Data Science Leader

Type vacature: Regular
City: Others
Hours per week: 32-40
Education: Bachelor's degree (HBO Bachelor)
Apply before: 12/13/2021



KLM wants to become the most data & technology driven airline in the world. Changing our way of working, embracing data science and analytics and the right positioning of the people in our new Data & Technology organization is key in achieving this ambition.

The core of this new organization are business platforms, consisting of product teams organized around business processes, whereby business and IT are together end-to-end responsible for the digital products and services that support those business processes. You may choose between platform HR or Flight.


What are you going to do?

The Data Science Leader is a senior Data Scientist with a background in either Machine Learning or Operations Research that combines hands-on contributions in models and code in the platform for about 50% of his/her time with leading a group of up to 7 Data Scientists and Analysts the other 50% of his/her time. The Data Science Leader inspires and leads by example and will coach and mentor Data Scientists and Data Analysts, with a strong focus on craftsmanship and operations research, machine learning and analytics expertise.

 The key result areas of the Data Science Leader are:

  • You spend 50% of your time on Data Science or Analytics tasks, divided between hands-on code contributions to products, designing optimization and prediction models and supporting the Director of Technology in defining modelling strategies within the platform. Being an expert on data science is therefore a hard requirement of this job.
  • You take the lead for complex optimization and machine learning tasks and set direction, design and guidelines for the data scientists to follow. In doing so, you are a role model for data scientists regarding the craftsmanship: approach, methodology, tools, technology, modelling choices and best practices.
  • You are responsible for the quality and performance delivered to the teams by the individuals reporting to you.
  • You support Communities of Practice for both Data Science and Analytics which catalyze the spreading of new ideas and technologies, best practices, modelling strategies, analytics tooling, and anything else that pushes or keeps the craftsmanship at the leading edge.
  • You foster a culture where state-of-the-art approaches, tooling and technologies are applied as fits with the mission of the business platform, the KPI's and desired impact, and wherein exploration, experimentation, curiosity and continuous learning are embedded.
  • You choose modelling approaches and analytical strategies for products, ensuring the right techniques are applied to strike an optimal balance between achieving business goals, realizing functional and technical requirements and managing technical debt, development costs and continuity costs.
  • You ensure that the modelling approach and design choices in products are in accordance with up-to-date industry best practices and in line with platform vision on machine learning and optimization.
  • You support the Director of Technology in identifying, implementing, and evaluating new technologies and analytics strategies for further development of the platform.
  • You are accountable for the well-being and job satisfaction for all direct staff, driving their personal development, craftsmanship, career development, mobility and talent management.
  • You are responsible for best setup of Data Scientists and Data Analysts within platform product teams, taking into account the mix of people and roles, internal vs hired staff, choice of suppliers, choice of location (onsite, near-shore, off-shore ...) in alignment with the vision of platform leadership.

Your profile

  • We are looking for senior craftsmanship combined with being a servant leader towards Data Scientists and Data Analysts in your care. You have a strong agile mindset, lead by example and promote and stimulate empowerment of teams and people
  • You are capable to inspire, motivate, coach the people to adapt to the new organizational set-up and towards the new way of working
  • You fully embrace and support the D&T design and are ready to bring the design into practice and execution with the Data Scientists and Data Analysts in your care
  • You can improve and contribute to existing ML and optimization libraries to increase their performance. Able to bring new technologies into the platform from idea to production.
  • You can serve as subject matter expert to peers and management
  • You have above average expertise in either Operations Research or Machine Learning. You have up-to date knowledge on state of the art technologies and industry best practices, and you are experienced in applying data science in a business context. You are an expert in optimization or ML model development and industrialization. You contribute to the department vision on predictive and prescriptive modelling
  • You are leading in consulting business on ML and optimization questions.
  • You have profound knowledge and experience in an agile way of working
  • You are fluent in English and preferably also in Dutch
  • You are up-to date on developments in the field of Data Management process and legislation (e.g. GDPR).
  • You are familiar with risk management tools and how to mitigate risks
  • You have the ability to think and act strategically but also to operate & implement change within the platform and around the platform
  • You are prepared to travel to nearshore and offshore locations
  • You should also recognize yourself in the following competences: impact, innovation, technical skill and competence, providing direction, customer-focused, organizational awareness & organizational sensitivity

We offer

  • A challenging role at an unique employer in the Netherlands
  • A gross salary between €4.524,-and € 6.463 per month
  • Plenty of room for personal development and wonderful career opportunities
  • A good pension scheme, end of the year bonus and 8 percent holiday pay
  • 25 days of paid holiday and 5 extra days off
  • Great discounts on airline tickets (if you have been in service for at least 6 months)
  • A travel expenses scheme and free use of the bus network around Schiphol
  • Discount of your health insurance
  • A personal budget for sustainable employability


Ready for your next destination?

Don’t wait any longer, send us your CV before the final boarding call on Monday, December 13th! A motivation letter is no longer required; we will simply ask you a couple of questions during your online application. Within two weeks you will receive a message from us.



If you would like to know more about the position, please contact the hiring manager. Call or e-mail the recruiter for questions about the application process. In both cases, don't forget to mention the vacancy number: #7182.



Daan Lankhout: DAAN.LANKHOUT@KLM.COM or 06-22063843


Details from this vacancy are not to be used for marketing purposes.