How to Prepare for a Data Science Interview in 2021?

Data Science Interview

Data Science is a rapidly growing field, and its market size will be USD 140.9 billion by 2024. The area has shown a 650% job growth rate in the last nine years, and it will have 11.5 million new jobs by 2026. 

Data Science is a vast domain with famous job roles as Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Machine Learning Engineer, and more. If you are looking for a job in data science, it is essential to prepare adequately to have an edge among the candidates. 

Understanding the Role 

It is significant to understand the role and job requirements to prepare for the interview. For example, the job description and key responsibilities of a Machine Learning Engineer are different from a Data Scientist. Similarly, Data Engineer and Data Analyst roles vary with a separate set of tasks and responsibilities. 

You must prepare as per the role to apply to while considering the specific domain requirements. For instance, Data scientists in the Healthcare domain shall have decent background knowledge of the healthcare sector. The same applies to e-commerce, marketing, manufacturing, and other business domains. 

First Impression can Indeed be the Last Impression. 

The Data Science market is currently booming with numerous jobs in different roles. Due to an increase in demand, professionals are acquiring the skills in the field of Data Science. It indicates immense competition in the industry for every job opening. 

To stand apart from the rest of the candidates, you must work on the initial requirements. Your resume and cover letter shall showcase your skills, knowledge, and experience in Data Science according to the role you choose to apply to. One of the best ways is to accurately describe the Data Science projects you were a part of, highlighting the key technologies, such as Neural Networks, Big Data tools, Decision Trees, etc. It is good to include information on programming languages, statistical measures, mathematical concepts, and analytics in the project details. 

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Strong Project Portfolio 

A majority of the recruiters prioritize the project portfolios of the candidates ahead of their educational background or professional experience. 

You can work on several Data Science projects to showcase the same in your interviews. For instance, a fraud detection system is a beneficial Machine Learning project in Python. The project applies to banks, financial organizations, and e-commerce chains to detect fraudulent customers. Similarly, retail price recommendation in Python or R is also an excellent project to work upon. 

Working on such projects strengthens the portfolio and improves problem-solving and analytics skills, critical thinking abilities, and decision-making skills. 

You should clearly explain the project with all the Data Science concepts applicable in the project to the interviewers. Some of the valuable tips to follow are: 

  • Go through the project documentation to be able to explain the project details during the interview with utmost clarity 
  • Verify the accessibility of the project files to present them at the time of the interview 
  • For the live projects and applications, check the working links to share with the interview panel 
  • Prepare a presentation on the Data Science project portfolio 

Skills, Knowledge, and Experience

Recruiters usually look for the following skill-set in the candidate for a role in Data Science. You shall acquire or enhance the following skills and knowledge areas to have good selection chances. 

  • Programming Skills and Knowledge: Programming is one of the essential skills for any role in Data Science. Before you appear for the interview, you shall look to master at least one programming language, such as Python, R, Ruby, or others. You may have to perform coding on the given problem during the skills, and therefore, it is essential to possess proficient skills in programming. 
  • Statistics, Probability, and Mathematics: These play an essential role in retrieving relevant information from the datasets. An interviewer may ask you to design a specific solution for a problem utilizing these concepts. 
  • Database Skills: Data is the most crucial element for a resource working in any Data Science role. Interviewers will check your database skills regarding familiarity with data types, data structures, querying processes, data operations, etc. 
  • Machine Learning and Big Data:  Know-how of the traditional machine learning algorithms and commonly used big data tools and techniques is a must. 
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Apart from technical skills, interviewers also ask behavioral questions to check the problem-solving abilities of the candidates. Some of the questions you can work upon in this area are: 

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • What motivates you to work in the field of Data Science? 
  • How do you deal with different personalities in the workplace? 
  • Describe the most challenging situation you came across in your career. How did you deal with it?
  • What do you do to manage workplace stress? 

Along with all these skills, you must work upon your communication skills and abilities for seamless information exchange during the interview process. 

Additional Tips

  • Data Science is a fast-growing technology with innovations and advancements happening swiftly. You should be aware of the latest developments in the field of Data Science during the interview. 
  • Social media profiles have become a source of verification for recruiters. It is advisable to keep LinkedIn and other social media profiles updated with recent information. 
  • Data Science includes numerous concepts, models, and techniques. You should diversify your skillset; however, you shall master one of the languages/techniques. For instance, you should have programming, machine learning, Big Data, probability, etc. Under each of these areas, you must work upon one specific technique, tool, or language. 

Prepare a few questions for the interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. You should have a certain familiarity with the organization and the role to put up valid questions.

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