Who wants to be a Data Scientist at Miniclip?!

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Small break in the blog posting holiday break to let everyone know that Miniclip is hiring… well… we’ve been hiring for quite a while so I guess it’s not a big surprise. The reason why I’m posting is because we’re looking for a Data Scientist to work with yours truly, while pretending for dramatic effect that you didn’t read the title and are really surprised!

You can see the job description (and apply!) following this link. However I want to give you a bit more information than just the job title and job description.

At Miniclip anyone in the Data Science and Data Engineering teams can be involved in data science projects. Analysts, engineers, scientists and team leads have different operational responsibilities but our major strength is that we work as a multidisciplinary team.

And what data science projects are those you ask? As I see it, Data Scientists build data products. Data products are automated or interactive data centric applications that would not be possible using traditional systems. What on earth does this mean? What about some real examples at Miniclip:

  • UA LTV: An interactive data product that allows business users to analyse predicted LTV across all possible cohort combinations. Business users can also export data to create reports. This export includes the mentioned LTV predictions but also retention rate predictions. This data product was coded in R with Shiny and interacts with S3, Redshift and EC2 instances in AWS. Cute statistic, although the models are very simple, there are 724 of them in the application. At peak it runs more than 200.000 predictions under 4 minutes. Not too shabby for an interactive application.
  • Fraud Detection: An automated predictive data product coded in R running on an EC2 instance. Although it is a rather simple script, the beauty is that the algorithm was coded in house. Redshift and MySQL are also used.
  • The Super Hyper Secret Mega Project That I Will Not Name: I know… I know… if I’m not going to explain it, why say it? Because of the history and the tech. This is the project I’m currently working on and is the end game of almost a year of prototypes, investigation and analysis. From random forests and SVMs to association rule mining, from Python to R, from local data sets to terabytes of data.
  • User Stats: An interactive data product that I list here because it is NOT predictive. In a nutshell, no dashboard tool could create exactly what our Customer Support team needed… so we did it ourselves! This application queries and builds visualisations across billions of rows of data.

We have many cool projects to build, a lot of things to learn together. If building machine learning models, writing code, building applications and playing games is your thing and you are not afraid of a lot of data, click here and see you soon!

 

Do you want to work on my team?

Going slightly off rail from the typical Tuesday posting because I’m looking for a data analyst for my team. And what better place to announce it than right here in THE blog?!

Check the job description here

But On Games n’ Data wouldn’t be On Games n’ Data if I didn’t try to go a little bit deeper into this. So what can I tell you that the job description doesn’t say already? What can I say that will excite you to apply or tell that data geeky friend of yours that this is really cool?!

Well, for starters, data geeks will feel right at home! We deal and discuss about all things that interact with data. From algorithms to visualisations, from product management to server backends.

Another thing that seems to impress people is the scope and size of our day to day operations. Our super awesome data engineering team, with which you would have the pleasure of interact, collects and treats over 1 billion rows of data from dozens of data sources, related with our 22 million daily active users.

What do our data analysts do with it? From ad hoc analysis to user research, from randomised controlled trials to reporting dashboards. We use mostly R (yep, coding is a pre-requisite) and work with large scale databases in Redshift and MySQL.

If this sounds like something you’d love to do or know someone who would, here’s the link again… just in case… Check the job description here

Life at Miniclip

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I was raised by my grandmother. A couple of weeks ago I was telling her about my work and the place where I work… which is not exactly a secret that it is Miniclip. “Do they pay your social security?” – she asked. I smilled and nodded.

For people of my grandmother’s generation (she’s over 80 by the way), the name Miniclip doesn’t say much. To her I do video games and games are kid’s things. She worries about job security and that I don’t have a “real job” like the “nice work in the computers company” I once had.

Other people, my age and below, know Miniclip. All of them play or played video games. What is difficult for them is to understand how can work be fun. How can the workplace be relaxed.

Here’s a job advertising promo video with images captured at Miniclip Portugal, where I work.

Wondering why I’m showing all this? Well Miniclip is growing fast and we have a bunch of job positions to be filled. Here’s what we have right now for Portugal:

But there’s more! If you live in UK, there are job openings for our London office and if you live in Italy, there are job openings in our Genoa office.

 

The team behind one year of sharing

This is the fifth time I’m writing this post. It is important that I get it right. It’s a tad emotional and personal so… you have been warned!

Let me tell you how the idea for this post started… A couple of months ago I was surprised by Quora, a site of knowledge sharing, with the distinction of Top Writer. I love Quora and I was both happy and honoured. My family and friends heard me all… weekend… long… babbling about it.

In the following Monday I told my team and thanked them. That’s when this post started to form. You see… every time someone reads an answer on Quora or a post in this blog, every time someone learns something that I share about our experience at Miniclip it is the work of the teams under BI, mine included, that make it possible.

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This is my personal thank you to Paul, Jonathan, Nuno, Inês, João, Miguel and Henrique, the BI managers, analysts and engineers.

I’ve been purposefully sharing our data adventure for about a year now. Without them I would have close to nothing to share. Without them there would be no talks, no Quora answers, no tweets, no Games N Data blog posts.

It is an honour and a privilege to be the messenger of their awesomeness!

Mobile Game Analytics: Miniclip’s Story

 

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As I wrote sometime ago, Microsoft organised Game Dev Camp 2015, an event for the Portuguese game development community. This post and next week’s post are about that but to write them I wanted to see all the 30 talks.

This post is simply my talk there. Kinda egocentric I know but next week I’ll post my favourite talks from that event and will exclude myself from it.

In this talk I tell the full story of implementing analytics in Miniclip, from the early stages to the current state but the take away points were the mistakes we did and I hope everyone can learn from. So without further ado and since WordPress is giving me a hard time with videos, here’s the link to the video of the talk.

Microsoft Game Dev Camp 2015

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Some years ago, I was one of the moderators of GameDevPT. A Portuguese gamedev forum where new blood, veterans, wannabes and professionals helped and networked in the ways that were only possible through the accessibility of the pre Facebook forums. We made a lunch reservation for 18 people the last time I helped to arrange a gamedev event in Portugal. One of them was brought by his mother who sat in separate table. This was many years ago… 9 maybe…

Since then I’m afraid I lost contact with the Portuguese gamedev community. The reasons for that are irrelevant but all of them are my own responsibility.

A couple of months ago during a rambling analytics phone call with the great guys from Bica Studios, the sentence “you should talk in the next Game Dev Camp” was heard. The point was that this Game Dev Camp was about taking the next step in Portugal and analytics is a big part of taking the next step in many industries, gaming included.

A couple of weeks went by and I was involved in a conversation at Miniclip about this particular event. Miniclipers that had something to give to the gamedev community stepped up to give talks.

Some years ago we were 18 people in a lunch. Here’s what I saw in 2015.

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This was the crowd for the keynote. I checked many photos and none really shows how packed that room was and many were left outside. There were more than 400 people attending, 35 speakers, multiple tracks with simultaneous talks. There was a showroom with a lot of fine games. All under the umbrella of Microsoft with the support of Microsoft and the event partners Miniclip, B5, Bica Studios, Nerd Monkeys, Raindance Studios, Lisboa Games Week and Emergency Agency.

But the guy in the middle of the tornado was Miguel Vicente to whom I have to personally thank for all the hard work in making this a reality. Here he is thanking the partners during the keynote!

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So… what happened there?

Quite a lot! Did I mentioned once we were 18? 400+ is what I call a pretty good forward step for a 10 million people country. To me the most relevant thing was that many of the people I met a decade ago, those that introduced me to gamedev, are still here and they were speaking with people from Unity, Gameloft, Miniclip and Microsoft but also that hundreds more joined and are building an industry.

What we had was a mix of gamedev veterans plus people from all walks of gamedev, plus the ones that joined larger companies in the industry, plus their networks sharing knowledge.

And free waffles… never forget the free waffles!

I’ll post links to the talks I found more relevant since everything was recorded… ain’t that neat, huh?!

My role

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I was a speaker in this event. A proud one I might add. I do apologise for the extremely ugly man in the photo but to this day no camera is so amazing that can make me look any better. My talk was about how Miniclip went from having no analytics to a company wide data science team. The good things and bad things, the challenges so that anyone interested is aware of it.

I believe that my role goes a bit further than this talk. This event was a bit emotional to me and I left it with a feeling of responsibility to the community. I work on a successful company doing something that is rare and valuable. I have a fantastic team and a great department with whom I learn something new almost every day. If we were in England or Germany we would still be great but I doubt we could make a big difference in the local gaming industry hubs. But we are in Portugal and I feel I personally owe it to the community.

See you all around and until next year!