Meet Autodesk’s Coffee-Drinking, Bike-Commuting Data Scientist

Data scientist may seem a heady and daunting job title. But it turns out that Autodesk data science manager Shubham Goel is a pretty regular guy. He savors his morning coffee just like the rest of us. But he also helps our users visualize and make sense of mountains of complex data. And he loves how his work can have a positive impact on the real world.

Shubham engaging in some activities other than data science in and around the San Francisco office.

How did you get started at Autodesk?

I pursued my undergraduate and first master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. The field of Mechanical Engineering was a natural choice for me since I’ve always had an interest and drive in technology and gadgets. After gaining some entrepreneurial experience I went onto complete my second masters from UC Berkeley I was interviewing with a few companies when I ran into an old friend who was working at Autodesk. He mentioned that the team was looking for someone with my background and expertise. Next thing I knew, he referred me for the role, and I went into the office, the very next day, to interview. Two days later, I got an offer, and I accepted immediately. My entire interview process took a week!

What was your career trajectory like at Autodesk?

I was hired in September 2015 as a Data Visualization Engineer to work on machine learning and data visualization related product features. I like telling stories with data and presenting complicated analysis in a meaningful way so that an audience with any level of data expertise would be able to benefit from them. BIM 360 was experiencing this challenge, and hence was a natural fit for me.

After six months of being a data visualization engineer, I switched into the role of a data scientist. In this role, I had the opportunity to manage projects. I sought mentorship and feedback from successful leaders & colleagues at Autodesk. Recently, I was promoted to head the Data Science team.

Check out career opportunities in data science, and pretty much every other field, at Autodesk.

Walk us through a typical day in your life.

I live in San Francisco within a few miles of the office and usually bike to work. It saves me time and on my way over I get to experience breathtaking views of the bay and the city.

Autodesk is building tools that empower people to imagine possibilities and create solutions that can be used by millions of people. I love coming into work every day, knowing that the work we do is making someone’s life simpler.

I go on a caffeine hunt after I come in. Luckily, there are many coffee spots near the One Market St. office location, and it keeps the java roulette fun. I am sometimes joined by my colleagues on this adventure, and we share nerdy data science jokes.

Every day, at 11 am we have the data science team stand up. It’s a short 15 min meeting, where, as the name suggests, everyone stands. It’s a quick check-in, where team members share relevant updates and challenges from the previous day. It’s an effective way to keep the team in sync and recognize issues.

I have meetings spread throughout the day. Part of my responsibility is to drive the execution strategy for BIM 360 Construction IQ. I meet with product managers, customers, and industry experts to understand business requirements and convert them into data science problems. Most of my day goes into working with the Data Science team on machine learning problems and supporting them to assure that the team has everything it needs, to be successful. When time permits, I like to read research papers in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to catch up with the latest developments in the deep learning world. These days I’m enjoying reading about transfer learning for natural language processing.

Looking at the world from a data lens is one of the perks of the job, as I get to work with individuals with different ways of thinking.

Shubham (far left) and other members of the fully caffeinated Data Science team.


Why should people choose a career at Autodesk?

Autodesk is building tools that empower people to imagine possibilities and create solutions that can be used by millions of people. I love coming into work every day, knowing that the work we do is making someone’s life simpler.

I feel, by building predictive software like BIM 360 Construction IQ, Autodesk is solving a real problem for the construction industry. These tools make the construction job site safer for the person in the hard hat and also boosts build quality. I am grateful for the opportunity at Autodesk that allows me to disrupt an industry and have a personal contribution story.

If you are a maker, Autodesk has amazing perks for you. As Autodesk employees, we get access to award-winning software for free. My favorite is Fusion 360, an access anywhere 3D modeling software. Generative Design, a feature of the software, can be used to create models automatically using AI. Sometimes Autodesk software feels like magic.