Training an army of new data scientists

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Training an army of new data scientists

Sports Betting markets are one of the purest prediction markets that exist and are yet vastly misunderstood by the public. Unlike most others markets, such as finance, sports can be measured in the physical world and thus a vast array of statistical data exists. Since the late 90s, Pinnacle has been one of the largest sportsbooks in the world and also one of the only sportsbooks who will take wagers from professional bettors (who we expect to lose to). At Pinnacle our focus is on modeling, automation, data science and R is a central piece of our business. We are constantly trying to innovate and make the best use out of our large volumes of data.

In the last few years, we have undertaken the monumental task of training our 400+ employee workforce to better understand data and how to use data to drive all business decisions, whether it be prediction markets, customer service, marketing, payment solutions, etc. Many of these employees previously had no background in Data Science or had ever written a line of code. On this journey, We have recorded data on where students commonly fail or get frustrated and tried to weigh that with the skills we know are needed to solve real business problems. We have since come up with a well-defined set of curriculum using pieces from Data Camp, along with the custom curriculum. With this has come a focus on tidyverse, specifically mastering dplyr, and cutting out some of the core materials, such as working with matrices. Along the way, we have learned many lessons and have many success stories to share, such as former secretaries or customer service reps being retrained and promoted Data Scientists, who now work every day on using our data to make smarter business decisions. We would like to tell our story so that the community can learn from our mistakes and successes.

Slides: Training an army of new data scientists

Twitter: Marco Blume, @PinnacleSports

Marco Blume - Director of Trading
Marco is Director of Trading at Pinnacle. While much of risk-management within the modern bookmaker industry has moved toward an outsourcing model – producing a homogenised product – Marco has remained true to the fundamentals of bookmaking – tight risk-management built on cutting-edge models. Guided by this philosophy, Marco has built a bookmaker that is the benchmark for all others to follow offering the lowest margins, the highest limits and a policy of welcoming winners.

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