Jul 6, 2020
Zhenya Antić - Finding Work-Life Balance as a Linguist and Freelance NLP Consultant #71
Play • 28 min

Welcome to another episode of Develomentor. Today's guest is Zhenya Antić

Zhenya Antić is an AI consultant in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP). She helps businesses transform their textual data to extract meaningful insights from it, improve their process, cut costs and increase productivity by automating their text processing. (Freelance NLP Consultant)

Zhenya's background is in Computer Science (BS from MIT) and Linguistics (PhD from UC Berkeley). She also working on many NLP projects at FactSet, a large financial software company, and as a consultant for companies of all sizes. 

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Episode Summary

"Linguistics is the theoretical exploration of language and how it works. So you have syntax, mythology, phonology. There is the study of language acquisition and bilingualism. You can study pragmatics and how language is used. You can study how different factors affect language like gender or race."

"I had a child and I thought 'what can I do that does not involve commuting to NYC every day?' Someone suggested ‘why don’t you start an NLP blog?’. I said ‘yeah that sounds nice’. It took a a few hours each week to post these blog posts. Then I tried to apply for an NLP job on Upwork which sounded very interesting. They took me on board and that was my first client."

"I have 5 kids. I work 4 days and 1 day I’m with the kids. I’m very lucky that I can both work and be with my kids. I do what I love and when I don’t have too much work, I work on my own projects with neural networks."

Zhenya Antić

Key Milestones

  1. How did Zhenya first become interested in linguistics?
  2. What was it like getting a PhD in linguistics and when did Zhenya discover that academia wasn't for her? 
  3. Natural language processing (NLP) is at the intersection of linguistics and computer science. How hard was it to transition from academia to NLP research?
  4. Consulting is often feast or famine. Some months there is more work than you have time, other months, more time than work.  What does being a consultant look like on the day to day
  5. What are some practical tips for someone looking to go on their own in consulting?

Additional Resources

'Linguistics War' between Lakoff and Chomsky -

Adam Cheyer – Co-Founder of Siri, Viv Labs, and #67

Learn more about Zhenya and what she offers as an NLP consultant -

You can find more resources in the show notes
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