Director of Engineering Central Machine Learning
Established in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest ecommerce companies in the world. Booking.com is the largest business within Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG) and accounts for the vast majority of Booking Holdings’ total revenue. Booking Holdings is a leading Fortune 500 e-commerce conglomerate with a market cap of roughly $75 billion (2022). Booking.com currently employs approximately 10,000 employees in 120+ offices in 70 countries worldwide.
With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. Booking.com connects travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts and even tree houses. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in over 40 languages, offer more than 28,984,513 total reported listings, and cover 142,259 destinations in 229 countries worldwide. Each day, more than 1,550,000 room nights are reserved on its platform. So whether travelling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal accommodation quickly and easily, without booking fees and backed up by its promise to price match. Via the customer experience team, customers can reach Booking.com 24/7 for assistance and support in over 40 languages, any time of the day or night.
At Booking.com, we are all involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. The decisions we make are a reflection of our Values - they reflect what is important to us, both as individuals and as an organisation.
When Values are made explicit, they provide clarity on what “good” looks like. And when they are shared, they build unity in a group. They build culture.
Think customer first. We obsess about adding value for our customers - guests, partners, colleagues - to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.
Own it. We deliver on our promises, make informed decisions and prioritize to get the important things done today.
Learn forever. We are resilient, take time to reflect, and seek to learn – from colleagues, from the outside world and from our failures.
Succeed together. We celebrate team success, through making connections, building trust and valuing the diverse perspectives of others.
Do the right thing. We get the right results the right way. For each other, our communities and the world around us.
Profile Director of Engineering Central Machine Learning
The Central Machine Learning organization is accountable for providing machine learning services that are in support of the most impactful ML use cases across Booking.com. These include product recommendations, ranking, value optimization and generative AI. These products have a large impact on both business and on the experience of our customers.
Furthermore, the team is responsible for Machine Learning Governance and Foundational Research.
Our engineering team develops the infrastructure enabling high-velocity and high impact ML on top of modernized and well-governed platforms. These platforms are being consumed by numerous teams in the company.
Due to the growing maturity of our organization we are looking for a Director of Engineering Central Machine Learning who will drive the technology and resource strategy of the team and its roadmaps, be responsible for managing the stakeholder relationships with the various business units that consume the platforms and align with company objectives and planning cycles at the leadership level. In this role, you will collaborate with our Directors of Products and ML and these would be the type of services under your ownership:
- Machine Learning Platforms development across key business domains
- Integration with Booking.com enterprise computation and data architectures
- Foundational capabilities such as monitoring of business metrics, governance, data ingestion and more
This role can be located in Amsterdam or Tel Aviv.
- Technical Strategy: Developing an engineering strategy within a Machine Learning team involves making decisions about algorithms, technologies, tools, and platforms. You will define and execute this strategy to ensure the team's work aligns with the company's vision. Especially important in this context is the alignment with Tech leadership members across crafts and Business units.
- Strategic Planning: providing technical leadership and expertise, setting the strategic direction, technical goals and ensuring alignment with the organization’s and the company’s objectives. You will play a vital role in long-term planning, including technology roadmaps, budgeting, and resource forecasting. This ensures that the team is well-equipped to tackle future challenges and opportunities.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: our work involves collaboration with various business units. You will bridge the gap between technical and non-technical teams, ensuring smooth communication and alignment.
- Team Management: You will oversee the recruitment, onboarding, and development of team members, fostering a strong and cohesive team culture. In particular, you will provide technical mentorship, helping team members enhance their skills and grow in their careers.
- Innovation: Staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in machine learning and related technologies is essential. You will encourage innovation, and facilitate the integration of new techniques into the team's work.
- Communication with Leadership: You will need to effectively communicate the strategy, team's progress, challenges, and achievements to upper management. This will help stakeholders understand the value of the machine learning team's contributions and make informed decisions.
People & Function Leadership
- Lead, inspire and motivate your Engineering function through leading by example and defining what success looks like, giving ownership and providing clarity
- Line manage Senior Managers as well as top technical talent, such as Principals
- Communicate strategy in a compelling manner to multiple teams and relevant collaborators
- Foster inclusion by holding self and others accountable
- Drive people centric initiatives that enable workforce diversity
- Partner in and outside of our Business unit to lead and shape the people agenda across Booking.com
- Create a learning environment by coaching, maintaining two-way feedback, helping people extract and share personal learnings, and supporting teams to constantly adapt
- Foster the engineering culture; innovate, work as a team and celebrate success
- Build a world class team through nurturing, attracting, and retaining tech talent from around the world
- Empower your teams to do their best work at Booking.com
- Be curious, learn, iterate and shape our culture
Technology, Craft & Delivery Leadership
- Lead, influence and own delivery within your function including department goals
- Partner with other functions and business units to deliver on our strategic agenda
- Maintain focus on the end goal, minimise risk and remove roadblocks for our strategic agenda
- Ensure clear and effective communication at all levels: proactively keep all stakeholders informed of what’s happening, upcoming changes, projects, issues and risks
- Foster mastery in engineering craftsmanship across Booking.com including shaping ways of working
- Own Technology-wide topics and help lead and grow the department
- Embed Agile ways of working and values within the organisation
- Identify problems and significantly improve, change or adapt existing methods and techniques drawing from personal experiences and feedback
Technology, Architecture & Product Strategy
- Drive a DevOps culture
- Shape, define and build new services, processes and operational plans in alignment with the needs of the business
- Lead, take ownership and shape the technology strategic objectives and roadmaps
- Be a strategic thought partner and influence stakeholders across the Booking.com and align the strategic direction of your function
- Make decisions in complex and ambiguous situations, and guide others in their decision making by recognizing and challenging assumptions, introducing relevant data and multiple perspectives
- Ensure that the Booking architecture principles and engineering practices are adhered to, and that there is direction and alignment for each product
- Anticipate the need for changes based on context, and set renewed courses of action to engage teams and achieve goals, while striving to make the impact clear and understandable
- Drive innovation in your function
- Own the architecture across your function
Ideal Experience & Skills:
- Significant Tech Leadership experience with deep technical experience at driving frameworks and Machine Learning services
- Thought Leader in reliability engineering, operational excellence and quality engineering with strong understanding of distributed systems and SOA
- Solid understanding of emerging technology trends that enable a world class developer experience and familiarity with the current best in class big data technologies such as data processing pipelines, machine learning platforms for training, building, testing and deploying ML models
- Deep understanding of technology, with a proven track record of designing and building data and machine learning platform at scale
- Proven experience in building, shaping and leading a cross functional Engineering function or business unit at scale and leading a team of top talent in an engineering organization consisting of Frameworks, Middleware, Critical Services, Data Platform, Systems Engineering
- Experience with managing and coaching teams of senior tech leaders including building and growing teams while providing technical direction to the teams (driving tech strategy, making build v buy decisions, prioritizing etc.)
- Familiarity with at least one public cloud technologies and best ways to use them for processing data and ML at scale
- Proven track record to contribute to system design, architecture, and problem solving conversations. Ability to get deep into technical details when needed
- Great collaboration on technology topics; the successful candidate should be able to work with their counterparts in other organisations, including Senior Architects and Fellows
- Demonstrable experience of working in Agile environments and more importantly an Agile culture and ethos
- Well versed in Engineering Craftsmanship and experience with 3rd party vendor relationships and integrations would be an advantage
- Excellent communication skills and strong commercial acumen
OTHER PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
- Character traits: open mind, learning attitude, transparent behavior, positive, overachiever, strong communicator, proactive and collaborative
- Strategic thinker yet focused on execution; able to roll up sleeves to get things done
- Able to function in a fast-moving entrepreneurial environment
- Data driven, experimental, ready to learn and open to change
- Keep the customer at the centre of everything you do
- Good cultural and organizational sensitivity
- Committed to building a diverse, inclusive work environment
If your application is successful, your personal data may be used for a pre-employment screening check by a third party as permitted by applicable law. Depending on the vacancy and applicable law, a pre-employment screening may include employment history, education and other information (such as media information) that may be necessary for determining your qualifications and suitability for the position.