Working as a Data Scientist at Scout24

Jan Zawadzki is in the finishing strides of writing his master thesis with the Scout24 Data Science team and learned a lot about the practices and organizational structure here. He has seen different organizations during his previous job as a management consultant and believes that Scout24 has found an interesting mix of organizational structures and methods to work with Data Scientists. Before finishing his work, he would like to offer you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a Data Scientist at Scout24.

So get comfy, and fasten your seat belts to explore the world of a Scout24 Data Scientist.

How do Data Scientists work at Scout24?

The Data Science team is a part of the DNA of Scout24 — the Data ‘n Analytics team. DNA consists of dedicated Data Engineers, Data Analysts, and Data Scientists. The teams all sit in close proximity, so whenever questions arise, it is common to contact colleagues with complementary skills. The Data Science team employs agile work methodologies including daily status updates with the colleagues from Munich, retrospectives, and deep-dives, to name a few.

Scout24 is user-centered and has dedicated cross-functional teams of Product Owners and Software Engineers to maintain and create products for specific user groups. These teams are called market segments and DNA serves all market segments, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and build machine learning products.

Data Science is a part of DNA which supports all market segments in serving Scout24’s users

The market segments prioritize and decide which initiatives the teams will work on next. This project-based working style ensures that the work gets never boring. The Data Science team members also function as consultants to other departments of the company and help them scope initiatives and discuss ideas.

The company also conducts the quarterly DataLab. Scouts from all segments pitch ideas related to new data products and the most promising three ideas are tested from a group of Data Scientists, Engineers, and Analysts. The goal of the DataLab is to experiment with out-of-the-box ideas and to deliver a proof of concept. Is this idea feasible or not? If so, the project will be brought to market during one of the following initiatives. A good example is the platform https://www.propertyinvestgermany.com/, an MVP testing how to best connect building developers with international investors. It is a result of the very first DataLab iteration. Find out more about the project here.

In addition to the initiatives, the Data Science team also employs the Data Science in Residence program. A Data Scientist in Residence is dedicated to a single market segment and supports that team. This Data Scientist works on specific data products for the market segment.

What projects do Data Scientists work on at Scout24?

Scout24 is a data-driven organization. The company has a plethora of valuable data, so the Data Science department is in a key position to develop new data products.

  • Recommendations offer a better way of exploring the enormous catalog of real estate and car listings. The recommendation engine matches the search behavior of the user with the searches from similar users and recommends new properties or cars. The recommendations are so successful that they lead to 100k additional contact leads per month. Additionally, 2 out of 3 recommended items would not have been found by the user through regular search.
  • The prediction engine calculates which users are looking for a mortgage. The engine now recommends mortgages to interested users. The results: the click-through-rate is 10x better than the best human guesses, notifications decreased by 88% to avoid spamming users, the notification open rate increased by 228% and the rate from notification to an actual lead increased by 27,000%. This shows that the Data Science team did a superb job in finding relevant users and delivering relevant information to them!
  • When you are looking for a new or used car on AutoScout24, you will now see price valuations for each vehicle, indicating a good, fair or bad price. Since it is tough for most users to judge if the selling price is good or bad, the Data Science team developed a solution for them. For second-hand cars, they calculate a custom-fit price recommendation based on the market price. Check out the video on this blog to learn more about how it works!
Pssst — this Lambo Huracán is a good price!
AutoScout24 Price Authority

The team has a plentitude of other amazing initiatives cooking so stay tuned for new data-driven products and blog posts.


What does Scout24 offer its employees?

Scout24 is committed to nurturing a learning culture. The Data Science team conducts learning sessions twice a week where they work on different online learning classes. Every employee is allowed to set time aside from their daily work to improve her or his skills. Additionally, the company organizes the Scout School, where Scouts gather to teach each other whatever they want. The Scout School offers classes in meditation, to teach German or English and yoga, for example.

The company also actively supports its employees in attending and speaking at conferences. Members of the Data Science team presented the AutoScout24 price valuation at the Predictive Analytics World 2017 in London. If you’d like to attend a conference, Scout24 has your back.

The Scouts Alexander Diergarten and Dr. Sean Gustafson representing Scout24 Data Science during the Predictive Analytics World London 2017.

In addition to the DataLab, the company offers biannual Hack Weeks. If you did not get a chance to take part in this DataLab iteration, you get an entire week to work on your own idea, no questions asked. Freedom!

Last but not least, with central locations in Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, and a OneScout approach, relocation to another office really is no problem.

Although I’ve decided to follow a different job offer after my graduation, I have nothing but warm feelings towards the company and highly recommend you check out their blog and job board for new content and open positions.

Summary

To recap this post, a Data Scientist at Scout24 is a part of a cross-functional team together with Data Engineers and Data Analysts. Data Scientists help market segments build relevant data products to inspire users to find their dream home or car. As a cherry on top, the DataLab fosters innovation and allows for experimentation with new ideas which lead to new insights and sometimes new products.

I hope you enjoyed this digression into the daily work of a Data Scientist at Scout24. How do you like their approach to Data Science? Please feel free to add any comments below. Looking forward to your feedback!

Want to read more from Jan? Check out his Medium page.