Head of Data Science & Machine Learning


About Niche

Niche is the leader in school search. Our mission is to make researching and enrolling in schools easy, transparent, and free. With in-depth profiles on every school and college in America, 140 million reviews and ratings, and powerful search tools, we help millions of people find the right school for them. We also help thousands of schools recruit more best-fit students, by highlighting what makes them great and making it easier to visit and apply.

Niche is all about finding where you belong, and that mission inspires how we operate every day. We want Niche to be a place where people truly enjoy working and can thrive professionally.


About the Role

The data organization at Niche is seeking a dynamic and experienced Head of Data Science and Machine Learning to lead the organization's efforts in harnessing the power of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This is a high-impact role and the ideal person is expected to be a hands-on technical leader with strong data science expertise in the SaaS, B2C, or two-sided marketplace sector and will be accountable for establishing the data science and ML practices, capabilities and team ground up.  As the data science lead, you will be responsible for formulating and executing a comprehensive vision and roadmap for data science, ensuring the delivery of critical functionalities such as recommendation systems, personalized search, intelligent matching, generative AI, and predictive insights for customer health and retention.

At Niche we are revolutionizing the college admissions process using data and AI, making it more accessible and easier, and the person in this role will have an opportunity to accelerate that mission and make a tremendous impact on millions of students and families. This role will report to the VP of Data.

What You Will Do

During the 1st Month:

  • Assessment and Onboarding: Conduct a thorough assessment of the current data science and ML infrastructure and capabilities.
  • Challenges & Opportunities: Understand current challenges and identify immediate opportunities for leveraging data science and ML to enhance customer experience and business operations.
  • Relationship Building: Develop relationships with key stakeholders to align on objectives and expectations.
  • Quick Wins: Identify and implement quick wins to demonstrate the value and opportunities of data science and ML.

Within 3 Months:

  • Vision and Strategy: Develop and communicate a clear vision and strategy for data science and ML within the company.
  • Roadmap: Partner with stakeholders and data product manager to develop a comprehensive roadmap for data science and ML capabilities that reflects the strategic vision and business priorities,
  • Development: Begin development work of the data science and ML roadmap and deliver quick wins
  • Infrastructure: Work with the head of data engineering to identify infrastructure and platform needs that enable efficient development and productionization of data science and ML models
  • Mentorship: Mentor and coach others within the larger data organization. 

Within 6 Months:

  • Model Productionization:  Complete development and deploy initial models into production to optimize customer experience and customer retention.
  • Model Optimization: Assess and refine the performance of these models based on data insights and stakeholder feedback.
  • Product Integration: Collaborate with product and engineering teams to integrate AI-driven features and functionalities into our products and services.
  • Org Development: Formalize the vision of the data science and ML organization along with resource needs based on the initial wins, learning, and strategic priorities that help unlock exponential and continuous impact. 

Within 12 Months:

  • Start building the data science and ML team by recruiting and onboarding key talents fostering a culture of continuous learning, high performance, collaboration, and excellence.
  • Achieve significant progress in delivering the planned roadmap. Quantify and demonstrate the impact on business outcomes of the data science and ML capabilities.
  • Partner with senior leadership and cross-functional teams to identify and advocate potential opportunities for leveraging data science and AI, and influence strategic priorities and investments.
  • Stay abreast of the latest developments and innovations in data science, ML, and AI through industry partnership and outreach and establish thought leadership through publication and presentation. 

What We Are Looking For

  • Advanced degree (Ph.D. or Master's) in computer science, statistics, mathematics, or a related quantitative field
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in data science, with at least 5 years in a leadership role.
  • Extensive experience in data science, with a proven track record of leading successful data science projects ideally in the SaaS, B2C, or two-sided marketplace sector.
  • Expert knowledge of machine learning algorithms, data modeling, and statistical analysis.
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to build, manage, and mentor a team of data scientists.
  • Hands-on experience with programming languages commonly used in data science and ML, such as Python, R, and SQL, along with experience working with libraries and frameworks such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, or scikit-learn.
  • Experience working with cloud data science and ML platforms (e.g., AWS SageMaker, Azure ML, Snowflake, Databrick, etc.)
  • Excellent communication and stakeholder management skills, with the ability to translate technical concepts into business insights and recommendations.
  • Ability to think strategically and drive innovation with a strong focus on execution and a commitment to staying at the forefront of data science trends.

Are you excited about the position and its responsibilities, but hesitant because your experience doesn't align 100% with the posted requirements? We believe you are more than a resume, so go for it! You won’t want to miss the opportunity to play a part in helping students find where they belong.


Our national target base salary range is $188,400-$235,500, plus participation in our Annual Bonus and Stock Option Program. Base compensation will be commensurate with experience and skills.

At Niche, our Total Rewards Philosophy is centered around creating a workplace environment that attracts, motivates, and retains top talent by providing a comprehensive and competitive rewards package.  This philosophy is built on the principles of performance-based compensation, best-in-class benefits and work-life balance, and employee well-being.

Why Niche?

  • We are a fully flexible workforce empowering our employees to choose to work remotely, in our Pittsburgh office or whatever combination suits you
  • Full time, salaried position with competitive compensation in a fast-growing company
  • Best-in-class 100% paid employee health plan, including vision and dental and supplemental coverage
  • Flexible Paid Time Off Policy
  • Stipend that allows you to build your work from home office in a style and function that suits your personal preferences
  • Parental leave for all employees (12 weeks fully paid) in addition to short term disability for birthing parents
  • Meaningful 401(k) with employer match
  • Your ideas and work will make an immediate impact on our company and millions of users
  • You will join a team that cares about you, our mission, our work - and celebrates our wins together!

Niche will only employ those who are legally authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship now or in the future for this opening.  

We are currently hiring in states where we currently have employees: AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, DC, WV.

Candidates only.  No recruiters or agencies, please. Sorry, we do not offer relocation assistance.

Niche is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering an inclusive, innovative environment with the best employees. Therefore, we provide employment opportunities without regard to age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other protected status in accordance with applicable law.

All interviews are being held remotely. If there are preparations we can make to help ensure you have a comfortable and positive interview experience, please let us know.


Job Profile


North America


United States


Annual bonus Performance-based compensation Stock option program


Artificial Intelligence B2C Communication Data engineering Data Modeling Data Science Machine Learning Python R Relationship building SaaS Snowflake SQL Stakeholder management Two-sided Marketplace

  • Assessment & Onboarding
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Develop relationships
  • Model Optimization
  • Model Productionization
  • Org Development
  • Partner with stakeholders
  • Product Integration
  • Quick Wins
  • Relationship building
  • Roadmap development
  • Vision & Strategy

Data Science Statistics


America/Anchorage America/Chicago America/Denver America/Los_Angeles America/New_York Pacific/Honolulu UTC-10 UTC-5 UTC-6 UTC-7 UTC-8 UTC-9