Computer Science

Want to Work at Spotify? Here Are the Degrees You’ll Need.

Want to Work at Spotify? Here Are the Degrees You’ll Need.
Spotifiers occupy a wide range of roles in areas covering business development, business support, content, data and analytics, design and user experience, engineering and IT, product management, and sales and marketing. Image from Unsplash
Rina Diane Caballar profile
Rina Diane Caballar April 29, 2019

You may want to get crafty (like, really crafty) with your resume.

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Jessica Bain pulled out all the stops to land a job at Spotify, from curating a playlist showcasing her passion for music to launching a social media campaign in the hopes of getting Spotify’s hiring team to notice her. Sure enough, they did.

Getting creative with your job application will make you stand out, but it ultimately comes down to having the necessary qualifications to do the job—and do it well. In the words of Spotify’s talent acquisition team, “It’s more important to stand out in your resume than to have your resume stand out.”

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re eyeing a career at one of the world’s largest audio streaming platforms. But before you think of sending in that application, you may want to know what the platform’s looking for in its potential employees—including their educational backgrounds.

But first, a bit of background music

Spotify originated in Sweden and launched its app in 2008. As a streaming service, it changed the way people consume music, allowing users digital access instead of physical ownership. The platform has more than 200 million monthly active users, 96 million of which are paid subscribers, and reported an operating profit of around $107 million at the end of 2018.

Spotify has offices across the globe, including in San Francisco, Stockholm, Tokyo, and São Paulo. As of 2018, the company had over 4,000 employees worldwide, and hiring during the fourth quarter focused on its research and development team.

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Backstage at Spotify

Spotifiers occupy a wide range of roles in areas covering business development, business support, content, data and analytics, design and user experience, engineering and IT, product management, and sales and marketing. According to Spotify’s LinkedIn page, 36 percent of its employees are entry-level while 32 percent are senior employees and 14 percent are managers. In terms of education level, 51 percent have bachelor’s degrees, 35 percent have master’s degrees, and 8 percent have a master’s in business administration.

Data from Glassdoor shows that Spotify employees are well-compensated. Among the highest paid positions include:

  • Senior software engineer: $164,678 average base pay
  • Machine learning engineer: $149,428 average base pay
  • Software engineer, back-end: $141,523 average base pay
  • Product manager: $140,600 average base pay
  • Senior product designer: $136,349 average base pay
  • Software engineer, front-end: $135,962 average base pay
  • Data engineer: $132,193 average base pay
  • Data scientist: $130,417 average base pay
  • Developer: $120,783 average base pay
  • Product owner: $117,075 average base pay

It’s a company that encourages an agile, creative, and collaborative culture—and its working environment reflects that. Its various offices feature colorful lounge areas, well-lit cafe spaces, kitchens stocked with free meals and snacks, recording studios, ping-pong tables, rooftop gardens with sweeping city views—and yes, karaoke rooms.

The company also offers benefits that include paid parental leave, fertility assistance, and flexible public holidays. All this considered, it’s likely no surprise that Spotify takes the 14th spot in LinkedIn’s 2019 list of top 50 companies in the U.S..

Want to join the team? Here are the degrees you’ll need

In 2018, Spotify hired more than 1,000 new employees and expects hiring to continue at a fast pace. But what is Spotify looking for in its potential employees?

Alexandra Scheiman, a former Spotify talent acquisition manager, revealed that you not only have to embrace the music industry, but the tech industry as well. “Everyone here is passionate about Spotify as a product and really believes in our mission of changing the way the world listens to music,” she said.

Exploring the Spotify job site uncovers a majority of tech-related roles, but there’s also room for jobs in the areas of business and finance.

Business development positions include operations manager, product manager, and project manager. These roles include work leading projects, devising product development strategies, and collaborating with stakeholders. Because these jobs deal with the business and operations side of things, earning an MBA or a master’s degree in information systems will give you the skills you need for the job.

In terms of business support, Spotify has jobs available for financial planning analysts. The position involves planning budgets, building financial models, and providing insight and analysis on financial data. Having a degree in finance or financial economics will help you succeed in the role.

In the IT arena, Spotify is looking for web engineers, software engineers, and backend engineers. Required skills and knowledge here include data structures, programming languages like Java and JavaScript, and software engineering and web development best practices, so a degree in information technology or computer science will be worth it.

In the realm of data and analytics, Spotify offers jobs for analytics engineers, data engineers, data infrastructure engineers, and data scientists. These roles require the ability to analyze large data sets and experience in programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL and visualization tools such as Tableau. You’ll also need to have knowledge of data access, modeling, and storage techniques. This is where a degree in math, computer science, economics, or statistics is especially useful.

Meanwhile, Spotify expects machine learning engineers to know machine learning algorithms like Java, Scala, or other similar languages, cloud platforms, data pipeline tools—and don’t forget Spotify’s own open-source API, Scio. You can hone these skills by specializing in artificial intelligence or machine learning.

Spotify is also looking for research scientists in machine learning and human-computer interaction. It’s a role that calls for a strong knowledge of data mining, deep learning, and human-computer interaction, and solid hands-on skills in cleaning, manipulating, analyzing, visualizing, and modeling data. A doctoral degree in computer science, data science, machine learning, or other related areas is best for the job.

For the record…

Spotify may be in the business of music, but its platform reaches deep into the business, finance, and tech sectors too. As the company continues to innovate and disrupt the future of audio, it will need employees who are qualified—and skilled—enough to push its product further.

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