Flipkart doubles data sciences team; looking to upskill, hire more

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on April 08, 2019 Published on April 08, 2019

Mayur Datar, Chief Data Scientist, Flipkart

India’s largest e-tailer, Flipkart, has doubled the size of its data sciences team over the last 12 months and is looking to aggressively ramp it up further.

To do this, the e-tailer is not only looking at external hires, but is also upskilling its internal team with a blended learning model.

“Our data sciences team works primarily out of Bengaluru and we have a 45-50 member team here. We also have another 200 data analysts. We are looking to grow this team very aggressively in the future,” Mayur Datar, Chief Data Scientist, Flipkart, told BusinessLine.

Stating that the firm is working on a strategy to address the issue of talent shortage, he said: “Since data sciences is a new area, we are focussing on upskilling the internal team with courses in AI and ML via a blended learning model; this includes both internally-developed and external courses.”

“It will take 80-100 hours of learning to bring them up to speed, and that is an investment we are more than willing to make. We are encouraging all our engineers and product managers to go through these courses,” he said.

Flipkart’s Bengaluru-based data sciences team is augmented by a team in Palo Alto, California, opened in mid-2016. It also has an extended R&D arm in Israel, as a result of its acquisition of Israel-based, data analytics firm, Upstream Commerce, last September.

“We have about 4-6 people in Palo Alto ” said Datar.

Gaining skills

As the demand for data scientists outpaces the supply, IT professionals from all backgrounds are working towards gaining skills such as data mining, AI and ML.

They are also looking to learn distributed computing, integrating data, and statistical research techniques.

“Eighty per cent of the software being built in the next five years will depend heavily on AI and ML. However, just 1-2 per cent of our 3.5 million IT professionals in India are reasonably familiar with it,” said Santanu Paul, CEO of TalentSprint.

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Published on April 08, 2019
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