Erika Nitsch, Senior Data Science Manager
How would you describe your role as Senior Data Science Manager at FARFETCH?
In some ways, my job is like running a summer camp for data scientists and data analysts. I love coming up with the processes and structures that people need to thrive in their everyday job. I also get to create opportunities to bring everyone together to share their skills – we recently held an internal virtual conference for all 70+ of our data scientists.
We have all of these amazing challenges to solve, and lots of data that needs analysing. It’s my job to help my teams tackle these problems by collaborating with colleagues around the business so that we can come together to do what’s never been done.
What role and impact does data science have in the business?
Our data scientists use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to automate decision making across all areas of the business. From deciding what products to show customers on our website, to forecasting our sales performance or quality checking our photography, data science is truly everywhere.
What advice would you give to aspiring data analysts and scientists?
If you are interested in data science or data analytics my biggest piece of advice is that there are many types of jobs in this field and lots of possible routes to entry. I work with people from all sorts of backgrounds, and I myself was trained as an archaeologist.
So, if you love working with data, don’t count yourself out just because you feel like you don’t have a PhD in Machine Learning. We need people who can think critically and scientifically about data, and our many different roles require a diverse set of skills.
Yasemin Kural, Head of Data Architecture
How would you describe your role as Head of Data Architecture at FARFETCH?
It is very exciting, challenging, and fulfilling! FARFETCH is maturing as an organisation but at the same time continuing to grow fast. In every decision, I try to keep in mind the business vision and strike the right balance between the tactical and strategic moves.
Collaborating with many different teams adds a lot of interest to our role, and having the trust of our leaders gives our team the confidence to do the right thing to the best of our abilities.
What skills, both hard and soft, do you look for in junior data architects?
This is a role you’d move into after gaining experience in different, ideally multiple other data roles in areas like data warehousing, data governance, data quality, master data management, and data modelling.
As for skills, I’d say an inquisitive mind with a passion to learn, being a systems thinker with the ability to analyse and synthesise information, good oral and written communication/ storytelling skills, and ability to coordinate and influence other teams are the key ones.
What do you think the future of data architecture looks like?
The role of data architecture is being increasingly recognised in various industries as an enabler and driver of innovation as well as data governance. As we move to more distributed and self-service architectures, establishing shared understanding of data models and flows will become more and more important and data architecture teams will be key contributors to the execution of business and data strategy across all parts of an organisation.
Nour Saab, Head of Product Design
How would you describe your role as Head of Product Design at FARFETCH?
I really love the cross-functional part of my role, working with so many disciplines collaboratively and learning from their ways of working and their ways of solving problems. The magic happens when we all get together and bring the best of what each function has to offer. In my role, I try to find a balance between thinking further out in the future when it comes to the strategic direction we’re heading towards, and the incremental step by step gains that can help us get there.
Throughout the whole process, we tend to champion the customer perspective first and foremost, whilst thinking about the experience holistically across the end to end journey. Research plays a big part in our work, not only from a qualitative customer perspective but from a quantitative data perspective too. This is important to get a strong, all encompassing grasp and understanding of the problem or opportunity space, which is instrumental in informing the exploration of solutions and identifying the winning formula through a ‘test and learn’ process.
What’s an average day like for you?
As part of the leadership team in my domain, I often attend a lot of meetings that help me connect the dots between our long term strategy and our short term goals, highlighting critical areas that need to be taken on board and/or helping steer the direction of travel in our work as a team.
I regularly have catch ups with the Design Manager in my team to have a high level view of what is happening in our design team and making sure we are attending to all the planned initiatives in our roadmap. New things are always on the menu at FARFETCH, which keeps us all on our toes in a good and challenging way.
How would you describe the professional development opportunities at FARFETCH?
One of the things I personally really appreciate about FARFETCH is that it offers the opportunity to people to forge their own career paths. I always found an openness and an invitation in the Design leadership to explore untapped yet needed opportunities that need to be taken forward.
This is out there to grab for anyone who is proactive about the gaps they might identify while on the job. FARFETCH nurtures a strong culture anchored in learning and personal development which is really valuable.