Sometimes we forget the humans behind the tech in our ever busy world. DSF is fortunate enough to know some incredible tech leaders across the world and has the privilege of hearing them present at our events. That being said, our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini interview below!

A bit about Mark

I joined Gelato as a senior data scientist in 2023, where I am fully dedicated to fostering a culture of experimentation and embracing a data-driven approach. Prior to this role, I worked at TikTok, where my focus was ensuring the platform’s safety from the user perspective. Before that, I gained diverse experience across different industries, including gaming, banking, and insurance.

My expertise lies specifically in AB testing and causal inference methods. I am deeply passionate about assisting product teams in effectively measuring the impact of new changes. By leveraging my skills and knowledge, I strive to make a tangible difference in optimizing product performance and driving success.

How did you start your tech career?

After I graduated, I was feeling a bit lost, not sure what direction to take. But then it hit me: IT is where the whole action is. In my search for the first job in IT that would provide me with a deep understanding of the IT field, I came across a VBA (Excel) development position. I can say with confidence that without Excel I won’t be where I am right now.

What are the signs of success in your field?

It really depends on whether we’re talking about evaluating a company or an individual.
However, a universal metric that holds value for both is the extent to which decisions are based on data rather than relying solely on intuition or gut feelings. The degree to which data-driven decision-making is embraced serves as a key indicator of being truly data-informed, whether at the organizational level or within an individual’s approach to problem-solving.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

The coolest part is that you get to talk to practically everyone in the company, from different departments and all sorts of people. Being data-driven isn’t just about creating fancy dashboards or models; it’s about making a real impact, and that’s only possible by building connections and communicating with every department in the company.

Now, the tricky part (not really the worst, but definitely challenging) is the crazy speed of changes. Things are constantly evolving, sometimes even on a weekly basis. If you don’t keep up with those changes, you’ll find it hard to stay afloat.

What can you advise someone just starting out to be successful?

Feel free to ask questions whenever you can. Most people think nobody will bother answering, but that is not the case. There are tons of online and offline conferences, and all sorts of channels where people love to share their ideas and thoughts. These places are gold mines for getting answers, gaining insights, and having cool discussions. Make the most of these resources and ask away.

How do you switch off?

In my leisure time, I like to do activities that are connected to data and math. That’s why I find enjoyment in playing poker, chess, and, perhaps unexpectedly, football.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Embrace curiosity and humility. Remember, nobody has all the answers – that’s just how it goes. Stay curious and open-minded, always eager to learn and explore new things.

What is next for you?

It’s actually pretty surprising how few resources there are for advanced AB testing courses, articles, and guidelines.Recognizing this gap, I have taken the initiative to develop my own Advanced AB Testing course. My aim is to share all the practical knowledge and insights I have gained in this field. The course will comprehensively cover advanced AB testing methodologies, strategies, and best practices. Additionally, I will allocate more of my time to blogging and writing articles.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

I would definitely become a football player , but then I realised that data science offers much more excitement and enjoyment 🙂

What are your top 5 predictions in tech for the next 5 years?

It’s always hard to make such predictions , but I will try :

  • Integration of LLM models: Language models like LLMs (Large Language Models) such as GPT-4 will indeed become increasingly essential in our daily lives, permeating various applications and services. These models will be used extensively in areas such as natural language processing, virtual assistants, content generation, and more.
  • Increased adoption of edge computing and IoT: The widespread adoption of edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to fuel the growth of smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and connected devices. This will lead to a more interconnected world where devices and systems seamlessly communicate, enabling efficient data processing and real-time decision-making at the edge.
  • Focus on data privacy and security: With the escalating concerns around data privacy and security, there will be a stronger emphasis on regulations and cybersecurity measures. Stricter regulations and policies will be implemented to protect personal information and sensitive data.
  • Rise of T-shaped professionals in data science: In the field of data science, there will be an increasing demand for T-shaped professionals. These professionals will possess a deep understanding of data science techniques and tools but will also have a broad knowledge spanning various domains. They will be expected to understand the technical aspects of data science, such as system architecture and algorithm development, while also being well-versed in business strategy and even financial analysis.
  • Synergy between AI and humanity: The coming years will witness a stronger focus on the combination of AI and human capabilities to tackle complex tasks. Rather than relying solely on AI or humans, there will be a shift towards collaboration and leveraging the strengths of both. This synergy will enable the accomplishment of tasks that were previously challenging for either AI or humans alone, leading to more efficient and effective outcomes.

Watch Mark’s session at the Data Science Festival here.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our Speaker Spotlight!

Want to become a DSF Speaker? Apply here!