A day in the life of a chief data scientist

Article by: Dr. Amjad Abu-Ramila, Chief Data Scientist at Data Science Group.

The era of artificial intelligence is already here and a larger number of companies want to adopt it in order to gain a competitive advantage. Whether it’s automation capabilities in the production line, forecasting trends in the field of fashion or abilities in predicting and diagnosing diseases in the field of medicine, artificial intelligence is there by and large and the fields it penetrates are only expanding. Therefore, it is not surprising that the demand for experts in the field is also increasing and data scientists have become in demand people.

As someone who has been in the field for nearly ten years, I chose to share a day in my life as a chief data scientist at the company I work for, in order to shed light on the style and culture of work and to explain, to anyone debating whether to enter the field, what it actually means to practice.

What do I do as a chief data scientist?

In the company where I work, we develop AI-based products and models for organizations from various industries. Among other things, we set up centers of excellence for organizations to help them embark on a journey into the AI ​​worlds. The company employs researchers and data scientists, some of them academics, who have long since published their doctoral dissertations and are now pursuing careers in the private sector.

I am responsible for a number of dozens of data scientists, who come from different backgrounds, including from the fields of mathematics, physics, statistics, software development and neuroscience, which are divided into project teams. My main challenge is to produce good communication and common language with each of these disciplines, combined, which on the one hand allows for problem solving and creativity during the project, but on the other hand leads to managerial complexity.

As part of my work I keep up to date with each of the teams regarding existing and future projects and products in development, plan and allocate the appropriate resources for each project, including manpower resources. This is a very accurate job, as the goal is to optimize resources and tailor the best mix of professionals to the various stages of the project. Beyond that, I trust the training and training programs of the staff and take part in the recruitment process of new employees. It is important for me to be involved in the process and to choose the people who will fit into the team in the best way and add a tier to the human fabric, both in knowledge and on a personal level.

During meetings with staff members, we hold discussions many times regarding issues that arise during the project. Sometimes these are hallway conversations that turn into in-depth discussions. We have an almost academic discourse on various topics, and come up with problem solving – mathematically, by changing the code or re-examining the overall approach.

I still write code, still do actual work “hands on”, and that’s what helps me get close to the staff and live their work. Many times I take on special challenges that can help my team. I believe the manager should not disconnect from day-to-day work, but continue to work with people and take on certain tasks to feel the terrain and challenges of employees.

A chief data scientist in a company that specializes in AI services is a challenging and diverse role, which has both teamwork and management work as well as actual professional work. I am very proud of the many projects led by my teams, which included research work, creativity, imagination and the ability to make decisions and solve smart problems. When AI projects are managed with multidisciplinary teams in an optimal mix, while integrating academic-level learning, an atmosphere of a variety of opinions and solutions is possible. It is important to encourage different thinking, not to do what everyone else does – only in this way can a new solution be reached that is significantly different from other solutions in the field. Even ideas that start with a hallway conversation can turn into an amazing product.

By Editor

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