I work for a social media startup in Asia. It has grown very rapidly to 5 million subscribers with 200k new subscribers every month. It has similar functionality to Facebook but built for a different purpose. Our "Head of Growth" and "Head of Marketing" are using CMS and marketing tools like LeanPlum and other APIs/Cloud tools to get typical social media app and user data.
Since I've already been using machine learning APIs and I'm already fluent in Java, Python and C++ I've been considering studying data science and analytics for a year and transitioning to the role of Data Scientist or Data Engineer.
What are the first steps a social media start up can do to perform data analytics? Could we do a lot of analytics without setting up a Hadoop platform? To what extent could analytics be done only using a few tools like Tableau, R, and Python? How would the data be better or different than current data obtained from basic third-party CMS and cloud tools? Would a company need a data engineer before a data scientist?
If the company is not huge like LinkedIn, AirBnb or Facebook etc is there even a need for a "Data Scientist" or Data Engineer? A lot of these positions are created just to get series funding.
What technical and practical advice can you give?
Thank you so much.