Datacast Episode 6: Data Science in the Travel Industry with Ewan Nicolson

I’m creating a new podcast about data science called Datacast! The 6th episode is my conversation with Ewan Nicolson, a senior data scientist at Skyscanner — a global travel brand. Listen to learn about the intersection between marketing and data, how Skyscanner recommends travel itinerary to its users, important signals to look for in a data-centric company, and the tech ecosystem in Edinburgh.

Guest Bio

Ewan has been working professionally with numbers and computers for the past 13 years. During the past 6 years at Skyscanner, he has seen the data team grow from 2 analysts based in Edinburgh to a global team of 25+ data scientists making a global impact.


Show Notes

  • (2:00) Ewan recalled his undergraduate days at the University of Edinburgh studying Physics.

  • (2:43) Ewan talked about his first job out of school as a Seismic Acquisition Specialist at ION Geophysical.

  • (5:28) Ewan briefly skimmed through his next job as a Senior Research Executive in Marketing Science at BBC.

  • (7:40) Ewan gave some key insights on the intersection between marketing and data.

  • (10:15) Ewan introduced Skyscanner and the interesting data problem that he is helping to solve.

  • (12:39) Ewan went over a couple of major data science use cases at Skyscanner.

  • (18:05) Ewan discussed how Skyscanner builds its travel recommendation system.

  • (23:40) Ewan emphasized the importance of doing A/B testing experiments at Skyscanner.

  • (27:58) Ewan talked about the differences in doing experimentation on both Skyscanner’s web app and the mobile app.

  • (29:31) Ewan gave a long answer on how a data scientist can effectively communicate the results to others in an organization.

  • (33:07) Ewan gave his two cents on possible ways a data science team can be situated in a company.

  • (36:40) Ewan shared the 3 most important software engineering skillsthat a data scientist can develop.

  • (38:25) Ewan stressed the importance of learning SQL.

  • (40:25) Ewan mentioned the important signals to look for in a data-centric company.

  • (43:01) Ewan shared more information about the data science and tech ecosystem in Scotland.

  • (45:40) Ewan gave advice for aspiring data scientists who want to succeed during a data science interview.

  • (49:45) Ewan gave advice for business executives who want to bring data talents into their organizations.

  • (51:00) Closing segments.

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