Senior Data Scientist, ML Explainability



Software Engineering, Data Science
Remote · United States
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2023

About Upstart

Upstart is a leading AI lending marketplace partnering with banks and credit unions to expand access to affordable credit. By leveraging Upstart's AI marketplace, Upstart-powered banks and credit unions can have higher approval rates and lower loss rates across races, ages, and genders, while simultaneously delivering the exceptional digital-first lending experience their customers demand. More than two-thirds of Upstart loans are approved instantly and are fully automated.

Upstart is a digital-first company, which means that most Upstarters can live and work anywhere in the U.S. We also have offices in San Mateo, California; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

Most Upstarters join us because they connect with our mission of enabling access to effortless credit based on true risk. If you are energized by the impact you can make at Upstart, we’d love to hear from you!

The Team and Role:

Upstart’s ML Integrity Explainability team is focused on research and development related to AI Explainability. This includes researching and developing the methodology behind how we explain model-based credit decisions. This function is essential for Upstart to ensure that our models are compliant, robust, and are able to engender trust with a variety of external stakeholders, including lending partners, investors, and consumers.

As a Senior Data Scientist at Upstart, you will be an integral part of the Explainability team ensuring Fair Lending Compliance of model based decisions on the platform, developing and maintaining of our methodology for issuing Adverse Action Notices (AANs), monitoring production performance of our models, and building explainability tools for internal and external partners.

Position location: This role is available in the following locations: Remote

Time zone requirements: The team operates on the East/West coast time zones.

Travel requirements: This team has regular onsite collaboration sessions. These occur 3-5 days per three months at the San Mateo, Columbus or Austin office.

How you’ll make an impact

  • Monitor production models and mitigate performance issues
  • Design and implement explainability metrics to track model performance
  • Build explainability tools for internal and external partners
  • Develop methodologies to accurately and robustly explain model based credit decisions

Minimum Qualifications

  • Strong academic credentials with Masters in statistics, machine learning, mathematics, computer science, or other quantitative areas of study
  • Some experience and knowledge in machine learning explainability methodologies
  • Knowledge in applied statistical methods (e.g., hypothesis testing, linear and logistic regression)
  • Ability to work with and acquire data from relational databases to answer business questions
  • Comfort with programming in Python
  • Demonstrated business acumen with strong written and verbal communication skills given the role’s interaction with stakeholders in Legal and Compliance
  • Ability to operate at a speedy pace in research or implementation
  • Numerically-savvy and smart, with an appropriate tolerance for risk
  • Enthusiasm for and alignment with Upstart’s mission and values

Preferred Qualifications

  • 4+ years of data science experience with an understanding of machine learning explainability or fairness
  • Expert in Python and SQL
  • Deep knowledge of machine learning explainability and prior industry experience in the field
  • Strong sense of intellectual curiosity balanced with humility, drive and teamwork

What you'll love:

  • Competitive Compensation (base + bonus & equity)
  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with Health Savings Account contributions from Upstart
  • 401(k) with 100% company match up to $4,500 and immediate vesting and after-tax savings
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Generous holiday, vacation, sick and safety leave
  • Supportive parental, family care, and military leave programs
  • Annual wellness, technology & ergonomic reimbursement programs
  • Social activities including team events and onsites, all-company updates, employee resource groups (ERGs), and other interest groups such as book clubs, fitness, investing, and volunteering
  • Catered lunches + snacks & drinks when working in offices



At Upstart, your base pay is one part of your total compensation package. The anticipated base salary for this position is expected to be within the below range. Your actual base pay will depend on your geographic location–with our “digital first” philosophy, Upstart uses compensation regions that vary depending on location. Individual pay is also determined by job-related skills, experience, and relevant education or training. Your recruiter can share more about the specific salary range for your preferred location during the hiring process.

In addition, Upstart provides employees with target bonuses, equity compensation, and generous benefits packages (including medical, dental, vision, and 401k).

United States | Remote - Anticipated Base Salary Range
$141,300$195,500 USD

Upstart is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer. We are dedicated to ensuring that underrepresented classes receive better access to affordable credit, and are just as committed to embracing diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices. We celebrate all cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, and know that we can only become better together.