From the Ivory Tower to the Data Lab: How I Found Meaning Working at Tinder

Posted on:
February 18, 2022
Jennifer Flashman never thought her Ph.D. in sociology would lead to a data science job at Tinder. But she immediately loved the fast-paced, fun workplace, and four years later, she’s our Director of Data Analytics. Below, Jennifer shares how her research and Tinder’s AI-powered features come together to open up a new world for app users.

Working at Tinder turned out to be just what I was looking for. As an academic, I felt like I didn’t impact anything, and the work was interesting but slow. As a data scientist at Tinder, I get to work quickly with a team of people who I can always bounce ideas off. Starting with my very first role, I’ve had a lot of freedom and autonomy and it’s just fantastic. 

Our work is meaningful without being too heavy. What we do isn’t rocket science, but it really does influence people’s lives. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, even while we’re fully engaged in our projects. Ultimately, working here is meant to be an energizing experience.

Tinder helped me get back to a lot of the academic work that I used to do. My research was about friendship networks—how people choose their friends and how those friendships impacted their behavior. On Tinder, we also get to see who people could have chosen, but didn’t. That’s really intriguing.

During the pandemic, we saw a shift from a very global world to a hyperlocal world. Our members were swiping more, messaging more, and spending more time on the app. In response, we launched a feature called Passport. You can now place a pin anywhere in the world and swipe in that location as if you were there. We wanted to help our members to virtually get out of their house, travel, and meet people around the world. 

I love that Tinder makes it easy to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet in real life. Before Tinder, the choices for dating were narrow. Basically, it was either someone you met in a bar, a friend of a friend, or someone at work. AI is fueling our ability to broaden those opportunities and open up a wider world for everyone. 

Interested in joining Tinder’s dynamic Data Science team? Find your ideal role on our careers site.

NOTE: This article was adapted from an interview with Jennifer on Tinder’s engineering blog. You can read—or listen to—the full interview here.

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