There’s a big shortage of data scientists — Here’s how Boston’s DataRobot plans to close the gap

by Justine Hofherr
March 28, 2017

People who can analyze and manage big, unstructured data are in hot demand at companies spanning virtually every sector, but even the thousands of new data science grads entering the job market each year aren’t expected to fill the growing gap any time soon.

That’s where DataRobot comes in.

The Boston-based company offers a machine learning platform for data scientists of all skill levels to build and deploy accurate, predictive models in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Chief Operating Officer Chris Devaney (pictured right) said by using DataRobot’s platform, clients ranging from Major League Baseball to large insurance companies can rapidly process and compare thousands of combinations of open source algorithms to find the best model for their data set and prediction target, cutting down the process from several months to mere minutes.

With healthcare, for example, DataRobot can identify future patients even before they get sick. DataRobot does this by generating predictive models using patients’ data to help locate at-risk populations.

This allows healthcare providers to target their marketing efforts for a better response rate and take preemptive action caring for patients with a higher likelihood of a particular disease.

If DataRobot’s platform sounds smart, that’s because it was founded by some of the top data scientists in the world.

“DataRobot was built on the premise that data scientists were always doing a lot of tasks very repetitively, using algorithms to make a prediction,” Devaney said. “They would go through the best practices till they got to an algorithm that seemed accurate enough to solve a problem. Our founders believed this was not a sustainable model.”

Today, DataRobot’s platform is used in industries ranging from banking and healthcare, to insurance, energy, fintech and more.

As Devaney pointed out, all companies generate data, and every business would probably benefit from using that data to make better predictions.

This March, DataRobot raised a whopping $54 million in funding, which it will use to double the size of its research and development and to expand its global footprint to support its growing host of international customers.

DataRobot’s team sits around 150 employees worldwide, which it plans on doubling by the end of the year.

The primary hiring focus? Unsurprisingly, data science and engineering.

Devaney said aspiring data scientists would appreciate DataRobot’s “different” culture, which he attributes in part to the company being headquartered in Boston rather than Silicon Valley.

“What we see in Silicon Valley is that people go from job to job and we’re trying to create a culture where people want to stay,” Devaney said, mentioning the company's emphasis on continuous education and career development opportunities. “We attract people who want to be around some of the best at what they do.”

 

Photos via social media 

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