Meet the iHeartRadio Engineers: Aviv Goldgeier

Last year, we launched a series that profiles our hardworking iHeartRadio engineering and product team. Today, we’re excited to chat with Aviv Goldgeier, an iHeartRadio intern.
Why did you choose to pursue an internship in data science and machine learning?

I actually got a degree in music and was attracted to interning at iHeartRadio because it allowed me to look at and deal with music in really novel ways. The way people interact with music — whether listening to it, performing it, or recommending it to others — is generally an extremely intuitive process, and it’s been fascinating to use these analytical tools to get under the hood of our own minds.

You've interned twice now at iHeartRadio. What’s the most exciting project you’ve been able to work on?

In my first internship, I helped build a deep neural network that was able to relate the raw sound of a song to how well it aligns with the tastes of real people. It was really trial by fire, and even by the third week I was working with concepts that I would have had no chance of understanding the day I walked in. To have learned so much in so short a time — and in the end, have it work — that was exciting.

What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring data scientists or college students looking to pursue a career in data science?

An interesting aspect of data science is that while it draws heavily on more abstract mathematics and algorithms, it also requires a deep understanding of, and curiosity for, the domain you’re working with. Many data science jobs involve domains that don’t really interest me, like advertising or finance, but there also exist the ones like iHeartRadio, where the whole team and I can use data science to satisfy our curiosity about an existing passion (music). So I would say approach data science as a means, not as an end.

What has your favorite iHeartRadio music moment (i.e. concerts, events, celebrity meeting) been so far?

Every now and then, iHeartRadio has company happy hours at local bars and restaurants, and early on, there was one in which there was a whole band setup. Several of my coworkers had brought their instruments - drums, guitars, saxophones - and were ready to serenade the room with jazz and blues standards. Noticing an unused upright piano in the corner of the room, I was able to hop on and play alongside the rest of them. It was comforting to me that lurking beneath the community of programmers and engineers was a community of musicians surrounding me.

What’s your favorite iHeartRadio Artist Station to jam out to while you work?

Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and The Beatles.