20+ Inspiring Data Scientists to Follow in 2020

As we decided to create a list of inspiring people to follow in data science, we asked for help from the data science community on LinkedIn and Twitter:

The response we received has been amazing: several members of the data science community shared the post and commented making nominations of those who inspired them along their journey.

We then opened a survey for the nominated data scientists to be featured in this article with some interesting facts about themselves.

The data scientists who contributed by answering the survey include data science conference speakers, contributors of top data science blogs, and Kaggle Grandmasters who have taken part in and won several Kaggle competitions.

We want to express a BIG Thank You to all them for sharing insights such as how they define their job in three words, their routines, and the books that helped them grow as data scientists.

Special thanks also to everybody who made nominations and helped by sharing our social media posts.

Please notice that this initiative is supported with advertising, you can find the full disclosure here.

Announcement: To all inspiring data scientists (on and off this list) who wish to get involved, these are some of our upcoming initiatives:
1. Join an Ongoing Expert Roundup: How to leverage AI & Data science to tackle Coronavirus, Trends in Data Science in 2020.
2. Be featured in the Data Science Interview Series.

Here is the list of 20+ Inspiring Data Scientists to Follow in 2020:


Dr Iain Brown

Head of Data Science, SAS – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: Bachelor, Master, PhD

Areas of Expertise: Big Data, Machine Learning, Risk

Conferences you speak at: IntelliSys, Gartner, AI Summit, DataSummit

Blogs you contribute to: https://blogs.sas.com/content/author/iainbrown/

Your job in 3 words: Insight from data

Currently working on: Explainable AI for Risk

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Provost & Fawcett (2013), Data Science for Business: What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking


Christopher Doyle

Director of Pricing and Analytics, Verizon – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: DataScience, Analytics, Pricing

Conferences you speak at: Association of National Advertisers Data and Measurement Conference 2016

Blogs you contribute to: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christophermichaeldoyle/

Your job in 3 words: Creating valuable learnings

Currently working on: Developing a disruptive pricing strategy for Verizon

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Machine Learning by Mitchell, Probability and Statistics by DeGroot, and Playing to Win (How Strategy Really Works) by Lafley

Hobby: Building robots in my workshop

Favorite animal: Poodle

Favorite food: maultaschen


Carla Gentry

Analytics, University of Central Florida (UCF) – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor

Areas of Expertise: Gleaning insight from mountains of data, SQL, Tableau, Social Media Marketing, Statistical concepts to solve business challenges, Advanced knowledge of data warehousing, Target Audience Analysis, Predictive modeling, forecasting, and data mining, Develop data strategy, analysis, objectives and business requirements, Build mathematical models to represent demand forecasting at various levels

Conferences you speak at: SAS, IBM, TDWI

Blogs you contribute to: KDnuggets, Data Science Central, Informs, Medium, Research Gate, Analytical-Solution, Analytics Bridge, Smart Data Collective, DZone, Analytics Insight, Computer Weekly, Information Week, Big Data Republic, Analytics Week, The Data Incubator, Analytics Vidhya

Your job in 3 words: Big Data Nerd

Currently working on: Working to make UFC the best college in the world!

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Women in Data by Shannon Cutt, Cornelia L√©vy-Bencheton Released February 2015 Publisher(s): O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Hobby: Golf

Favorite animal: Dog

Favorite food: Shrimp and grits

Morning routine: Sitting in front of a computer


Abhishek Thakur

Chief Data Scientist, boost.ai – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor, Master

Areas of Expertise: Natural Language Processing

Conferences you speak at: Kaggledays dubai and poland. Various pydata conferences. Invited talks in universities and meetups.

Kaggle competitions: Stumbleupon challenge, jigsaw toxic comment challenge. participated in over 150 competitons

Your job in 3 words: SOTA algorithms

Currently working on: Building the best Conversational AI

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Many good books but none in particular that I would like to mention.

Hobby: Coding, making YouTube videos, long drives

Favorite animal: Elephant

Favorite food: Chicken Nihari

Morning routine: Wake up. Code a bit and go to gym sometimes. Go to work. Come back and code some more. Repeat ūüôā


Kirk D Borne

Principal Data Scientist and Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor, Master, PhD

Areas of Expertise: Data Science, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Algorithms, AI, Data Management, Data Literacy, Data Strategy, Astrophysics

Conferences you speak at: ODSC, Data Natives Data Hack Summit, Data Summit, Big Data World, Clinical Analytics, Smart Electricity Summit, Big Data China, Oracle Code One, and hundreds more

Blogs you contribute to: http://rocketdatascience.org https://govloop.com/author/kirkdborne/ https://datamakespossible.westerndigital.com/tag/kirk-borne/ https://linkedin.com/in/kirkdborne/detail/recent-activity/posts/ https://mapr.com/blog/author/kirk-borne/ https://bit.ly/2NEXNZ7

Your job in 3 words: Data Science Luminary

Currently working on: Data Literacy and Data Strategy Training for All

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: These http://bit.ly/2TXs5vg and these http://bit.ly/2w30xvl

Hobby: Hiking

Favorite animal: Cat

Favorite food: Pizza

Morning routine: Twitter


Pierre Pinna

CEO, IPFC – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: Engineer

Areas of Expertise: BigData/Data Science Analytics eLearning AI Ethics MachineLearning DigitalMarketing

Conferences you speak at: t_bootcamp Tech Meeting Izmir 11/ 017 ICT2018 EU NowAtWork19 Paris Vivatech-Atos 2019

Blogs you contribute to: http://ipfconline.fr/blog

Your job in 3 words: CEO

Currently working on: Protecting the Danube River from pollution by combining autonomous amphibious robots with AI and Edge Computing to obtain predictive analytics for the substainability of the ecosystem.

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Python Data Science HandbookThe Elements of Statistical LearningMining of Massive Datasets

Hobby: Ping Pong

Favorite animal: Cat

Favorite food: Corsican cheese


Christian Guttmann

Global Head of AI and Data Science, Vice President, , www.tietoevry.com – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: Bachelor, Master, PhD, Professor

Areas of Expertise: Machine Learning, AI, Natural Language Understanding

Conferences you speak at: Cebit, MWC, Data Innovation Summit, Rise of AI, and about 100 more

Blogs you contribute to: Many, eg https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/overview-artificial-intelligence-ethics-regulations-guttmann

Kaggle competitions: My team competes, I can provide more info upon request

Your job in 3 words: Entrepreneur Leadership AI

Currently working on: 20 customers in manufacturing iot, healthcare and smart cities

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: AI – A modern Approach, Machine Learning

Hobby: Surfing

Favorite animal: Koala

Favorite food: Pho

Morning routine: Strong coffee


Ed Wiley

VP of Data & Machine Learning, Nurx – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: PhD

Areas of Expertise: Executive leadership, team building, recruiting, retention, and organizational models for implementing Machine Learning, Data Science, and AI

Conferences you speak at: Data Science Leaders Network; 4×24 Executive Leadership Conference on Big Data/Analytics; Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluaci√≥n de la Educaci√≥n (Colombian national conference on analytical methods)

Blogs you contribute to: Medium & LinkedIn channels/groups on data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning

Your job in 3 words: Machine Learning Evangelist

Currently working on: Main project is writing a book due out in Q3 2020: “AI: From Buzzword to Business Function. Integrating Today‚Äôs Most Promising Technology into the Enterprise”. For Nurx I am advancing machine learning initiatives to help reinvent healthcare. I also maintain advisory positions with several startups.

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: I studied with Efron, Hastie & Friedman, so “Elements of Statistical Learning” and “Introduction to the Bootstrap” were seminal. “Applied Predictive Modeling” and “Bayesian Reasoning and Machine Learning” were also very helpful.

Hobby: Running (ultramarathons)

Favorite animal: Cow (I was raised in small town Nebraska!)

Favorite food: I make much of my own food, relying heavily on chickpeas and lentils. Maybe it doesn’t sound super appetizing, but you can do a lot with chickpeas and lentils!!

Morning routine: Get going early with a smoothie and a cup of green tea, then knock out the day’s ultra training before getting into work


Rohan Rao

Data Scientist, H2O.ai – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: Machine Learning, Data Science, Python, R, Data Analytics, Spark, Data Engineering

Conferences you speak at: DataHackSummit 2017, 2018, 2019

Blogs you contribute to: My own Medium and H2O’s blog

Kaggle competitions: ASHRAE, Bosch, Santander, Molecular Properties

Your job in 3 words: Everything Data Science

Currently working on: Recommendation Engines

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Books are outdated

Hobby: Sudoku, Puzzles, Poker, Crypto

Favorite animal: Elephant

Favorite food: Wife’s home-cooked meals

Morning routine: 15-mins yoga, 30-mins sudoku, breakfast and then begin work ūüôā


Jennifer Stirrup

Data Whisperer, Data Relish – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master, MBA Candidate

Areas of Expertise: R; data strategy, data science; SQL; Artificial Intelligence; DataOps; analytics translator; international keynote speaker; data storage; analytics; big data; data preparation; data modelling; enterprise architecture; agile project management; CEO level discussions and advisory consulting; business strategy; business intelligence; statistics; Jupyter notebook; Python

Conferences you speak at: Microsoft Ignite; Microsoft Build; ODSC; Women in Data Science; AI World Congress; SQLBits; BOECK; BIMA; University of Michigan Data Science Institute (MIDAS) guest speaker; DataKind Data Ambassador; Cloudera podcast hostess; EM360 podcast hostess and guest; Data Skeptic podcast guest; RunAsRadio podcast guest; Teens in AI Mentor and Speaker; UCL Data Science keynote speaker; European SharePoint Conference ESPC keynote speaker; Data Platform Geeks India; University of Washington Postgraduate Course Board Advisor; University of Hertfordshire Business School guest speaker; SatRDay keynote speaker; SQLSaturday keynote and session speaker

Blogs you contribute to: jenstirrup.com

Your job in 3 words: Making Data Work

Currently working on: Data Strategy for a major organisation with 30K people.

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Practical Data Science with R, Hands-On Machine Learning with Azure

Hobby: I am owned by two cute dogs

Favorite animal: My two dogs

Favorite food: Starbucks Chai Latte

Morning routine: Start work as early as possible after a long dog walk

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Lisa-Christina Winter

Senior Product Researcher , Chatroulette – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: PhD

Areas of Expertise: Statistics, Research, Growth Hacking, UX

Conferences you speak at: Digital economics forum 2020 (in May 2020), global data summit 2019, data natives

Blogs you contribute to: Humans of analytics

Your job in 3 words: Make products great

Currently working on: Making chatroulette great

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Multivariate analysis

Hobby: Music, psychology

Favorite animal: Tapir

Favorite food: Spaghetti napoli

Morning routine: Coffee, coffee, coffee


Ganna Pogrebna

Head of Behavioural Data Science, The Alan Turing Institute – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: PhD

Areas of Expertise: Behavioural Data Science, Cybersecurity, Human-Computer and Human-Data Interaction

Conferences you speak at: AI UK, CogX, Data Science in Media, etc.

Blogs you contribute to: https://www.cyberbitsetc.org/; https://www.turing.ac.uk/research/research-programmes/finance-and-economics/behavioural-data-science; https://www.inclusionai.org/

Your job in 3 words: 3Ls: listen, learn, lead

Currently working on: Anthropomorphic learning models – hybrid models between behavioural science and machine learning

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Mostly non-data science books: Stephen Hawking “The Brief History of Time“; Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon “Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker“; Kevin Patrick Murphy “Machine Learning: A Probabilistic Perspective (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning series)”

Hobby: Photography and amateur filmmaking

Favorite animal: cheetah

Favorite food: avocado

Morning routine: I am not a morning person:) but I do wake up early.


Dan Becker

CEO, Decision AI – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: PhD

Areas of Expertise: Machine learning, deep learning, econometrics, statistics, bayesian modeling, being practical

Blogs you contribute to: Towards Data Science

Kaggle competitions: Heritage Health Prize (2nd place). Haven’t actively competed in years

Your job in 3 words: Make DS Useful

Currently working on: I am building the company Decision AI, which lets businesses connect multiple conventional (narrow) machine learning models into a larger simulator so they can test their decisions in the simulator and use optimized decisions in practice.

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Bayesian Methods for Hackers, The Elements of Statistical Learning

Hobby: Tennis, skiing, mountain biking

Favorite animal: Birds (I think flying would be really enjoyable)

Favorite food: Any type of Thai food

Morning routine: I wake up early (around 5:30) most mornings, catch up on email, and play with my kids when they wake up.


Rayssa K√ľllian

Science Manager, Amazon – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: NLP

Conferences you speak at: Please see list in LinkedIn profile.

Your job in 3 words: Agile Research and Development

Currently working on: Fraud detection.

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: the Bible: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, by Norvig

Hobby: The piano

Favorite animal: Cats

Favorite food: Brazilian food


Admond Lee

Data Scientist, Micron – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor

Areas of Expertise: Time Series Analysis with Deep Learning

Blogs you contribute to: https://towardsdatascience.com/@admond1994 , https://www.kdnuggets.com/?s=admond+lee

Kaggle competitions: https://www.kaggle.com/c/shopee-iet-machine-learning-competition

Your job in 3 words: Fun, challenging, rewarding

Currently working on: Using big data analytics for smart manufacturing at scale

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: An Introduction to Statistical Learning, Practical Statistics for Data Scientists, The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book, Machine Learning Yearning

Hobby: Reading and sharing ideas with friends

Favorite animal: Dog

Favorite food: Basil chicken rice

Morning routine: Daily affirmation, cold shower, breathing exercise, journaling


Manu Carricano

Director Institute for Data-Driven Decisions, ESADE Business School – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: PhD

Areas of Expertise: Data Science; Operations Research; Optimization ; Dynamic Pricing

Conferences you speak at: Data Innovation Summit; Big Data Conference; EduData, etc.

Your job in 3 words: Educate Managers on Data Science

Currently working on: Pricing Optimization blending ML with Optimization models / Causal Inference for Promotion Efficiency

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: The Book of Why

Hobby: Surf

Favorite food: Peruvian

Morning routine: Coffee!


David Praise Chukwuma Kalu

Student Assistant , Singidunum University – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor

Areas of Expertise: Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Deep Learning

Blogs you contribute to: http://datahacker.rs/

Kaggle competitions: Data Science Nigeria, Car Price Prediction, Titanic

Your job in 3 words: Data Science Blogger

Currently working on: Making a tutorial on pytorch

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Data Science Handbook

Hobby: Playing Drums, Keyboard, Singing, Teaching

Favorite animal: Dog

Favorite food: Jollof Rice and Chicken

Morning routine: Pray, read my bible and exercise.


Alexey Grigorev

Lead Data Scientist, OLXGroup – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: Software engineering, MLops, career

Conferences you speak at: Pydata Berlin, Highload

Blogs you contribute to: It shared, hackernoon, towardsdatascience

Kaggle competitions: Avito duplicate ads detection, outbrain click prediction

Your job in 3 words: Enable others do better

Currently working on: Many things

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: Mastering java for data science (my own :-))


Shivam Bansal

Senior Data Scientist, H2O.ai – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: Applied Data Science, NLP, Computer Vision

Conferences you speak at: H2OWorld, KaggleDays, NUS-MSBA

Blogs you contribute to: medium, analyticsvidhya, kaggle

Kaggle competitions: Data Science for Good Challenges

Your job in 3 words: Customer Data Scientist

Currently working on: AI applications for Business Users

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: kaggle

Hobby: Badminton

Favorite animal: Dog

Favorite food: Pasta

Morning routine: Coding


Vijay Pravin Maharajan

Data Analytics Expert, Siemens AG – Twitter | LinkedIn

Education: Master

Areas of Expertise: Data Science, Data Analytics, Data Visualization, Big Data

Conferences you speak at: 1. Big Data Strategy Dialog – Bonn, Germany (https://www.cintona.com/en/practices/big-data-strategy-dialog-13th-14th-may-2019/) 2. Big Data Analytics – Frankfurt, Germany (https://whitehallmedia.co.uk/) 3. Data Business Congress, San Jose, USA (https://web.cvent.com/event/10240ffb-fa61-43b2-9038-73c9838049ae/websitePage:4a9f1ae7-fd5e-40ea-a47b-8748de11f650) 4. Machine Learning Developers Summit, Hyderabad, India (https://www.mlds.analyticsindiasummit.com/speaker/vijay-pravin-maharajan/) 5. TEDx Speaker (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZsOvU-40K0&t=33s)

Blogs you contribute to: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vijaypravin/

Your job in 3 words: Eat.Data.Sleep – Repeat

Currently working on: – Working with Siemens Mobility division, on a 6-week rapid ‚ÄėAccelerator programs‚Äô where we develop mobility products and deliver it to our stake holders across the globe. – Getting the requirements and the needs from the clients or the stakeholders upfront and working on building a model. – Tools used: Spotfire, Python, Polarion, MS Excel

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: O’Reily Data Science Resources

Hobby: Cricket, Collecting Stamps & Coins

Favorite animal: Lion

Favorite food: Briyani (Indian cuisine)

Morning routine: Wake up – Work out – Fitness / Yoga – Eat – Use LinkedIn on my way to Office


Steven Sarsfield

VP Product, Cambridge Semantics – Twitter | LinkedIn | Github

Education: Bachelor

Areas of Expertise: graph analytics, database, data governance

Conferences you speak at: Strata (New York, Dublin, and San Jose), TDWI events, US2TS, Dataversity Chicago, many others.

Blogs you contribute to: medium.com

Your job in 3 words: Product leader database

Currently working on: Graph analytics

Books that helped you grow as a data scientist: data governance imperative

Hobby: Xbox

Favorite food: Potatoes with gravy


The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information
and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that
are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to
benefit humanity.

About AI Time Journal Editorial Staff

The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to benefit humanity.

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