Technology

Twitter Inc Creating Its First Data Science Team Outside The U.S.

Twitter is looking for a team of data scientists to be based in Singapore in its effort to create a data scientist team outside the U.S. The team will consist of five to ten people and will squarely concentrate on growing markets outside the U.S., Twitter’s Linus Lee told Mashable. Lee will be heading the team in Singapore.

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Data scientist team outside the U.S.

Around 80% of Twitter users are outside the U.S., so the micro-blogging giant wants a team to focus on them. Lee, who will be moving from the company’s San Francisco headquarters to Singapore, is a Singaporean. Lee left the island state 10 years ago for undergraduate studies at Stanford and was one of the early data science hires at the company four years ago.

Twitter’s data science steam has multiplied since the time he joined. The team encompasses a business-focused team which advises the finance side on trends and other teams within engineering. Lee has not specified the exact number of data scientists currently working with the micro-blogging giant.

Lee told Mashable that the data science team looks at the data, models it and makes recommendations so that the product team can test outcomes.

“Previously, emerging markets teams had to beg for data science support, but now they’ll have a dedicated resource (in Singapore),” he said.

Twitter’s new Singapore team will be focusing on user behavior in emerging markets, like how users with less capable devices and slower networks behave on the platform. For example, in India, users operate on 2.5G networks, which are far slower than the 4G networks that developed markets are accustomed to. Lee told the tech blog that Twitter’s app adjusts for slow connections by downgrading videos or images, based on the user bounce rates shown by the data.

What is Twitter looking for in data scientists?

Twitter’s job listing for the new Singaporean team is already up, and according to Lee, the social media platform is looking to hire both junior and senior analysts. Lee said age is not a factor, and what separates people is the ability to apply the (data) tools and techniques in the right way. He said it is important to understand the needs of the business and apply them. Lee explained that the micro-blogging giant needs independent thinkers because they need to suggest the features to their (Twitter’s) product people.

“We seek to understand different users,” Lee said.

For example, the most users in Japan choose to be anonymous, while people in the West prefer to keep their real identities on the platform. Further, Lee said the proportion of users outside the United States has been growing in the last four years, and one cannot just apply what one knows (about the U.S. user base) over here.