Where are they now? Matt Emery – MDS Vancouver Class of 2017
Matt Emery was part of the very first cohort of the MDS Vancouver program, graduating in 2017. Upon graduating, Emery soon landed a data scientist role with Imbellus eventually becoming a senior data scientist.
Since we last checked in with Emery, Imbellus was acquired by Roblox, a global platform bringing millions of people together through shared experiences, and is now a senior data scientist there.
Emery develops assessments that help Roblox identify and hire great talent.
“Roblox has a strong and growing data culture so I also contribute by helping key stakeholders answer questions about keeping talent growing and happy,” he said.
Since moving into a more senior role, Emery noted the difference he is seeing is the level of responsibility and ambiguity.
“When you are a senior data scientist, you are expected to be able to translate questions from business leaders into something that can be measured. This means that I spend a lot more time making sure I understand the business problem and a little time determining what statistical test I should run,” he explained.
Emery added that one of the biggest challenges when accepting a more senior role is that you should anticipate and be able to answer your client’s questions. “When you do not know the answer, you also need to be honest and formulate a way to answer them.”
Despite the challenges, Emery said that being in a senior role has given him a tremendous amount of autonomy.
“Some of my favorite days on the job are when someone has posed a very difficult technical challenge to me and I get to spend all day talking with colleagues and mapping out a solution on a whiteboard,” he explained.
There are many skills that Emery learned in MDS that he finds he uses on a daily basis in particular how to visualize data and communicate about it in a way that anyone can understand. While he doesn’t use it everyday, Emery found the skills learned during the “Experimentation and Causal Inference” course as something useful to have in his toolbox when he finds he needs it.
“Sometimes it’s not enough to just predict an outcome, you also have to figure out how to change it,” he said.
Since completing the MDS program back in 2017, Emery has been quite involved in the data science community, co-organizing several events in Vancouver such as the Learn Data Science community. One of the events that Emery likes to host are data science lightning talks, which are five-minute talks about anything data science related.
“I think that it's really important for a data scientist to always be learning. One of the great things about having a community that volunteers to share their knowledge is that you don't know what you don't know,” he added. “Sometimes all it takes is for a single person to mention a word you've never heard before, and that can take you down an entirely different path that may be helpful for you in the future.”