Panel: Career Advice for Data Scientists

This panel will be focused on how you build a career around R! Our panelists are all passionate about R and have each taken a different path to build a career around that passion.

Panel: Career Advice for Data Scientists

January 31, 2020

This panel will be focused on how you build a career around R! Our panelists are all passionate about R and have each taken a different path to build a career around that passion. We'll be touching on topics like the different stages of career growth and how you find a community you can go to for support. If you're just getting started in your career, looking to make a transition, or interested in learning some great career-building skills, be sure to join us!



  • Gabrielade Queiroz - Sr. Machine Learning Manager, AI Developer, websitetwitterLinkedIn
  • David Keyes - Consultant and Instructor, R for the Rest of Us,  websitetwitterLinkedIn
  • Sydeaka Watson - Senior Data Scientist, websiteLinkedIn
  • Jen Hecht - Host, VP of People Operations at RStudio

About the speakers

Gabriela de Queiroz is a Sr. Engineering & Data Science Manager at IBM where she manages and leads a team of developers working on Data & AI Open Source projects. Her team contributes to projects such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, Apache Arrow, Apache Spark, and several other open source projects inside IBM. She works to democratize AI by building tools and launching new open source projects. She is passionate about making data science available to everybody and is actively involved with several organizations to foster an inclusive community. She is the founder of AI Inclusive, a global organization that is helping increase the representation and participation of gender minorities in Artificial Intelligence. She is also the founder of R-Ladies, a worldwide organization for promoting diversity in the R community with more than 180 chapters in 50+ countries.

David Keyes is the founder of R for the Rest of Us, which teaches people and individuals to use R through online courses, custom trainings, and public workshops. With stops as an elementary school teacher, PhD social scientist, and program evaluator, David brings his unconventional career trajectory to his current role, helping those with who don’t think of themselves as typical R users embrace the power of R.

Dr. Sydeaka Watson is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in Dallas, Texas. She is Founder and Owner of Korelasi Data Insights, LLC and a Senior Data Scientist at Elicit Insights, LLC. In these roles, Sydeaka uses predictive analytics and visual tools to draw insights from diverse datasets. Sydeaka earned a Ph.D. in Statistics from Baylor University and has several years of teaching experience. In her 5 years as Research Assistant Professor in The University of Chicago Biostatistics Laboratory, she consulted with over 110 biomedical research teams in The University of Chicago Medical Center, specializing in statistical analysis and experimental design for clinical research studies. Her current research interests include applications of (1) image recognition for computer vision and (2) data science for social justice. Sydeaka currently serves as Organizer of the R-Ladies Dallas Chapter. She also volunteers in the Dallas chapters of Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code.

Jen Hecht is the VP of People Operations at RStudio. She was first introduced to R in 2013, as a non-programmer seeking better ways to manage analytical projects - a quest which was aided both by the RStudio toolchain and the welcoming support of R Ladies, R meetup groups, and other wonderful open resources. Ever since, she has been captivated by open data science tools and the communities that build them. Before joining RStudio in 2018, Jen held HR and People Analytics roles in a variety of industries, including financial services, biotech, and used record shops. Outside of work, Jen loves books and music of all kinds, and is a novice fly caster.