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Lead Data Scientist, Words with Friends

Data, Analytics & User Research San Francisco, California


Position at Zynga

Lead Data Scientist

Zynga is a leading developer of the world’s most popular social games that are played by millions of people around the world each day. To-date, more than 1 billion people have played our games across Web and mobile, including Words With Friends, FarmVille, Zynga Poker, Merge Dragons, Empires & Puzzles, Hit it Rich! Slots and CSR.

Zynga’s data science team uses our unique and expansive data to model and predict user behavior, making our games more personalized and more fun to play! We strive for a better understanding of our players which translates into challenges and features that delight them and increased social engagement within our games.

Here’s where you would come in: identify and formalize problems predicting user behavior. Then create and implement your models to find solutions. Be innovative, be creative, use every bit of that key commodity – data. Millions of people play Zynga games every day, so our data is tremendously rich and we have a lot of it!

We will rely on you to communicate your findings to your peers – both technical and non-technical. Your solutions will need to be demonstrably impactful and visual. You will work with our game teams to put your models into production. You will collaborate with Product Managers, Game Designers, and Engineers to deliver business impact. And, change current practices in line with new findings and insights.

Responsibilities:

  • Work with large amounts of data to identify opportunities that would help improve the experience that Zynga provides to its players
  • Apply predictive modeling and Data Mining techniques for a variety of user modeling tasks within Zynga’s Game Network
  • Work closely with game teams to design, test, verify and implement machine learning models with Zynga’s games that impact the daily life of millions of users
  • Design and evaluate novel scalable approaches to experiments for gameplay

Required Skills and Experience:

  • BS in Computer Science, Math, Statistics, Economics, or other quantitative field; Masters or PhD strongly preferred
  • 3+ years of work experience in data science, machine learning or analytics roles
  • Demonstrated experience with some or all of the following: machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling, statistics, experimental design, computational analytics, econometric modeling, data visualization
  • Fluent in SQL
  • Fluent in R and/or Python; Strong experience with programming
  • Experience in applying machine learning on large datasets, preferably in a Hadoop or Spark environment
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently to get an idea from inception to implementation, including knowledge of techniques for validation and testing
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with engineers, product managers, analysts, business, and marketing functions to deliver unambiguous business impact
  • Excellent client management skills



Zynga is an equal opportunity employer. We are proud of our diverse community; we do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, disability, or any other class or characteristic protected by applicable law. We welcome candidates, players, employees, and partners from all backgrounds. Join us!

Zynga will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with applicable law.

What we offer you:

  • Zynga Stock RSUs and Bonus Plan
  • Full medical, dental, vision benefits as well as life insurance
  • Catered lunch daily
  • Generous Paid Maternity/Paternity leave
  • Open vacation policy for many employees
  • Flexible working hours on many teams
  • Casual dress every single day
  • Work with cool people!