Meet the iHeartRadio Engineers: Alan Sum
Earlier this year, we launched a series that profiles our hardworking iHeartRadio engineering and product team. Today, we’re excited to chat with Alan Sum, Home and Consumer Electronics Product Manager! Alan attended Rutgers University, where he studied computer science, and lives at the beach in New Jersey in a town called Sea Bright.
Why did you choose to become a product manager?
What attracted me to the position of Product Manager for iHeartMedia’s Home/CE (Consumer Electronics) division was the challenge of creating the best iHeartRadio user experiences for various platforms. Each project provides new challenges and obstacles which keep me on my toes and ensure that I’m constantly learning. Also, I get the opportunity to work with the biggest names in technology, like Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft. The geek in me would have to admit that getting to play with the latest consumer electronics like TVs, tablets, speakers and consoles is a pretty great perk as well.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on at iHeartRadio?
Oddly enough, the most exciting project I’ve worked on has nothing to do with my Home/CE comfort zone. Earlier in the year I was given an opportunity to shepherd a project that emerged from one of our iHeartRadio hack days: iHeartRadio Family. The app, which launched in November, was an opportunity to work on the first standalone product since our flagship app was released in 2011. Bringing to life our vision of a functionally simple, yet visually smooth and fun app for kids was both challenging and rewarding.
The best part of the experience was working with a range of really talented people who I don’t generally work with — like the iOS, Android, programming and marketing teams. Throughout the process, I learned so much about mobile design, iOS/Android development, station creation/content, go-to-market strategies and promotions.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring engineers?
If you can, find a mentor. Find someone in a position that you would like to reach, or someone who has knowledge of a position you would like to be in, and talk with them! If you would like to be an engineer, find an engineer you respect and admire, and learn what it takes to reach their position. A great mentor can help your career more than any book or schooling!
What has your favorite iHeartRadio music moment (e.g. concert, event, celebrity meeting) been so far?
Seeing Ludacris in our office theater. My wife really wanted to attend the performance, and I was surprised at how many of his songs I recognized during the concert. It was pretty cool to see such a popular artist performing a private show in our office.
What’s your favorite iHeartRadio Artist Station to jam out to while you work?
Stay tuned for next month’s edition of “Meet the Engineers” to learn more about life as an iHeartRadio engineer. To join the iHeartRadio engineering team, visit our Jobs page.