• Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Full-time

Company Description

Common Purpose, Uncommon Opportunity. Everyone at Visa works with one goal in mind - making sure that Visa is the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone everywhere. This is our global vision and the common purpose that unites the entire Visa team. As a global payments technology company, tech is at the heart of what we do: Our VisaNet network processes over 65,000 transactions per second for people and businesses around the world, enabling them to use digital currency instead of cash and cheques. We are also global advocates for financial inclusion, working with partners around the world to help those who lack access to financial services join the global economy. Visa's sponsorships, including the Olympics and FIFA™ World Cup, celebrate teamwork, diversity, and excellence throughout the world. If you have a passion to make a difference in the lives of people around the world, Visa offers an uncommon opportunity to build a strong, thriving career. Visa is fueled by our team of talented employees who continuously raise the bar on delivering the convenience and security of digital currency to people all over the world. Join our team and find out how Visa is everywhere you want to be.

Job Description

Position Summary

The Director of Data Science is a lead Data Scientist role in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) team.  We are seeking an innovative and analytical thinker to champion our data-driven strategies for the region. As a senior Data Scientist, you are expected to participate in business development, develop predictive and prescriptive models, develop context-based proto-types and high impact storyboards to promote a data-driven strategy and solutioning approach for the company.

Principal Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership to identify strategic and tactical innovation opportunities around data and data-related processes that will promote fact-based decisioning processes
  • Help set strategic direction and the roadmap for the Data Science group in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Work with regional and global Data Science teams to develop high-quality analytic products and solutions that  promote growth and business development for the region
  • Keep us at the forefront of technical advancement in Data Science by introducing cutting-edge tools and techniques for generating business insights
  • Develop next-generation analytic methods where existing techniques are not adequate to address business challenges
  • Review, direct, guide, and inspire the analytical work of junior members in the team
  • Collaborate with technology partners to build an Analytics Technology Ecosystem that supports advanced decisioning
  • Managing team workload, providing prioritization guidance for project flow to improve process efficiency
  • Manage and grow talent within the team
  • Develop, share, and build global best practices and knowledge management within the team
  • Socialise innovative new ideas and approaches that are scalable and have market demand

Professional Experience

  • Experience working in one or more of the Card Payments markets around the globe
  • Good understanding of the Payments and Banking Industry including aspects such as consumer credit, consumer debit, prepaid, small business, commercial, co-branded and merchant
  • Good knowledge of data, market intelligence, business intelligence, and AI-driven tools and technologies
  • Experience building and cultivating teams
  • Experience planning, organising, and managing multiple large projects with diverse cross-functional teams
  • Demonstrated ability to incorporate new techniques to solve business problems
  • Demonstrated resource planning and delivery skills

Technical Expertise

  • Expertise in distributed computing environments / big data platforms (Hadoop, Elasticsearch, etc.) as well as common database systems and value stores (SQL, Hive, HBase, etc.)
  • Ability to write scratch MapReduce jobs and fluency with Spark frameworks
  • Familiarity with both common computing environments (e.g. Linux, Shell Scripting) and commonly-used IDE’s (Jupyter Notebooks); proficiency in SAS technologies and techniques
  • Strong programming ability in different programming languages such as Python, R, Scala, Java, Matlab, C++, and SQL
  • Experience in drafting solution architecture frameworks that rely on API’s and microservices
  • Familiarity with common data modeling approaches, and ability to work with various datatypes including JSON, XML, etc.
  • Ability to build data pipelines (e.g. ETL, data preparation, data aggregation and analysis) using tools such as NiFi, Sqoop, Ab Initio; familiarity with data lineage processes and schema management tools such as Avro
  • Proficient in some or all of the following techniques: Linear & Logistic Regression, Decision Trees, Random Forests, K-Nearest Neighbors, Markov Chain Monte Carlo, Gibbs Sampling, Evolutionary Algorithms (e.g. Genetic Algorithms, Genetic Programming), Support Vector Machines, Neural Networks, etc.
  • Expert knowledge of advanced data mining and statistical modeling techniques, including Predictive modeling (e.g., binomial and multinomial regression, ANOVA); Classification techniques (e.g., Clustering, Principal Component Analysis, factor analysis); Decision Tree techniques (e.g., CART, CHAID)
  • Deliver results within committed scope, timeline and budget
  • Very strong people/project management skills and experience
  • Ability to travel within CEMEA on short notice

Business Experience

  • Results-oriented with strong problem solving skills and demonstrated intellectual and analytical rigor
  • Good business acumen with a trackrecord in solving business problems through data-driven quantitative methodologies. Experience in payment, retail banking, or retail merchant industries is preferred
  • Team oriented, collaborative, diplomatic, and flexible style
  • Very detailed oriented, is expected to ensure highest level of quality/rigor in reports and data analysis
  • Proven skills in translating analytics output to actionable recommendations and delivery  
  • Experience in presenting ideas and analysis to stakeholders whilst tailoring data-driven results to various audience levels
  • Exhibits intellectual curiosity and a desire for continuous learning

Leadership Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity, maturity and a constructive approach to business challenges
  • Role model for the organization and implementing core Visa Values
  • Respect for the Individuals at all levels in the workplace
  • Strive for Excellence and extraordinary results
  • Use sound insights and judgments to make informed decisions in line with business strategy and needs
  • Leadership skills include an ability to allocate tasks and resources across multiple lines of businesses and geographies. Leadership extends to ability to influence senior management within and outside Analytics groups
  • Ability to successfully persuade/influence internal stakeholders for building best-in-class solutions
  • Change management leadership


  • Minimum of  8+ years of analytics expertise in applying statistical solutions to business problems
  • Post-graduate degree (Masters or PhD) in a Quantitative field such as Statistics, Mathematics, Operational Research, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, or equivalent


Additional Information

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