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Staying updated in any field is akin to surviving in it.

And when it is a field like data science that is constantly evolving and requires the entrants to be on their toes always, you can’t afford to take the backseat and cut-off.

Don’t want to be the motley of the in thingDATA SCIENCE?

Follow the veterans and read a lot. This will be the easiest way to have an upper hand and a rewarding career as a data scientist.


This way you would know what not to do. Knowing what to do is always easy. Right?

Presenting the Top 20 Data Scientists You Need to Follow

Do you know who is leading the giant ship of data science? Who all are THE NAMES in this field enriched with predictive analysis?

Presenting to you the list of top 20 data scientists, in alphabetical order.

This list doesn’t follow any specific criterion and is just based on how active they are on social media. Look up the following data scientists.

1. Adam Coates
Adam Coates: Director at Apple

Connect with Adam

Twitter: @adampaulcoates
Personal Website

PhD. (2012), Stanford University

– Director, Apple
– Operating Partner, Khosla Ventures
– Director, Silicon Valley AI Lab (Baidu Research)

– Co-developed an autonomous helicopter
– Creating Perception Systems for Household Robots
– Developed Early Large-scale Deep Learning Methods
– Co-created Deep Learning Software for High-Performance Computing Systems with the Stanford team

Adam is a machine learning enthusiast with a keen interest in Control & Robotics and Deep Learning.

He is always ready to contribute to the development of machine learning, artificial intelligence and deep learning. With a rich and grand career of 7 years and continuing, he has worked on numerous projects in these fields.

Credited to his names are some of the very interesting applications in these fields like self-driving cars, object detection, AI-based speech recognition systems and unsupervised learning to name a few.

He is the famed student of one of the world’s most famous computer scientists, Andrew Ng.

2. Allen Bonde
Allen Bonde: VP and Research Director at Forrester

Connect with Allen



Master’s Degree (Engineering), University of Virginia

VP and Research Director, Forrester
Co-founder, Wyng (formerly Offerpop)
– Was a Data Scientist in the Telecom sector, at the onset of his career

– A US patent for the use of big data and AI in the telecom sector
– Extensive research work on SaaS and AI
– Eminent author and speaker; has 150 publications to his credit and delivered great talks across continents

With a glorious career spanning almost 3 decades and still counting, Allen is a pioneer when it comes to practical application of big data, artificial intelligence and SaaS.

In his current capacity, he applies the use of artificial intelligence-based automation in driving engagement for customer-facing apps.

His constant aim is to implement data-driven approaches in building and starting products and brands. Being a big advocator of agile methods, Allen prefers to use podcasts and short-form videos to talk to the world and share his insights.

3. Andreas Mueller
Andreas Mueller: Introduction to Machine Learning with Python

Connect with Andreas

Twitter: @amuellerml

PhD. Computer Science (2014), University of Bonn

Associate Research Scientist, Data Science Institute, Columbia University
Visiting Scientist, Austrian Institute of Science and Technology
Machine Learning Scientist, Amazon Development Center, Germany

– Author of the Bestseller “Introduction to Machine Learning with Python”
– Core developer and member, technical committee for Scikit-learn
– Creator and maintainer of PyStruct
Action Editor, Journal of Machine Learning Research

Andreas, a Machine Learning Scientist and Software Engineer, is on a coherent mission to provide equal access for all to high-quality machine learning algorithms, encourage reproducible science and reduce the hindrances for the entry of machine learning algorithms.

Andreas is one of the most active speakers and contributors in the world of artificial learning. He has regularly contributed towards the practical applications of data science and machine learning.

Andreas is committed to make the intricate technology easily accessible and comprehensible.

4. Andrew Ng
Andrew Ng: Coursera

Connect with Andrew

Personal Website

PhD. (2002), University of California

– Co-founder, Coursera
– Former VP and Chief Scientist, Baidu
Launched a series of online courses in deep learning

– Founded the Google Brain project at Google that developed large scale artificial neural network
– Worked on Autonomous Helicopter Project of the Stanford University
– Worked on Stanford Artificial Intelligence Project (STAIR)
– Made knowledge of data science available to all, through online courses in Coursera
– Andrew Ng is the Mentor and Teacher of Adam Coates, a Director at Apple.

Having more than 100 research papers, in robotics, machine learning, etc., to his credit, he is one of the most prominent contributors to the field of robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.

Due to his noteworthy and meticulous work, the world now has some of the most distinct applications of AI, ML and DL. These include autonomous driving, one of the most popular open-source robotics platforms- ROS and speech recognition systems.

One of his most famous projects, Google Brain, resulted in the latest speech recognition systems.

5. Angelica Lim
Angelica Lim: Artificial Intelligence

Connect with Angelica

Personal Website

PhD. (2014), Kyoto University

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Simon Fraser University
Software Engineering Manager (R&D), SoftBank Robotics, Europe
Research Intern, Honda Research Institute, Japan
Software Engineering Intern, Google

– CITEC Award for Excellence in Doctoral HRI Research, 2014
– NTF Award for Entertainment Robots and Systems (IROS), 2010
– Google Canada Anita Borg Scholarship, 2008
– Published A Recipe for Empathy
– Has a patent for Gaze and Filled Pause Detection for Smooth Human-Robot Conversations

A computer science Professor and self-confessed robot geek, Angelica Lim loves to develop AI software for robots to connect in an intelligent yet light manner.

Her research work revolves around the assumption if robots had feelings, how it would work. She addresses this area with a combination of Machine Learning, Developmental Psychology and Neuroscience.

Angelica has worked for close to a decade in the field of AI and Robots.

One of the pioneers in the field who stresses on the positive aspect of the use of AI, she has created many robots that will make use of emotional intelligence when dealing with the humans.

6. Bernard Marr
Bernard Marr: Artificial Intelligence

Connect with Bernard

Personal Website

Degrees in IT, business and engineering

– Internationally acclaimed Author and Speaker
Member of the Dean’s Council, Lancaster University Management School
Teacher at Oxford University, ICAEW, Irish Management Institute and BPP

– Ranked in the Top 5 Business Influencers of the World
Authored 16 books, noteworthy articles and reports
– Received many awards like CMI Management Book of the Year Award, WHSmith Best Business Book Award
– Owns Bernard Marr & Co.

One of the world’s most coveted strategic technology and business advisor, speaker and author, Bernard also pens down a periodic column in the Forbes. He is also a regular contributor to the World Economic Forum.

His aim is to help companies make intelligent use of data in their businesses, enhance business performance and make sense of the use of the latest technologies like Blockchains, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.

To reach out to his 2 million social media followers and keep them effectively engaged, he is actively sharing content across his social media channels.

7. Bill Schmarzo
Bill Schmarzo: Dean of Big Data

Connect with Bill



MBA (Management Systems), University of Iowa

– CTO, IoT and Analytics, Hitachi Vantara
– Professor (Honorary), NUI Galway
– CTO, Dell EMC Global Services Big Data Practice

– Veteran in the field of big data and analytics
– Penned a series on analytic applications
Faculty for the course “Thinking Like a Data Scientist” at TDWI

Given his magnitude of experience in the realm of advanced analytics and solutions for almost four decades, Bill’s twitter byname Dean of Big Data is aptly justified.

In his current capacity, he helps customers make the most of analytics and IoT to strengthen digital business transformations. He is an avid speaker on how to optimally utilize big data and advanced analytics to stimulate the important business initiative of an organization.

“Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science” and “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business” are the two bestsellers that Bill wrote.

8. Dean Abbott
Dean Abbott Chief Data Scientist Data Mining

Connect with Dean



M.A.M. (Applied Mathematics), University of Virginia

– Co-founder, CTO and Chief Data Scientist, SmarterHQ
– President and Founder, Abbott Analytics / Abbott Consulting
– Senior Research Scientist, Elder Research, Inc.

– Competent instructor of a variety of seminars and tutorials on data mining
– Created and assessed the algorithms to be used in pattern recognition and data mining products.
– Authored “Applied Predictive Analytics: Principles and Techniques for the Professional Data Analyst” book

World-renowned data mining expert with more than two decades of experience in practical implementation of the data visualization, data mining and data preparation methodologies, Dean Abbott is a master in dealing with practical problems related to large amount of data, like fraud detection and survey analysis etc.

He also works as a consultant in the realm of data mining related software companies. Dean offers a critical analysis and evaluation of an organization’s present features.

  1. DJ Patil
    DJ Patil Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (2001), University of Maryland College Park


    • Head of Technology, Devoted Health
    • U.S. Chief Data Scientist, The White House
    • Chief Security Officer, Chief Scientist and Head of Data Products, LinkedIn


    • Young Global Leader (2014), World Economic Forum
    • Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
    • Has several patents like Methods and systems to generate graphical representations of relationships between persons based on transactions, Methods and systems to detect and report fraud in real time and many others, credited to his name.

    Dhanurjay Patil or DJ Patil is the co-author of the famous “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” HBR article.

    He has an illustrious career with many big names like Skype, LinkedIn, PayPal and many others.

    Entrusted with the responsibility of the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist by then President Barack Obama, DJ Patil aims at changing the healthcare system with the introduction of new healthcare reforms.

    He aspires to build innovative and state-of-the-art products with the help of data, design and technology.

  2.  Harry Shum
    Harry Shum Bing Artificial IntelligenceSocial Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (1996), Carnegie Mellon University

    Experience: EVP, Microsoft AI and Research


    • International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK
    • Elected to National Academy of Engineering, USA
    • Published more than 200 research papers on computer vision and computer graphics
    • Published critical computer vision papers on ACM SIGGRAPH

    A veteran in the field of AI, Harry is renowned for his research in the field of computer graphics and computer vision.

    He developed the famous search engine, Bing. He is the patron of interactive computer vision research.

    Stressing on innovative research in his field, Harry believes in bringing Artificial Intelligence to the focus and for common use.

    Since the time he started his career in AI research, his constant motive has been to unearth how AI can be used for the maximum benefit of the business and people alike.

  3. Hilary Mason
    Hilary Mason Cloudera
    Social Media Presence

    Education: B.A. (Computer Science), Grinnell College, Iowa


    • GM (Machine Learning), Cloudera
    • Founder and CEO, Fast Forward Labs
    • Data Scientist in Residence, Accel Partners


    • TechFellows Engineering Leadership Award
    • Features in the Fortune 40 Under 40 Ones to Watch List
    • Among the Top 100 Most Creative Business Persons (Fast Company)

    Hilary is a veteran at an young age and her extent of experience defines the catchphrase on her Twitter account- “I love data and cheeseburgers.”

    She is an expert in data science and machine learning and related technologies.

    Hilary is an active data scientist who advises companies on technology and investment related opportunities in data science.

  4.  Ian Goodfellow
    Ian Goodfellow Apple Google Brain
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (2014), Université de Montréal


    • Director (Machine Learning Special Projects), Apple
    • Senior Staff Research Scientist, Google
    • Software Engineering Intern, Google


    • Features in 100 Global Thinkers list of Foreign Policy, 2019
    • Cited in the 35 Innovators under 35 list of MIT Technology Review
    • Lead author of Deep Learning

    A researcher in the Machine Learning space, Ian had an illustrious career in the last decade and continues to have an enviable profile.

    He is currently working as the Director Machine Learning, Special Projects in Apple.

    He was even employed in the coveted Google Brain project as a research scientist. He is famous for his invention of Generative Adversarial Networks.

    This methodology is used in Facebook in the Machine Learning space.

    He brought to light security loopholes in the machine learning systems and created a system through which Google Maps could automatically interpret addresses from the images clicked by Street View Cars.

  5.  Jeff Dean
    Jeff Dean: Head, Google Artificial Intelligence
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (1996), University of Washington


    • Senior Fellow, (Google’s Artificial Intelligence Division)
    • Senior Member (Technical), mySimon Inc.
    • Member (Research Staff), Compaq Computer Corporation
    • Research Assistant


    • Introduced TensorFlow, the famous ML framework of developers
    • Elected (2009), National Academy of Engineering
    • Fellow (2009), Association for Computing Machinery
    • ACM-Infosys Foundation Award (2012)

    Jeff is a widely known name in the field of computer science and currently heads the AI division of Google.

    He established and headed “Google Brain”, a group that researches on large-scale artificial neural networks. His work revolves around microprocessor architecture, information retrieval and profiling tools.

    Jeff Dean has an hands on experience with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Following him is the right decision, if you wish to stay updated with the latest developments in the field. 

  6.  Kirk Borne
    Dr. Kirk Borne: Big Daddy of Data Science
    Social Media Presence

    Education:  PhD. (1981), California Institute of Technology


    • Principal Data Scientist and Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton
    • Executive Committee Member, Astroinformatics and Astrostatics International Organizations
    • VP/Astronomer/Data Scientist, ARIES Scientific


    • Top Big Data Science and AI Influencer, 2019
    • Top Worldwide Digital Influencer, 2018-2019
    • Top Big Data Worldwide Influencer
    • No. 2 Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Worldwide Influencer

    With close to 4 decades of experience in Astrophysics, Data Mining and Data Science, he is rightly the Big Daddy of data science.

    Dr. Kirk Borne aims at making data science accessible and comprehensible for all.

    He loves to explore, develop and test various researches, theories and evidence in the field of data science.

    In his various capacities, he has been a data scientist across various verticals like customer engagement, human resources, thought leadership, risk mitigation, data technologies and others.

    To realize his aim of educating people in the field of analytics and data science, he frequently shares insights, articles and posts on his social media channels to keep his followers effectively engaged.

  7. Lillian Pierson
    Lillian Pierson: Big Data for Dummies
    Social Media Presence

    Education: BS (Environmental Engineering), University of Central Florida


    • Data Strategist (Specializing in Advising and Training), Data Mania
    • Founder and Technical Consultant,
    • Spatial Data Scientist and Data Analytics Engineer, Orange County Government


    • Published Big Data for Dummies (Dell Edition) and Managing Big Data Workflows for Dummies
    • Worked in the technical domain of the US Navy

    A perfect example of the transition from engineering to data science, Lillian is rightly the “Big Data Gal”; aptly displayed in her Twitter moniker.

    Working across domains like data strategy services (B2B), business coaching for tech professionals (B2C) and technical training and workshops on big data science topics (B2B), there is hardly anything she hasn’t ventured into.

    Lillian inspects and recommends optimal engineering and data science operations solutions to individuals and businesses.

    She conducts workshops and provides training in the realm of data science, analytics and big data.

  8.  Monica Rogati
    Monica Rogati: Artificial Intelligence
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (2008), Carnegie Mellon University


    • Independent Data Science and AI Advisor
    • VP (Data), Jawbone
    • Senior Data Scientist, LinkedIn
    • Logic Design Assistant, NASA Microelectronics Research Center


    • Features in the 100 Most Creative People in Business list by Fast Company
    • Features in the Big Data All-Stars
    • Published An Evaluation of Adaptive Filtering in the Context of Realistic Task-Based Information Exploration
    • Has a Methods and systems for identifying similar people via a business networking service patent on her name

    The brain behind the “people you may know” feature on LinkedIn, Monica is an independent artificial intelligence and data science advisor.

    She facilitates several organizations on their strategic and technical AI and data requirements.

    Monica is a specialist in natural language processing, text mining, social network analysis, machine learning, and recommender systems.

    She is always enthusiastic in creating actionable insights, innovative products and incredible stories from data.

    She led a team of top engineers and data scientists as the Vice President of Jawbone.

    Being endorsed for Machine Learning by Dr Kirk Borne, for Data Science by DJ Patil and for Data Mining by Claudia Perlich speaks volumes about her competence in these domains.

  9.  Peter Norvig
    Peter Norvig: Google
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (1985), University of California, Berkeley


    • Engineering Director, Google
    • Visiting Lecturer, Stanford University
    • Head (Computational Sciences Division), NASA
    • Senior Research Scientist, Sun Microsystems


    • Listed in the Academic Faculty and Advisors, Singularity University
    • Author of Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog
    • Famous for his Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation

    The co-author of the coveted title Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach and a Director of Research at Google, Peter Norvig is a specialist in the field of artificial intelligence.

    He is one of the developers of JScheme and has more than fifty publications in the different realms of concentrating on artificial intelligence, software engineering, natural language processing, computer science and information retrieval.

    His belief is that there still needs to be a revolution in teaching backed by computer tools.

  10.  Ronald van Loon
    Ronald van Loon
    Social Media Presence

    Education: MSc, Nyenrode University


    • Director, Adversitement
    • VP (Sales and Marketing), O2MC I/O – Prescriptive Web Computing
    • CEO & Co-founder, ContentForces


    • Top 5 Global Thought Leaders on Technology, 2019
    • Biggest Influencers in IT-Consulting, 2019
    • Digital Scouting’s Top 20 Digital Influencer, 2019
    • Top 2 Analytics and Business Intelligence Influencers to Follow in 2019

    A thought leader and renowned expert in the field, Ronald has been working with various data-driven organizations to develop value for their business and achieve one goal after another.

    He is in the Top 10 business intelligence, IoT, global big data, data science and analytics influencers.

    Ronald is a coveted author, writing on these subjects.

    An endorsement from Dr. Kirk Borne for Big Data on LinkedIn speaks volumes about his work and credibility in this field.

  11.  Sebastian Raschka
    Sebastian Raschka
    Social Media Presence

    Education: PhD. (2017), Michigan State University


    • Assistant Professor of Statistics, University of Wisconsin Madison
    • Research Collaborator, MSU i-PRoBe Lab (Machine Learning and Deep Learning)
    • Temporary Research Consultant, Protein Structural Analysis and Design Lab


    • Developed predictive modeling practical applications in Biology and Biomedicine
    • Machine Learning Application to address issues in Biomedical Sciences
    • ACM Best of Computing Award (2016) for his bestseller “Python Machine Learning”

    With privacy protection and face recognition as the central ideas, Sebastian is continuously working on the development of learning architectures to tackle the issues in the biometrics field.

    A machine learning researcher and teacher at heart, he loves to write, teach and stay updated about the latest in the field.

    In addition to this, he works towards making people, who don’t have a machine learning background, understand the data-driven solutions.

    He is an avid speaker on Python, machine learning and data science.

  12.  Yann LeCun
    Yann LeCun: Chief Scientist Facebook

 Social Media Presence

Education: PhD. (1987), Pierre and Marie Curie University


  • VP and Chief Scientist, Facebook
  • Professor, New York University
  • Co-founder and Advisor, Element Inc.
  • Department Head, AT&T Labs Research


  • Member , US National Academy of Engineering
  • Harold Pender Award by the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
  • Doctor Honoris Causa by IPN Mexico, 2016
  • PAMI Distinguished Researcher Award, 2015
  • IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award, 2014
  • Published Feature Learning and Deep Architectures: New Directions for Music Informatics

The famous Chief of AI at Facebook, Yann LeCun is a computer scientist from France. He developed Lush, a programming language, along with Leon Bottou.

Yann is a researcher, R&D manager, and professor.

His main work is in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, deep learning, data mining, computational neuroscience, scientific advising, intelligent data analysis and many others.

Yann is the founding father of convolutional nets and is widely recognized for his work in computer vision and optical character recognition using convolutional nets.

This brings us to the end of the list.

These are the data scientists you should start following….. NOW!

These will serve as an inspiration in your aim to become data scientist.

I might have missed out on some credible data science influencers in this list.

Who else do you think should be there in this list? Why do you think so? Who are your favorite veterans or masters in the field?

Do share your list and the supporting reasons in the comment box below.


Senior Content Writer @INSAID. Data Science and AI enthusiast who loves to read, write and converse.

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