William Whipple Neely

Data Scientists Are Analysts Are Also Software Engineers


I am a data scientist with broad experience in both industry and research. In the early 1990s I finished a doctorate in mathematics.  After teaching for a few years I moved into industry and specialized in developing software that brought research-based algorithms into industry.  In the process of my software work I met a few brilliant statisticians and became fascinated by the power of using probability models to explore the world.   Ten years later I decided to go back to graduate school and work on a Ph.D. in statistics.   After finishing the stats doctorate, I decided to dive back into industry and landed at PopCap Games in Seattle where I founded PopCap’s analytics team.  From PopCap I came to EA where I now lead the CMO/Data Science team in Redwood Shores.      


Data scientists and analysts write code, sometimes a lot of code, so we are also software developers as much as model builders and algorithm creators.  This talk is about the challenges a team of data scientists and analysts face when trying to scale their work, to make their work repeatable and testable.   I’ll talk about how our data science team is leveling-up their skills as software developers, the challenges we’ve faced and the strategies that are helping.     

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