If you go to Google Trend and check for trends in the words “Data Scientist”, you will find a massive increase from 10 years ago until now…
Surely this is no surprise for many of those reading this post. Data science is trendy and most companies are desperate to get hold of those precious individuals who are data scientists.
At Hastings Direct we have a great Data Science team within the retail area of the business – the team focuses on innovating in the uses of data to improve our pricing strategies to drive business and enable our customers to get the best possible price for Car and Home insurance.
Jose (A.K.A. “Spaniard”) is one of our Data Scientists in a team of ten (and growing!). One of his passions is sport and he has brought that passion to the team!
So, why Spaniard?
The simplest reason is that I am Spanish, but it is true that one of my favourite films is Gladiator, so mixing both makes it an easy pick for a second name!
Can you tell us a bit about your work you do here at Hastings Direct?
My work is great as I get the chance to work in many different initiatives. As part of my core work, I help the team to keep predictive models up to date to ensure any market dynamics or customer behaviour changes are captured. This year, in addition, i have moved into shipping new data models or data initiatives to production including leading data visualisation within the team. I have also developed an automated framework to monitor our models and KPIs. On top of that, I have also been involved in adding geospatial analysis to our models and working with IT to understand how these different ideas can be put into live production.
Machine learning, big data, Hadoop, AI, etc. we all know the buzzwords. How does it feel working with these technologies on a daily basis?
It’s awesome! I have been involved in modelling using different machine learning techniques like GBMs, random forests and different kind of decision trees, and most importantly, seeing the great positive impact they have had compared to previous statistical modelling techniques. Hadoop is also a super interesting world. I am personally not involved in the architectural design and implementation of our Hadoop infrastructure, but having a new cutting edge technology at our disposal where we can start using different added blocks like Spark and Hive is incredible.
Professional and personal development is part of Hastings Direct culture. What do you think about it and how it affects you?
It is absolutely true that development in Hastings Direct is key. In our Data Science and Pricing team we take this even to another level, for example, we have licenses to freely use tools like Datacamp or Pluralsight for technical training. If you are interesting in other courses, be those online or not, the team also tries to help with funding. We also have a policy of trying to set aside some time for learning, hoping that anything interesting we discover can be directly implemented to our day to day work. There are also many internal courses to develop non-technical skills, which are great to grow professionally.
To end, can you tell us what non work related element you enjoy most Hastings Direct
The best part of every week, speaking about not-directly-related-to-work-things, is Friday lunchtime. And not just because we go out for lunch but because I run a bootcamp session with my colleagues in our London office and anyone else who wants to join. It’s a great way to get together as a team at the end of the week, take an hour out of work and eliminate that stress through exercise.
The Data Science team is expanding, if you would like to find out more please visit our current vacancies https://www.hastingsdirectcareers.com/find-job/search-our-jobs?dept=Retail+Pricing+and+Data+Science
The shifts in customer service teams are quite colleague friendly. There is free tea and coffee in the call centre, and a subsidised Costa Coffee and canteen. There are lots of incentives to earn more, and a decent social life.
It has a really positive environment with everyone who works there being very helpful. The managers really do go out of their way to assist you. There are a lot of benefits and rewards at Hastings Direct which if you are doing well are quite easy to achieve.
There is a well-rounded approach to the wellbeing of all colleagues, including an inclusive approach to wellbeing activities. Hastings Direct aims to roundly develop colleagues and set them up for future careers within the company.
There is a wonderful work environment, with a strong sense of team work which purveys throughout the business. And there is a sense of friendly competition which works to heighten this.
As an employer, Hastings Direct offers a lot of company benefits to all employees which are fantastic and I feel this is quite unique. The company culture is inclusive and encourages everyone to participate in local causes.
All employees are well looked after, respected and recognised for the hard work we do for the company. It is a great experience to be working with such amazing team. It much easier for me to balance my work and personal life.
It’s a great place to work with amazing benefits, support and colleagues. Lots of hands on support. Amazing rewards for achieving targets and also plenty of time to get together as a team outside of work and bond with your colleagues.
The company culture, management structure and general atmosphere is really good. The share scheme and Hastings Direct rewards are also fantastic for staff.