Head of Data Science

Head of Data Science

This job is no longer open

DataKind is looking for a Head of Data Science

DataKind is looking for an innovative individual who is ready to make a major impact on our data science strategy and help us deliver on our next decade of data science solutions for positive social impact. If you’re a self-starter eager to turn vision into action, you’re a strong communicator who delights in teaching and sharing knowledge, and you aren’t afraid to dive into messy, small, and/or complex datasets, we want to bring you on board!  This is a new role at DataKind, and you’ll be a key cross-functional collaborator with significant autonomy to design, propose, and implement processes that will ensure DataKind delivers best-in-class data products for the social sector. 


This is a remote position that can be based anywhere in the U.S. and requires the majority of working hours each day to fall between 8am and 6pm Eastern Standard Time. 

Salary Range
Mid-career level, $130,000 - $160,000 / Senior-career level, $160,000 - $190,000. 

This position could be hired at one of two levels - either a mid-career level or a senior-career level.  At a mid-career level, the annual salary range is between $130,000 and $160,000, and at a senior/director level, the salary range is between $160,000 and $190,000. 

Actual salary from the ranges above will be based on the candidate’s experience and internal salary equity scan of active employee(s) with similar role and experience.

About DataKind

DataKind is a global nonprofit dedicated to harnessing the power of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in the service of humanity. DataKind teams talented pro bono experts from academia and industry with visionary changemakers to collaboratively design innovative solutions to tough social challenges. We help social organizations apply their data to predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and AI needs in a way that both increases impact and prioritizes ethics.

  • We’re 20,000 strong: DataKind volunteers hail from almost every country across the world, representing a community of technologists and social changemakers who believe in using data science and AI for a stronger planet and a more just and prosperous world.
  • We have completed 350+ projects around the world: From using satellite imagery to measure crop yields to automating the fight against hate speech online, our volunteer community has shown up to  help solve some of the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges around the world. Through this approach, illustrating what we call “the art of the possible,” these projects have resulted in more effective NGOs, more funding for social change organizations, and more awareness of the power (and pitfalls) of data science and AI in the social sector. 
  • People are at the center of our process: DataKind celebrates human-centered design principles that focus on the “why,” the “for whom,” and the “should we” long before we ever get going on the “what.”
  • “AI for Good” will only succeed if it’s “AI for All”: We’ll continue our work until all people and all communities can use digital technology for the outcomes they want to see. We support not just the tech communities of today, but anyone in any community who wants to lead in how data technologies serve their needs fairly, with an emphasis on including individuals from groups that are historically underrepresented in technology or will be impacted by the intervention. 

DataKind has always known that we’ll not be able to combat all of the world’s looming challenges through individual, short-term projects alone. We’re now focusing the DataKind network on issue areas, including improving health outcomes and increasing economic resilience for all. You can read more about our strategy here.

About the Opportunity & What You’ll Do

Our growing organization is looking for experienced candidates for the position of Head of Data Science. As a new position within DataKind, the Head of Data Science will be a key member of our senior thought leaders in the organization.

Reporting to the Senior Director of Product and working closely with the Director of Technology, the Head of Data Science will lead data product development, data science team development and support, and data science strategy. In addition to technical skills, we’re looking for someone who’s excited about external thought leadership and internal cross functional collaboration. 

Data Product Development (50% of time)

Providing technical and strategic leadership to manage DataKind’s core service delivery activities. Example activities include: 

  • For a portfolio of DataCorps and DataDive event projects, lead on each step of the DataKind project process as outlined in the DataKind Project Playbook.
  • Direct/Lead project sustainability activities
    • Audit data science solutions that have been proposed and created by volunteer-led data science teams at several phases of the project process to ensure high quality technical output that meets the needs of the partner client
    • Implement maintenance plans for projects once core teams have completed their commitments with DataKind
    • Revise DataKind’s playbook and other knowledge management and best practices documents to be aligned to current best practices in the sector
  • Lead the technical strategy and roadmap development to open source specific products within DataKind’s grant funded portfolios

Data Science Strategy and Thought Leadership (25% of time)

Leading strategy development and training across internal and external stakeholders to establish DataKind’s long term data science strategy. Example activities include: 

  • Propose, collaboratively develop, and drive implementation of  the data science solution strategy at DataKind inclusive of problem types, solution types, techniques, languages, and more
  • Pursue thought leadership in the data science sector through the lead authorship of quarterly blogs or other publications
  • Represent DataKind externally at conferences and public speaking opportunities
  • Ensure staff are aware of the data science strategy, advances in the data science field, and applications of data science 

Data Science Team Development and Support (15% of time)

Engage with DataKind volunteers and staff to elevate DataKind’s overall technical practice through training, conversation, and partnership. Example activities include: 

  • Recruit, hire, and manage staff and/or consultant data scientists as required to meet target deliverables
  • Recruit and select DataKind volunteers to meet project deliverables
  • Provide technical review, thought partnership and advice for volunteer-led projects 

Cross-Team Collaboration (10% of time)

Work with DataKind staff teams to ensure that our systems and processes are continuously improved and meeting established standards.  Example activities include: 

  • Contribute to internal best practices in partnership with the Global Volunteers team, including both the network and the Center of Excellence
  • Provide technological support to the DataKind HQ staff and chapter network on such tools as AWS, Salesforce, and other tech stack services essential for the day-to-day operations of the DataKind team
  • Work alongside grants managers to manage budgets for technical services within each deliverable
  • Work alongside the Technology Team to establish and ensure strong data use for DataKind’s internal practices

How You’ll be Measured

At the end of Year One, the Head of Data Science will have accomplished the following:

  • Successful data science deliverables met for all committed work
  • Creation and presentation of a data science strategy roadmap for DataKind
  • Proposal and management of a data science budget to manage the strategy roadmap
  • Engagement through timely and proactive communication regarding volunteers, projects, and opportunities such that the DataKind team is able to react and contribute to solutions 
  • Contribution to at least two thematic area landscapes for data science possibilities within particular sectors
  • Publication of two written thought leadership publications
  • Presentation within two webinars or conferences


  • Required:
    • Alignment with DataKind mission and values, including our commitment to anti-racism
    • Documented expertise in data science models, tools and languages (Python, R etc.) through portfolio materials (e.g. GitHub) and participation in interview thought exercises
    • Demonstrated expertise in stakeholder engagement to define problem statements, 
    • Demonstrated experience in technical team leadership
    • Previous people-management experience
    • Strong written and oral English-language communication skills 
    • Ability to compile and deliver written reports, budget plans and strategy presentations for external audiences
    • Ability to work occasional nights and weekends eastern time for meetings or events with our global community of partners and volunteers.  (e.g. up to four nights or one weekend per month)
  • Preferred
    • Experience with open source software development and maintainer communities 
    • External publications or presentations demonstrating thought leadership in the data science field
    • Previous experience in skilled volunteerism either as a volunteer or staff supporter
    • Academic qualifications in data science (e.g. Masters’ or PhD in a STEM field)

Why Work with DataKind

At DataKind, we believe that people are the most important asset to delivering on our mission to collaboratively design data-driven, innovative solutions to tough social challenges. Working with us means that you will have:

  • Flexibility in your working schedule. This includes flexing your schedule, ending your workday early or starting late to care for kids or to walk your dog, etc. It also includes a bi-weekly “Flex Friday,” or shared focused day where no internal meetings are scheduled and staff can dedicate time for writing and other focused required tasks.
  • Generous leave policies: Paid Parental Leave, 14 paid holidays annually and unlimited PTO!
  • Access to an outstanding health plan. We pay 100% of medical, vision, and dental benefits for employees and 70% for spouse and dependent coverage.
  • Support to plan for your future. We offer a 401(k) plan and match employee contributions up to 5% of the annual salary.
  • Opportunities to learn and grow. Each year, we budget funds for each staff person to access ongoing professional development support.
  • Wellness Reimbursement Program. A wellness program that gives employees the ability to request reimbursement for wellness and lifestyle purchases that are meaningful to them like bikeshare/gym memberships, home workout equipment, or home office wifi service.
  • DEI commitment. DataKind is committed to a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment in both our day-to-day work and via special initiatives that are driven by our DEI Steering Committee.


DataKind is an Equal Opportunity Employer

DataKind is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages candidates from underrepresented groups in tech to apply. DataKind does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected category. 

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.

This job is no longer open
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