In a world that is largely driven by digital technology, there is little that has been left untouched by Gojek. Making a modest beginning as a nondescript call center, this Indonesia-based company today is developing products that help millions of people commute, shop, eat, pay, and do a dozen other things daily.
Small wonder that data scientists in this company have the potential to solve a myriad of problems anchored around information retrieval, consumer and driver behaviour, and so much more.
Adds Pradeep Desu, SVP and Global Head of Recruiting at Gojek, “The data science team here is responsible for creating the data infrastructure for all of its 20+ products.”
Data Scientists For Hire
It is self-evident then that data scientists are always in demand at the company, a fact attested to by Desu himself.
“We are on a constant lookout for full-stack data scientists at Gojek,” he says. “In fact, given the company’s scale, size and complexity, we even find it challenging sometimes to hire the right candidates with relevant experience,” he adds.
But what does the company look for in data science candidates?
Desu sums it up: “Candidates should be able to identify and formulate a problem, and develop and deploy models to production,” he says. “We also give high prominence to candidates with code readability, and the ability to continually improve metrics,” he adds.
Skills Over Education?
Although candidates from top colleges are given preference, it is not a prerequisite for data science jobs at Gojek.
“Good educational background is an indicator of hard work and rigour,” feels Desu. “[But] we [also] consider passionate self-thought candidates and value relevant certifications that showcase their grasp on the subject,” he adds.
The company considers candidates with experience in machine learning (ML), statistics, natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, reinforcement learning, and computer vision.
“Apart from technical skills, we also assess the candidates’ potential to work in a team, their leadership skills, and whether or not they will make a good cultural fit,” says Desu. “[But] what truly matters is the applicants’ ability to solve real-world problems,” he adds.
Hiring For Data Scientists At Gojek
The company takes a process-oriented approach when recruiting for this position.
First, the candidates are expected to make a 60-minute presentation to a Gojek interview panel. This also gives them the opportunity to talk about their past work and do a deep-dive on one or more of their projects.
This is followed by a Q&A session.
The next stage in the entire interview process is marked by one-on-one interviews with different teams to assess their data science fundamentals, problem-solving skills, capacity to manage stakeholders, a keen sense of business understanding, and the ability to build real-world machine learning models, among others.
“For this, we put together a customized set of questions depending on the experience and specialization of the candidate interviewed,” says Desu. “In the past, we have made the mistake of defining the parameters by which we eliminate candidates, but not clearly outlining the competencies that would lead to us selecting them. We have since changed that approach,” he adds.
According to him, data scientists at Gojek are encouraged to publish blogs, file patents and attend international conferences. The company, by itself, also hosts hackathons and meetups throughout the year, which has also emerged as one of the key mediums by which the company anchors its hiring activity around.
“Such gatherings allow us to connect with the vast pool of talent, and potentially hire some of the premium tech talents,” says Desu.
Additionally, the company also relies on conference websites – like ICML, NIPS, KDD, SIGKDD, etc – and reaching out to authors of research papers.
“We [also] source candidates by company mapping and matching target specific projects when it comes to domain-specific roles like Search, Payment, Risk and Fraud,” he adds.
Data Scientists At Gojek
The company boasts of an eclectic mix of people as part of their data science teams. This includes robotics enthusiasts who are part-time scuba divers, graduates from top universities, as well as some of the top data scientists in India, including Mathangi Sri.
Sri leads the data team at GoFood – the food delivery vertical of Gojek. Having operated in the data science landscape for 15 years, she has left behind an impressive trail of work in top companies including PhoneP and Citibank India.
The company has consistently maintained a robust team of data scientists across the world.
“To ensure that new joinees have a smooth onboarding experience, we assign a mentor to them,” says Desu. “They are then introduced to their new teams, and get a detailed download of work done. We give them the time to understand the problem we are trying to solve and encourage them to start contributing towards solving it,” he adds.