Senior Data Scientist

The Illinois Policy Institute, the leading voice for taxpayers in Illinois, is looking for a Data Scientist to join our team.

This person will love diving into massive data sets, searching for trends and answering questions about what makes the needle move. He or she will be interested in what makes content go viral and how users interact with social media. The successful candidate will also have a treasure trove of new ideas to help discover and sift through new data points to come up with actionable suggestions for improving the Institute’s work.


The data scientist is responsible for extracting, cleaning, and analyzing large datasets, as well as creating custom data sets to be used for research by the Illinois Policy Institute. In addition to gathering new data from a variety of sources, the data scientist will also be responsible for managing pre-existing datasets and ensuring that they are kept up to date. The data scientist will work directly with the Chief Economist and the economics research team but will also handle a variety of small projects from other departments.

We seek:
1. Fluency with databases, scientific computing, predictive modeling and data analysis
2. A good communicator who can visualize insights
3. Good statistical skills with strong theoretical fundamentals
4. A team player

The ideal candidate has a minimum of a master’s degree in Data Science, Computer Science, Political Science, Econometrics, Statistics, Physics, Applied Mathematics or other quantitative field (preference given to more advanced degrees) and a minimum of 4 years of relevant experience working in software development, banking, finance, economics, or public policy.

The candidate must be able to take large quantities of complex data, visualize insights and present them in a simple, digestible format for the entire organization. The candidate must be entrepreneurial and self-accountable, with the ability to take ownership of projects and see them through from start to finish with little instruction. The candidate must possess the desire to work as part of a team to accomplish large goals that require collaboration.

The successful candidate must also possess a track record of managing multiple projects at once.


  • Data mining and data analysis:
    o Extending company’s data with third party sources of information when needed
    o Working with engineers to implement new algorithms, data scraping, collection and storage methods
    o Processing, cleansing, and verifying the integrity of data used for analysis
    o Building complex statistical modeling that show users propensities towards hundreds of different things
    o Presenting results in a clear manner

Required Skills

  • Experience with AWS. AWS certification is a plus (but not required).
  • Good applied statistics skills, such as distributions, statistical testing, regression, etc.
  • Good scripting and programming skills
  • Excellent understanding of machine learning techniques and algorithms
  • Good handle of the following technical skills: Python, SQL, Bash Shell Scripting, Scikit-Learn, Pandas, Numpy, SciPy, PySpark, Apache Spark, Hadoop, Keras, TensorFlow, SageMaker, Natural Language Processing, Bayesian Modeling.
  • Familiarity with relational, distributed and NoSQL database environments
  • Strong project management skills and ability to multi-task, set priorities, and follow through
  • A high sense of urgency
  • Great communication skills
  • Some experience in a nonprofit and/or political setting preferred, but not required
  • Illinois ties welcome, but not required

Roles and Responsibilities (%)

Source, manage and analyze data (70%): In this role, the data scientist will be responsible for creating new datasets from third party sources. The secondary responsibility of the data scientist in this role will be to maintain all datasets already collected by the Institute. Most of these datasets are formed using publicly available government data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or the US Census Bureau. This data is expected to be kept up to date and made available to the entire organization to use for various projects.

Assist other departments (15%): The data scientist, like all other roles at the Institute, will regularly collaborate with other departments. The responsibility of the data scientist will be to assist other departments with their data needs.

Reports and presentations (15%): The data scientist will be expected to produce bi-monthly reports and deliver presentations to disseminate new findings.


A nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, the Illinois Policy Institute’s mission is to transform liberty principles into marketable policies that become law. The Institute’s vision is for Illinois to be a beacon of prosperity that will shine across the Midwest and the nation. To achieve these goals, the Institute generates practical policy solutions to unleash Illinois’ talent and entrepreneurial ability.

Members of the Illinois Policy Institute team are passionate about improving the lives of Illinoisans and believe that individual freedom and liberty are the best means to accomplish this goal. Team members are hardworking and entrepreneurial; they are able to take ownership of their projects and see them through from start to finish without requiring constant supervision. All roles at the Institute are essential to the success of all other departments; on occasion the data scientist may be required to produce projects on an expedited timeline, requiring an irregular work schedule.

Management doesn’t take a top-down approach at the Institute. Projects and new ideas, as well as questions and concerns, are encouraged to come from all members of the team. We hold ourselves accountable and recognize failure without making excuses, however we learn from these experiences and use them to improve the quality of our work.

This position is full-time and located in our downtown Chicago office; Salary and overall compensation is competitive.

Interested candidates should submit the following application materials to Cinda Pensabene (E-Mail:

  • Résumé
  • Cover letter detailing your sincere interest in this position, the mission of the organization, and your salary requirements

While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. No phone calls, please.