Meet the Masters: Marco Bressan

Marco Bressan, former Chief Data Scientist at BBVA, won the Excellence in Transformational Use of Data trophy at the 2017 Digital Masters Awards. We caught up with Marco to discuss the future of Data, GDPR, and his exciting new role.


Why is now such an exciting time to be a data scientist?
I think it will be for a while. We are still untapping data sources and new challenges, and interesting results are discovered every day.

How do you see Data as a function evolving over the next five to ten years?
Data science is evolving from mostly being an insights function to a core component of product development and value creation. It will also be an essential part of daily operations, starting with HR management, so Data Scientists will be ubiquitous in organisations.

What is the main challenge that the forthcoming GDPR presents to organisations and their use of data?
It will not be enough to claim value, it will need to be delivered. GDPR will level the field and reduce the entry barriers to a point where only the best will survive. And by the best I mean those able to really capture value from the data via algorithms and deliver that value to the customer in a relevant, simple and timely way.

What are the challenges of hiring great data scientists?
The main challenge is in the title “data scientist” which means less each day, so by posting a data scientist job, companies receive a very high percentage of irrelevant applications. As data science specialises, hiring will become easier, but talent will still be scarce.

What advice do you have for anyone with ambitions to build a career in Data?
To code, to learn and love stats and to get his or her hands dirty with real world data as soon as possible.

What is your career highlight to date?
Helping a large organisation in its first steps to understand its data assets and truly capture value from them. Making the organisation realise the importance of becoming data-driven and executing the transformation. Having understood early on the link between algorithm and solution development, and having built a team to tackle this link.

You recently joined Satellogic, can you tell us a bit more about your new role?
Satellogic is well positioned to build one of the most powerful datasets around: high frequency, high resolution data of our planet. Imagine knowing any day the exact amount of rice planted on the planet. A new and untapped data source with huge application potential is probably the single most appealing argument to attract data scientists. As Chief Data Scientist I am faced with the challenge of starting once again from scratch, build once again a world class team and develop the whole solution portfolio of the company.