Kent State Alumnus, Spotify Employee Talks Data With Emerging Media and Technology Class

As Spotify users across the world took a deep dive into their memorable listening moments of 2022 through the audio streaming app’s Wrapped feature, Emerging Media and Technology students at Kent State turned their attention to another side of the platform this past week: its data.

 Kent State alumnus Mike Bowen, ’03, has partnered with Assistant Professor David Silva’s Data in Emerging Media and Technology course for the last several years, and he visited the class Dec. 1 and 6 for discussions and workshop sessions. At Spotify, Bowen is a Principal Quantitative User Researcher and “uses data to help guide and inspire product strategy.”

Bowen came with a question: What might we look for to increase growth on the Spotify platform, and then realize when we’ve been successful?

“And students brainstormed that idea with a senior researcher at Spotify,” Silva said, “who then … came back with data to the class, and then together, analyzed it to try to answer the questions that they brought up and test the ideas that they were developing in class.”

When Bowen reconnected with Kent State several years ago, he said he was drawn to the School of Emerging Media and Technology because it was a future-oriented program of students who might be thinking about data and analysis as a potential career path.

“Jobs in data and analysis are becoming increasingly in demand,” Bowen said, “and the Emerging Media and Technology program is laying the foundation for students to become what I call “full stack” quantitative researchers. This means understanding the role of technology in people’s lives from a human perspective, as well as going deep into the technical aspects of data, from writing dynamic code to wrangle messy data, to statistical modeling, to elegant data visualization and data storytelling to build empathy.”

Silva and his Emerging Media and Technology colleagues said they were thrilled to hear this affirmation from a Spotify employee. 

“When we heard back from Spotify that we were really building a program that was benefitting what they need and what they were looking for in future employees that really told us we were on the right track,” Silva said.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 02:26 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 5, 2023 12:52 PM