Job description

If you’re passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you’re committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.

Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

The principle function of the Data Scientist is to extract meaningful information from digital data of all types. At Western Governors University, the Data Scientist is responsible for synthesizing meaningful and actionable information from diverse data sources to aid student progression towards graduation and support other university priorities. The Data Scientist should be adept at working with all types of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data using a tool set of R, Python, SQL, and web-scale data technologies like Map-Reduce and Hadoop.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
  • Identify new data sources that will improve the diversification of university data.
  • Ability to write and process complex SQL queries.
  • Basic understanding of regular expressions to extract data from semi-structured and unstructured data sources.
  • Understanding of online web scraping to get data from sources that don’t offer API data access.
  • Create predictive models leveraging machine learning algorithms.
  • Traditional statistical models (logistic regression, classification algorithms, tree models, etc.).
  • Machine learning algorithms (neural networks, decision trees, association rules).
  • Text mining and natural language processing.
  • Experience with very large data sets. o Background in setting up and maintaining big data processes.
  • Efficient processing of large amounts of unstructured data.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Knowledge of a Deep Learning Framework
  • Pytorch, Keras, or Tensorflow
  • Training recurrent neural networks in an offline and/or production setting
  • Domain Expertise in at least One of the following areas:
  • Natural Language Processing (BERT, machine translation, RNNs, and sequential prediction)
  • Reinforcement learning (Contextual Bandits, Offline-policy learning)
  • Algorithmic Fairness (Bias Analysis, Interpretability)
  • Psychometrics (Bayesian Knowledge Tracing, Deep Knowledge Tracing)
  • Recommender Systems (Matrix Factorization, Collaborative Filtering)

Knowledge, Skill and Abilities:
  • Python Experience: -sklearn and pandas
  • R Programming: -Tidyverse and Tidymodels
  • SQL Programming
  • Business writing and communication Competencies: Organizational or Student Impact:
  • Works on assignments of medium to complex level.
  • Structure project plans and manages cost-effective execution of tasks.
  • Limit errors to prevent impact to client operations, costs, or schedules.
  • This individual will follow established processes and protocols.

Problem Solving & Decision Making:
  • Individual meets department and personal goals with some direction/ supervision.
  • An important player on large technical projects and programs.
  • Uses discretion to help design and implement solutions to somewhat complex problems.

Communication & Influence:
  • Communicates with contacts both within and outside of function on matters that require explanation, interpretation, and advising; typically has responsibility communicating to parties outside of the organization.
  • Works to influence parties within the function at an operational level regarding policies, practices, and procedures.

Leadership & Talent Management:
  • May be responsible for providing guidance, coaching, and training to other employees within the technical area.
  • May manage technical projects at this level, requiring responsibility for the delegation of work and reviewing others' work products.

Minimum Qualifications:
  • Subject matter expert or experience in creating models to predict human behavior in a social science or business context.
  • Typically requires a technical university degree or equivalent experience.
  • 4 years of prior relevant experience.
  • Advanced degrees (Master’s or PhD) required in statistics, mathematics, or social sciences.

Department Specific Minimum Qualifications:
  • Graduate degree in quantitative discipline with three years relevant work experience or bachelor's degree in quantitative discipline with seven years relevant work experience.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Physical Requirements:
  • Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
  • Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times.



As an equal opportunity employer, WGU recognizes that our strength lies in our people. We are committed to diversity.

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