Lead Data Scientist

London, England, United Kingdom expand job description ↓


Department: Data Science

Reporting to: Director of Strategy

Type of Contract: Permanent

Working Pattern: Full time

FutureLearn is transforming access to education and is one of the world’s largest social learning platforms.

Based in London’s Camden Town, we offer online courses, programs and degrees run by over 100 leading universities from around the world including UCL, University of California Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, University of Melbourne, King’s College London, Purdue University and University of Groningen. We also work offer online courses from specialist education providers including CIPD, UNESCO and the Raspberry PI foundation.

Our vision is a global community, where everyone learns together and enjoys access to the education they need to transform their lives. Our award-winning platform helps by provoking conversation around the course material, so that learners and educators learn as much from each other as from the material itself.

Since our launch in September 2013, we’ve run hundreds of courses that have attracted over 7.5 million learners from all over the world and we've seen over 19 million enrolments on our open online courses and are now working with our partners to pioneer a more modular and accessible approach to studying full degrees.

We are continuing our expansion as we make this journey from offering short online courses, through micro credentials to full online degrees and working with employers and governments to reduce skills gaps. The pace of this change is reflected in extremely rapid growth of our revenues.

We're looking for an enthusiastic, collaborative person who loves working with other people and their data to find answers to tricky problems. Once you find an answer you'll be great at communicating those findings in a way that other people understand. You should follow the state of the art in relevant machine learning and statistics as it relates to data science applications. You’ll provide leadership for the data science team while working closely with the data engineering team to empower the whole company’s utilisation of its data. Additionally, you are comfortable mentoring other data scientists and technologists in day to day practice.


We're faced with a large number of fascinating problems, many of which you'll be working on, and many more will be discovered over time. Currently we are interested in:

  • Using data about our learners' interests and behaviour to help them to find courses that they will love, which in turn supports the growth and sustainability of our business.
  • Improve and enhance our ability to forecast sales and predict long term revenue as we expand our B2C offering with additional products, or services
  • Refining our social learning experiences by connecting learners and educators together to foster meaningful conversation.
  • Understanding how to measure learning (or proxies for it), and how to use that data to improve our courses.
  • Improving and expanding our data platform to support analysts within FutureLearn, and to enable our partners to conduct world-leading research through their courses.


We are looking for people who are:

  • Data literate and scientific with experience in start-up, commercial and/or academic settings. Mid to senior level experience in a data science or similar role ideal.
  • Good communicators, both verbal and written. Part of your role will involve informing the rest of the business and explaining the implications of your research and insight.
  • Able to use statistical / machine learning approaches to solve practical problems. Being able to do so in R or Python would be great.
  • Knowledgeable about experimental design. In particular, having a considerate approach to forming research questions, along with shaping and running product experiments, in order to draw confident conclusions from relatively small data sets.
  • Keen to take ideas, with support and help from our data engineers, from research to production. We currently use Ruby and Python in our data and production application systems, and work with Postgres, Redshift and MySQL databases, but we value transferable skills and learning new things.
  • Comfortable leading the data science team - championing their work internally and externally, providing provocation and new ideas, identifying and prioritising work according to its value to the company, managing other Data Scientists and mentoring other software engineers across the company on data science techniques and practices.
  • Curious, self-motivated and adaptive. Our data team is small, with a wide variety of interesting challenges across the whole business.
  • Always learning. We build a learning platform that we use ourselves, and have time and space to continue our own professional development.


  • £50,000 - £70,000 p/a salary based on experience
  • 28 days holiday (plus 8 days public holiday)
  • Buy & sell up to 5 days holiday
  • Charity day (volunteer for a charity of your choice)
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Season Ticket loan
  • Flexible working environment/hours
  • Pension (4% employer / employee contribution)
  • Great coffee, teas & fruit and snacks
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Perkbox


Please contact [email protected] if you require any reasonable adjustments or alterations to be made, to support you through the recruitment process.


We value diversity at FutureLearn, and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, neurodiversity, marital or disability status.

Please note: This is not a remote working position and you must have the right to work in the UK to apply. No recruitment agents please.

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