Gaskins

Amy Gaskins


Amy Gaskins is an Assistant Vice President in MetLife’s Global Technology & Operations and currently serves as the principal subject matter expert for data analysis and business intelligence. As a member of the SWAT Team, MetLife’s internal IT consultancy, she explores data science applications for emerging technologies across multiple lines of business worldwide. Before joining MetLife, Amy spent over 10 years as a senior intelligence analyst supporting various agencies within the United States Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. She has served in both strategic and tactical roles, including deployments to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Her previous assignments include the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, the Office of Military Commissions – Defense, JFCC-ISR, U.S. Army INSCOM, and Defense HUMINT.