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Table of Contents

TableofContents
Introduction
WhatisDataScience?
DifferentRoleswithinDataScience
HowDifferentCompaniesThinkAboutDataScience
1Earlystagestartups(200employeesorfewer)lookingtobuildadataproduct
2Earlystagestartups(200employeesorfewer)lookingtotakeadvantageoftheirdata
3MidsizeandlargeFortune500companieswhoarelookingtotakeadvantageoftheir
data
4Largetechnologycompanieswithwellestablisheddatateams
IndustriesthatemployDataScientists
GettingaDataScienceInterview
NinePathstoaDataScienceInterview
TraditionalPathstoJobInterviews
1DataScienceJobBoardsandStandardJobApplications
2WorkwithaRecruiter
3GotoJobFairs
ProactivePathstoJobInterviews

4AttendorOrganizeaDataScienceEvent
5

FreelanceandBuildaPortfolio
6
G
etInvolvedinOpenDataandOpenSource
7ParticipateinDataScienceCompetitions
8AskforCoffees,doInformationalInterviews
9AttendDataHackathons
WorkingwithRecruiters
HowtoApply
CVvsLinkedIn
CoverLettervsEmail

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HowtogetReferencesandYourNetworktoWorkforYou
PreparingfortheInterview
WhattoExpect
1ThePhoneScreen
2TakehomeAssignment
3PhoneCallwithaHiringManager
4OnsiteInterviewwithaHiringManager
5TechnicalChallenge
6InterviewwithanExecutive
Whatadatascientistisbeingevaluatedon
TheCategoriesofDataScienceQuestions
BehavioralQuestions
MathematicsQuestions
StatisticsQuestions
ScenarioQuestions
TacklingtheInterview
Conclusion
WhatHiringManagersareLookingFor
InterviewwithWillKurt(QuickSprout)
InterviewwithMattFornito(OpsVisionSolutions)
InterviewwithAndrewMaguire(PMC/Google/Accenture)
InterviewwithHristoGyoshev(MasterClass)
Conclusion
HowSuccessfulIntervieweesMadeIt
SaraWeinstein
NirajSheth
SdrjanSantic
Conclusion
7ThingstoDoAfterTheInterview
1Sendafollowupthankyounote
2Sendthemthoughtsonsomethingtheybroughtupintheinterview
3Sendrelevantwork/homeworktotheemployer

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4Keepintouch,therightway
5Leverageconnections
6Acceptanyrejectionwithprofessionalism
7Keepuphope
TheOfferProcess
HandlingOffers
CompanyCulture
Team
Location
NegotiatingYourSalary
FactsandFigures
TakingtheOffertotheBestFirstDay
Templates
Reachingouttogetareferral
Followingupafteraninterview
Resources

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Introduction

WhenwefirstwrotetheSpringboard
CareersGuidetoDataScience
,wedidntexpectthe
engagementitdgarner.Thousandsofpeoplesignedupinafewdays,confirmingourbeliefthat
therewasascarcityofgreatadviceonwhatisanexcitingbutnebulousfield.

Inspeakingwithmoreandmorepeople,wefoundonlyafewgreatresourcesthatexplainedhow
tobreakintoadatasciencecareer.Therewereindividualstoriesandcollectionsofinterview
questions,butwecouldntfindafullguidetocovereverythingaboutthedatascienceinterview
processfromhowtogetaninterviewinthefirstplacetohowtodealwithanyofferedpositions.

Iwantedaguidecollectingperspectivesfrompeopleonbothsidesofthetable.Iwantedtotalkto
recruiterswhorefercandidates,hiringmanagerswhotableoffers,andcandidateswhohad
successfullymadeitthroughthedatascienceinterviewtodemystifythedatascienceinterview
processwithinsightsfrompeoplewhohadpreviouslygonethroughtheprocess.
Icoauthored
thisbookwithSriKanajanaseniordatascientistinNewYorkCityatamajor
investmentbank.

At
Springboard
,wevetaughtthousandsofdatascienceaspirantsthroughourmentored
workshops.Webuiltlarge,engagedcommunitiesofmentorsandalumni,whichaffordusaunique
vantagepointtodeliverreallifeperspectivesonthedatascienceinterviewprocess.

Itwasdifficultcollectingeverythinghere,likeitwasdifficultformanyofthecandidateswhomade
itthroughtheprocess.Someoftheleadersindatascience,includingtheChiefDataScientistof
theUnitedStates,hadtogothroughsixmonthsofwaitingbeforetheygotanoffer!Most
companiesdatascienceinterviewprocessesaredesignedtoweedoutallbutthemostdetermined
andskilledcandidates.Itcanseem,attimes,likeahurdlepreventinganysanejobseekerfrom
entering.Yet,whiletheinvestmentcanseemimmense,thereturncanbeevengreater.

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Datasciencehasbeencalledthe
sexiestjobofthe21stcentury
.Datascientistsdontjustmake
goodmoneytheydrivesignificantsocialimpactfrom
mappingworldpoverty
tostopping
pandemics
beforetheyevenhappen.Datascientistsunearthedthe
identityofBanksy
,andthey
masteredtheartofpredicting
basketballscores
inMarchMadness.Workingindatascienceisnt
aboutjusthavingagoodsalaryandgoodworklifebalanceitsaboutsolving
bigproblemsthat
matter
.

Wewrotethisguidebecausewewantedtoyoutogofrombeingcuriousaboutdatascienceto
activelytryingtogetajobinthefield.Wewantedtounearthwhatittakesforyoutomakeit
throughthedatascienceinterviewprocess.Wewrotethisguidebecause
wewantyoutorock
yourdatascienceinterview.

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What is Data Science?

Beforeyoulookfordatascienceinterviews,youshouldknowwhatthetermmeansandwhat
youregettingyourselfinto.

DJPatil
,thecurrentChiefDataScientistoftheUnitedStates,firstcoinedthetermdatascience.

Adecadeafteritwasfirstused,thetermremainscontested.Thereisa
lotofdebateamong
practitionersandacademicsaboutwhatdatasciencemeans
,andwhetherornotitsdifferentfrom
thedataanalyticscompanieshavealwaysused.Whenpeopletalkaboutbigdataandusing
machinelearningtosolvedataproblems,theyareventuringintoawholenewfieldwhoseterms
arebeingdefinedrightnow.

Differentcompanieshavedifferingdefinitionsofwhatdatasciencemeans.Individualhiring
managersmaydifferaboutexactlywhattheyrelookingfortheywillhireandinterview
accordingly.

Thisconfusionmakesthedatascienceinterviewprocessdifficultforalotofcandidates.Data
sciencecanhavevastlydifferentdefinitionsdependingonwhatroleyoureapplyingforandthe
companyyoureinterviewingwith.

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Different Roles within Data Science

Letsgothroughasampledata
scienceprojecttoelaborateon
thedifferentrolesyoullseein
datascience.Adatascience
teammightbeassignedtouse
deeplearningtoclassifyimages
likeYelpsteamdid
.

Millionsofphotosareuploaded
onYelpeverysingleday,butit
canbehardtogetimagesyou
wantforeachrestaurant.
Sometimes,thephotos
uploadedareallofthesame
categorymaybetheyreall
photosofthefoodorthe
outsideoftherestaurant.A
holisticevaluationofa
restaurantrequiresimagesofdifferentkinds.

Youcanusemachinelearningtoautomaticallycategorizewhichimagesfallintowhatcategory.
Computerscan,withthehelpofatrainingset,tellyouwhetherornotanimageistheoutsideof
therestaurantoroffood.

Datascientistscreatethemodeltohelpmachinescreatethosedistinctions.Theywouldbeableto
thinkthroughthetypesofdatatheyneed,frommanuallytaggedphotostokeywordsinimage
captions.Thistendstobeamoreseniorlevelrole,astheyoftenmanagedataproductsfrom

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endtoendanddealwithallfacetsofdatascienceproblems,fromalgorithmselectionto
engineeringdesign.

Dataengineerscreatesystemstosourcealloftheimagedataandstoreit,aswellasimplement
someofthealgorithmsdeterminedbydatascientistsatscale.Thistendstobearoleforpeople
withstrongtechnicalchopsbutmightnotknowasmuchaboutthetheoryofthealgorithmstheyre
implementingatscale.

Dataanalystsqueryandpresentthebusinessimplicationsofthechange.Diditpleaseusers?How
muchmoretrafficdidYelpgenerateduetotherecentchange?Thesearequestionsdataanalysts
wouldask.Then,theycommunicatetheinsightstheyfound.Thisroletendstobefilledbymore
entrylevelpeopleandpeopleinbusinessfacingroleslearningtoapplytheirinsightsona
technicalbasis.

Therearemoreroleswellcoverindetaillater.Fornow,youshouldknowthatthedatascience
interviewprocessforallthreeofthesegeneralrolescanbevastlydifferentfromoneanotherand
infact,theyoftenare!

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How Different Companies Think About


Data Science

Notonlyaretheredifferentrolesindatascience,therearealsodifferentcompanieswithvastly
differentinterviewprocesses!

Ingeneral,theserolescanbesplitintofourroughcategories.

1Earlystagestartups(200employeesorfewer)lookingto
buildadataproduct

WelcometothebeatingheartlandofSiliconValley.Theearlystagestartupisaromanticnotion,
butoneseeingastaggeringamountofsuccessinarapidamountoftime.Ifyoujoinanearlystage
startup,bepreparedtowearalotofhatsandpotentiallytakeonallthreedatasciencerolesatthe
sametime.Youwillneverhavetheresourcesyouneedinfull,sobepreparedtobescrappyand
tough.

Thebarwillbeespeciallyhighifthestartupinquestiondealswithdataasitsproduct.Aplatform
optimizingotherpeoplesdataorappliesmachinelearningtodifferentdatasetswillhavemuch
higherstandardsforhowtheythinkaboutdatathancompaniestryingtolearnfromtheirown
data.Thecofounderswilllikelybepioneersinthefieldofdatascienceorhaveledlargescaledata
scienceteams.TheywillbelookingforAplayerswhohavesignificantexperienceinthefieldor
tonsofpotentialanddrive.Ifyoujoinanorganizationlikethis,bepreparedforthelearning
experienceofalifetime,andbepreparedtobeheldtothehigheststandardpossiblewhenitcomes
todatascience.

Examplesofthiscompanytype
:
Looker
,
ModeAnalytics
,
RJMetrics

Samplejobpostings:
DataAnalyst(Looker)
,
SeniorAnalyst(ModeAnalytics)

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Sizeofthecompany
:143associatedonLinkedIn(1150companysize)
Howtoreadthisjobdescription
:Focusoncommunicationandscriptinglanguagesfor
queryingandvisualizingdataindicatesthisisabusinessfacingrolewhereinsightsmustbe
communicatedtorelevantteams.

2Earlystagestartups(200employeesorfewer)lookingto
takeadvantageoftheirdata

Thebarwillbelowerifastartupismerelylookingtotakeadvantageofitsdataratherthanselling
adataproducttoothercompanies,butsincethesmartuseofdataisessentialtothecompetitive
advantageofastartup,youshouldstillexpectarelativelyhighbar.

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Startupsinthetechindustrycontainalotoftechnicaltalent,buttheyneedsomebodytobridge
thebusinessandtechteams,especiallyiftherearecommunicationissuesbetweenthedifferent
teamsonhowdataisused.Bepreparedtoworkhardforthecompanytoembracebeing
datadrivenatalllevels,andbepreparedtobetheonewhobringsinnewtoolsandprocessesfor
collectingandusingdataatalllevelsoftheorganization.

Workingforacompanythatdealswithitsowndatabutdoesntthinkaboutdataatscalemaybe
anuniquechallengeasyoullbecalledupontoenforceandspreadadatadrivenculture
throughouttheorganization.Bepreparedtoexerciseyourleadershipandcommunicationskills.

Lastly,B2BstartupsandB2Cstartupsdifferentiateinthedatatheyget.B2Bstartupsare
businesstobusinesstheysellsoftwaredirectlytolargecompanies.ThinkSalesforce.B2C
startupscatertomanyindividualcustomers.ThinkAmazon.WhenyouredealingwithB2B
startups,yourelikelygoingtobefacedwithdatachallengesthataresmallinvolumebuthighin
detailandfeaturesstartupsthatselldirectlytobusinessesdonthavemanycustomers,butthey
focusmaniacallyontheonestheydohavesinceeachindividualcustomerwillbringinlotsof
revenue.B2Cstartupswillhavemoredataproblemsdealingwithvolumeandscaleastheywill
havemanymorecustomers,butthefocusonindividualcustomerswillbedilutedtofocuson
groupsofthem.AB2Bstartupmaydealwith1,000customers,allofwhompay$1,000amonth.
AB2Cstartupmaydealwith100,000users,buteachusermayonlygenerate$1inrevenuea
month!

Befamiliarwiththecompanyyoureapplyingforandtheuniquedatachallengesitfaces.Research
thoroughly,andmakesureyoureonlyapplyingforcompaniesthatfityourpassionsandskills.

Examplesofthiscompanytype
:
Springboard
,
Branch
,
Rocksbox
,
Masterclass
,
Sprig

Samplejobpostings
:
LeadDataScientistatBranch
,
DataScientist(Research)atRocksbox
,,
DataScientistatMasterclass

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Sizeofthecompany
:37associatedonLinkedIn(1150companysize)
Howtoreadthisjobdescription
:Lookingforageneralistwhocandivedeeperandstill
communicatedifferentinsightsindicatesthisisadatascientistrolethatwillbeverybroadin
termsofskillsetsdemanded.Thisroleisgoingtobeproactiveandentrepreneurial.

3MidsizeandlargeFortune500companieswhoare
lookingtotakeadvantageoftheirdata

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Thelargestcompaniesintheworldknowthattakingadvantageoftheirdataisatoppriority.Some
willhaveestablisheddatascienceteamsthatarewellfunded,robust,andfedwithlotsofdata.
Somewillhavestartupliketeamswithintheorganizationtohelpthemtranslatetheirdatainto
businessinsights.Therearealotofcompanieshiringdatascienceteamsuponrealizinghow
importantdataistoremainingcompetitive.Usethistoyouradvantageitcanbeeasierpassing
thedatascienceinterviewforalarge,prestigiousbrand.

Whilealotofthesecompanieswillhaveestablishedcorporateculturesandbureaucraciesthat
makeithardertoinnovate,theywillalsohavedataonmillionsofpeople.Imagineprocessing
logisticsdataforWalmartyouwillhavemillionsofdatapoints,andyourinsightswillmakea
differenceinthelivesofmillionsofpeople.

Whilethesecompaniesarenottraditionallyseenastheonesbuildingcuttingedgedatascience
solutions,thereisstillalotofgoodworkavailableforthosewhowanttoworkonchallenging
datasetswithtalentedteammates.

Examplesofthiscompanytype
:Walmart,JPMorgan,MorganStanley,CocaCola,Capital
One

Samplejobpostings
:
DataScientist,ModeleratMorganStanley
,
DataEngineeratCapitalOne

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Sizeofthecompany
:~30,000associatedonLinkedIn(10,000+companysize)
Howtoreadthisjobdescription
:FocusonBigDatatoolsindicatesthatthisisgoingtobea
fairlyspecializedrolethatlooksintohandlingtheimmenseamountsofdataCapitalOneis
holding.

4Largetechnologycompanieswithwellestablisheddata
teams

Largetechnologycompaniesareabreedinandofthemselves.Theyrethecontinuationofthe
startupobsessionwithdata,exceptnowtheyhavescaledtoapointdealingwithmillionsofdata
pointsormore.ThinkoftheUbers,theAirbnbs,theFacebooks,andtheGooglesoftheworld.
Withlargetechnicalteamsledbysomeofthemostbrilliantmindsintheindustry,datascience
roleshereareheavilyspecialized,andyoullworkoncuttingedgeproblemswithdatathat
requiresferociouslyinnovativethinking.

Comehereifyoucraveachallengeandifyouwanttolearnalotwithalotofdatapoints.The
upsideisntasgoodastheearlierstagestartups,butyoullgetgoodperks,goodsalary,andgreat
teammatesandagreatCVjobdescriptionincaseyoueverwanttomoveon.

Examplesofthiscompanytype
:Facebook,Google,Airbnb
Samplejobpostings
:
DataScientist,Oculus
,
DataScientistAirbnbMachineLearning

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Sizeofthecompany
:~16,715associatedonLinkedIn(10,000+companysize)
Howtoreadthisjobdescription
:Focusonmultifaceted,innovativeskillsetshowsthisis
goingtobeanopenendeddatasciencerolethatwillbeexpectedtothinkofnewprojectsandlead
themfromendtoend.

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Industries that employ Data Scientists

Datasciencealsovariesdependingontheindustry.Industrieshavecertainareasofknowledge
specifictotheindustryitself,andtheyinvolvedifferenttypesofdata.Aschoolwillbefocusedon
differentmetricsthanabank.

Ifyouhappentohaveapassionforacertainindustry,makesureitcomesoffwithkeywordson
yourCVandLinkedIn.Demonstratingwhyyouloveacertainindustryanddeepknowledgeofthe
industryitselfpositivelydifferentiatesyouasacandidate.

The
threelargesthiringindustries
fordatascienceinOReillyssurveyofthefieldaresoftware
companies,consultingcompanies,andbanking/financecompanies.Thosethreeindustriesalso
tendtopaythemostfordatascienceprofessionals.

Differentindustriesalsovaryinthetypesofrolestheyhirefor.Software,medicineand
telecommunicationscompaniestendtobethelargesthirersofdatascientists.Software,
aerospace,andinformationtechnologycompanieshiremoredataengineers.Lastly,dataanalysts
tendtobehiredbyhealthcarecompaniesandconsulting/bankingorganizations.

Beawareoftheindustryyourpotentialemployerisin,andinferwhattheirdatascienceneedsare.

Youhavetobeawareofthedifferentroles,companies,andindustrieswithindatascienceto
understandexactlyhowyourdatascienceinterviewprocesswillgo.

Tododatascience,youmustbeabletofindandprocesslargedatasets.Youlloftenneedto
understandanduseprogramming,math,andtechnicalcommunicationskills.Youllalsoneedto
tailoryourskillsetandhowyoupresentyourselftothedifferentrolesandhiringcompanieswithin
theworldofdatascience.

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Mostimportantly,youneedtohavea
senseofdeterminationtounderstandtheworld
throughdataandnotbedeterredeasilybyobstacles.

Thedatascienceinterviewprocessisdesignedtotestforthoseskillsandresilience.Bepreparedto
bechallengedoneverydimension.

GettingaDataScienceInterview

Thefirststepinthedatascienceinterviewprocessisntdealingwiththeinterviewitsfindingitin
thefirstplace,aprocessthatinandofitselfcantakemonthsofeffort!

Wesurveyedabouttwentypeopleaboutthehardestpartsofthedatascienceinterviewprocessas
partoftheresearchforthisbook.Theanswerwegotbackhadlittletodowiththetechnical
questionswethoughtwerethehardest.Whiletechnicalquestionsrankedsecondwith
68%of
respondents
selectingitasoneofthehardestpartsoftheinterviewprocess,awhooping
80%of
respondents
selectedgettingadatascienceinterview!

Literaturewasscarceoutthereabouthowtogetaninterview,especiallyforpeopletransitioning
fromdifferentcareers.Wediveddeeper,andlookedthroughreallifecasestudiesinadditionto
differentresourceswevecuratedforyou.

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Nine Paths to a Data Science Interview

Wefoundtraditionalpathstojobinterviewsthatcouldworktoacertaindegreeindatascience.
Wealsofoundnew,proactiveapproaches,especiallywithemergingstartups,where
nontraditionaltacticscouldgetcandidatestotheforefrontofthehiringrace.

TraditionalPathstoJobInterviews

Ifitaintbroke,dontfixit.Whilealotofthenew,proactivetacticswediscusscanhavealotmore
efficacy,itsalwaysgoodtoknowthebasics.

1- Data Science Job Boards and Standard Job Applications

Youcansubmityourresumesandcoverletterstocompanycareerssites.Then,youcanwaitand
hope.Werenotsayingtoavoidthisroute,butitshouldntbetheoneyourelyon.

Use
Indeed
and
Careerbuilder
tosearchfordifferentdatasciencepostings.Then,therearespecific
jobboardsforthedatasciencespace,suchasthe
KaggleJobsBoard
.

2- Work with a Recruiter

Youcancontactrecruiterswhocanhelpputyouintouchwiththerightemployers.Thereare
recruiterswhospecializeindatascienceandtechnologyspaces.Theyaregatekeeperstojobsnever
listedinpublicoutlets.AquicksearchonLinkedInfordatasciencerecruitersnearyouwillhelp
youfindthemostrelevantmatches.

3- Go to Job Fairs

Jobfairsindatasciencearefarandfewinbetween,though
Harvard
and
Stanford
dohost
computersciencejobfairsthathaveplentyofdatasciencejobsfortheirstudents.Yourebetteroff

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attendingeithereventsormeetupswiththelocaldatasciencecommunityratherthanlooking
aroundforyourtraditionaljobfair.

ProactivePathstoJobInterviews

Wevecoveredthetraditionalpathstojobinterviews,theoptionsthathavebeenthedefaultof
jobseeking.Thesedays,gettinganoffersometimesrequireshustleandgritoutsideof
triedandtruetactics.Startupsprovidealargenumberofnewdatasciencejobs.Theircultureand
hiringtacticstrickleduptolargecompaniesthatadecadeagowerejuststartupsaswell.Theresult
isanewhiringenvironmentwhereoftentimes,onehastobeproactivetoreachdecisionmakers
whohaveknownnothingbutgritwhentheybuilttheirowncompanies.

4- Attend or Organize a Data Science Event

Youneedtofindpeopleinterestedinthedatasciencecommunitytofindhiddenopportunitiesand
becomeproactiveatintegratingintothecommunity.Thereareseveraleventswhereyoucando
this,fromlargerconferencestosmallercommunitymeetups.

Conferences

StrataConference

TheStrataConferenceisabigdatascienceconferencethattakesplaceworldwideindifferent
cities.Speakerscomefromacademiaandprivateindustrythethemesorientaroundcuttingedge
datasciencetrendsinaction.Theconferenceallowsyoutolearnthetechnologybehinddata
science,andthereareplentyofnetworkingevents.

KDD(KnowledgeDiscoveryinDataScience)

KDDorKnowledgeDiscoveryinDataScienceisanotherlargedatascienceconference.Itsalsoan
organizationthatseekstoleaddiscussionandteachingofthesciencebehinddatascience.
Membershipandattendanceattheseconferencesoffersamarvelouswaytocontributetogrowing
trendsindatascience.

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NIPS(NeuralInformationProcessingSystems)

NIPS,orNeuralInformationProcessingSystems,isalargelyacademicdatascienceconference
focusedonevaluatingcuttingedgesciencepapersinthefield.Attendingwillgiveyouasneak
previewofwhatwillshapedatascienceinthefuture.

Meetups

Wevelistedthemajorconferenceswherethedatasciencecommunityassembles,butthereare
oftensmallermeetupsthatservetoconnectthelocaldatasciencecommunity.

TheSanFranciscoBayAreatendstohavethemostdatameetups,thougheverymajorcityin
Americausuallyhasone.Youcanlookupdatasciencemeetupsnearyouwith
Meetup.com
.Some
ofthelargestdatasciencemeetups,withmorethan4,000members,are
SFDataMining
,
Data
ScienceDC
,
DataScienceLondon
,andthe
BayAreaRUserGroup
.

Youllwanttojointheevents,orcreateameetupyourselfifyoucannotfindanearbyevent.Our
directorofdatascienceeducation,Raj,gotajobbybecomingknownasadatascienceconnector.
HehostedalocalmeetupinAtlantaandinviteddistinguishedspeakersindatascience.Soon,he
wasknownasadatascienceinfluencer,andassoonastherewereopendatasciencepositions,he
wastappedtoapply.

5- Freelance and Build a Portfolio

SundeepPattemisadatainnovationleaderattheCaliforniaDepartmentofJustice.Hesalso
mentoredforseveraldatasciencecourses,andasadatascientist,heworksoncreatingendtoend
solutionsthatextractvaluefromdata.Hehaspersonalwebsiteswithdifferent
datascience
projects
.

Hisbreakthroughintodatasciencecamewhenhefoundanunsolvedprobleminenergy
sustainabilityandworkedtosolveit.Hewassoonapublishedauthorataprestigiousacademic
conference,andshortlythereafter,hewashiredtobecomeapracticingdatascientist.

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Ifyoureunsureofwhatdatayouwanttoanalyze,wehavealistof
19free,opensource
public
datasetsyoucanexplore.

Ifyoufreelancearounddataproblemsyouloveandbuildincrediblesolutions,keeparecordof
everythingyoudoinanaccessibleportfoliothattellsstoriesaroundyourpassions.

6- Get Involved in Open Source and Open Data

Themostinterestingprojectsintheworlddontnecessarilyresideinsecretivecompanydatabases
anymore.Theyareofteninopensourcerepositorieson
Github
.Thisincludesthe
Natural
LanguageToolkit
project,whichhelpsdealwithhumanlanguageasadatasourceandthevarious
librariesthatmakeupthePython
datascienceandmachinelearningtoolkit
.TheRcommunity
alsohostsmanyofitspackagesona
consolidatedpublicwebsite
.

ManyleadingCTOswillhirebasedon
yourcontributiontoopensourceprojects
,andmayeven
findyouthroughthatroute.Itseasytotellifsomebodyisabletoworkinateamandbuild
marvelousthingsthroughthetransparentglassofopensource.Makesureyoutakeadvantage.

7- Participate in Data Science Competitions

Ifthebroadconfinesofopensourceprojectsarentyourtypeofprojectsandyourcreativitythrives
bestinmoreconfinedsituations,considerjoiningadatasciencecompetition.

Datasciencecompetitionplatformslike
Kaggle
,
Datakind
and
Datadriven
allowyoutoworkwith
realcorporateorsocialproblems.Byusingyourdatascienceskills,youcanshowyourabilityto
makeadifferenceandcreatethestrongestinterviewassetofall:ademonstratedbiastoaction.

OneofourSpringboardmentors,SinanOzdemir,competedhiswaytoadatasciencejobbasedon
hisworkonproblemsonKaggle.Youcandothesame.

8- Ask People for Coffees, Do Informational Interviews

Attheendoftheday,yournetworkwillgetyouthebestchanceatanewjob.Youshouldseekto
knowmorepeopleinthefieldyouwanttoworkin,ifonlytogetanideaoftheproblemstheyhave
andwhichyoucansolve.

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LegendaryentrepreneurandstrategistSteveBlankhasagreatframeworkforgettingcoffeeswith
peopletoobusytoseeyou
,asmostdatascientistswillbe.Youhavetofindawaytoprovidevalue
ofsomekindandlooktogivethemafreshperspectiveontheproblemstheyface.

Thiscanculminateinaninformationalinterviewwhereyouseekadviceandinformationfrom
datascientistsinthefield
.Ifyoudothisright,youllconstantlygrowyournetworkofdatascience
opportunities,andyoullunderstandmoreabouthowdatascienceworksinindustry.

9- Data Hackathons

Inlinewiththetrendofseeingworkinaction,datahackathonsofferyouanuniqueopportunityto
learndataskillswithamotivatedteam.Youwillhavetosolveadataprobleminacoupleofdays.

Anexampleofthiskindofhackathonisthe
DataWeekhackathon
inSanFrancisco.Byteamingup
withotherstodeliverrealsolutions,youlldifferentiateyourselffromotherjobcandidates.Many
employerslieinwaitathackathonsaswell,somecompaniesgoingasfarastosponsorhackathon
prizesinthehopesoffindingtheirnextdatascientist!

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Working with Recruiters

Forthissectionweworkedwith
AndyMusick
,
anAtlantabasedrecruiter:
contacthimat
andy.musick@hotmail.com

ifyouwerelookingforanAtlantaareajob.Wealsoworkedwith
AnnaMeyer,
adatasciencerecruiterat

RobertWalters
,arecruitmentagencyspecializedin
datascience.Feelfreetocontactherat
anna.meyer@robertwalters.com
.

HowtoApply

CV vs LinkedIn

Alotofpeopleouttheremayhaveatraditionalviewonwhatmakesforagoodjobapplication.
Theyrealreadymissingalargerpoint:thetraditionalviewisout.

Thereisa
fundamentaldifferencebetweenacademiaandworkinginanindustry,
and
itstartsinhowyoupresentyourself.

Wetalkedwithrecruiters,students,andhiringmanagers,andtheyallagreedthatLinkedInwas
thegoldenstandardofrecruitment.HavingawelloptimizedLinkedInprofileallowsemployersto
sizeyouupandrecruiterstofindyoutherightopportunity.

IfyourenotmakingsureyoushineonLinkedIn,yourealreadylosingouttocandidateswhoare.

Whilearesumemayberequiredtogothroughtheprocess,itisntthemaindrawthatwillgetyou
inthedooranymore.Recruiterswillonlylookthroughyourresumeonceitspresentedinfrontof
them,whileagreatLinkedIncouldleadtoinboundworkopportunitiesonaconstantbasis.

Unlikeinacademia,whereanimpressivearrayofpapersandacademicworkwillwinover
everythingelse,applyingforindustryjobsinvolvesbeingassuccinctaspossibleandlistingthe

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impactyoudrivewithyouraccomplishments.resumesarenotsomuchreadasscanned.Keepthat
inmindifyouregoingtobuildone.Arecruiterspendsanaverageofthirtysecondsonaresume.

KeyAdviceonResumes

1) Keepthemshort,preferablyunderapage.Rememberthatpeoplearescanningyourresume
forsignsofinterestbeforetheyeverconsiderdoingadeepdive.
2) Makesureyourskillsstandoutandarehighlighted(considerboldingrelevantskills).
Recruitersandhiringmanagerswilllooktoseeifyoureatechnicalfitbeforelooking
further.
3) Haveclearjobheadings,andatmost,threeonelinepointsineachoneofyourjob
descriptions.Youwanttoclearlymarkhowyourexperiencetiesinwiththejob
requirementsyouveappliedfor.
4) Demonstrateyourimpactwithnumbers!DontsaythatyoudidX.Tellthehiring
managerwhateffectsXhad.Youwanttosayyoudiscoveredsomethingthathelped
thousandsofpeoplesavehoursoftimenotthatyousimplydiscoveredsomething.Write
createdanautomatedsalesemailsoftwarethatgenerated$400,000notcreatedan
automatedsalesemailsoftware.

KeyAdviceonLinkedIn

1) Dontbeshy.Filloutasmanydetailsasyoucanitmakesadifference.Mosthiring
managerswillwanttoseeyourLinkedInbeforetheyeverinterviewyou.
2) Makesureyourjobtitlesareclearandconsistentwithsearchtermsthatrecruiterswould
use.Sayingthatyouworkedasadatascientistorasadataanalystispreferredtocomingup
withyourownjobtitle.
3) Onewayyoucandifferentiatefromothersisaddingsomepersonalflavortoyourprofile.
Addsomeofyourinterestsandpassions,andmakesuretheyareevidentinyourLinkedIn.
Hiringmanagerslikeevaluatingcandidatesfortechnicalskillsandculturalfit.Beingableto
showthatyouhaveyourownuniquetakeontheworldwillonlyaddvaluetoyourjob
searchandhelpyoustandout.

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4) Whileyoumightnotwanttotailoryourprofileforcertainjobsorindustries,makesureyou
knowwhatyourelookingfor,andmakesurethatcomesoutonyourLinkedIn.Youwantto
beverydeliberateatconstructingyourprofilesothatitgetsyouthepositionyouwant.
Avoidlistingdataentryifyoudontwanttogetentryleveloffers.Mentionspecific
industriesifyourheartissetonworkingonaparticulartypeofproblem.

Makesureyouknowwhatrolesyoureapplyingfor,andapplyindustrykeywordsandskill
keywordsthatmatch.Interestedinadatasciencejobinfinance?Donthesitatetoputindustry
terminologyalloveryourCVandLinkedIn.Ifyouhaveaskillthatyouresearchedisindemandfor
theroleyourelookingfor,additliberally!Youcanresearchwhattechnologiesacompanyuses
companieslike
Yelp
and
AirBnB
willoftenblogabouttheirdataprojects.Ifyouseethattherolein
questiondemandsPythonandRskills,makesurethatyourCVandLinkedInmarksthoseskills.
EndorsementsalsoplayapositiveroleinthisregardwhenitcomestoLinkedIn,sodontbeshyat
askingpeoplewhohaveworkedwithyoutoendorseyourskillsandgiverecommendations.

MorerecruitersandhiringmanagerslookthroughLinkedInthanresumestoday.Arecruiterwill
lookataCVforanaverageof30secondsbeforediscardingit.Makesuretheimpactyouvedriven
isfleshedoutwithstrongactionverbs,youveformattedyourresumeandLinkedIntostandout,
andyouvefilledthemwiththerightkeywords.

KeepinmindthatthisisafirststepandthatapplyingwithjustaCVorLinkedInwillgetyou
consideredatmostplaces,butnotwithanyparticularenthusiasm.Youllhavejoinedthequeueof
thousandsofothersapplyingthesameway,andyoullprobablyneedtodomoretogetyourdream
job.Regardless,makesureyouoptimizeeverystepofyourapplication,includingtheCVor
LinkedInthatemployerswillinevitablylookover.

CoverLettervsEmail

Acoverletterwasalwaysthestandardforacademicadvancement.Nowadays,therecruiterswe
talkedtoconfirmedthatcompaniesseldomreadthem.Ifyouwanttodifferentiatewhoyouare,
youllhavetodoitonyourCVoryourLinkedIn.

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Ifyouregoingtobeproactive,sendabriefsummaryofwhatyouvedoneinanemailtoahiring
manager.Thisservesasmoreofanexplainertheycansharewithotherpeopleinthecompany.
Youllwanttokeepitbriefnomorethanafewparagraphsatbestandyoullwanttokeepthis
emailfocusedonthetopthreepointsthatdefinetheimpactyouvedriven.

HowtogetReferencesandYourNetworktoWorkforYou

Mostpeopledontrealizehowcriticalitistobuildandmaintainyournetworktogetyourfeetin
thedoorwiththedatascienceinterviewprocess.Thestrongestsignalhiringcompanieslookforis
strongreferrals,especiallyfrominternalsources.Ifyouhavesomebodyadvocatingforyouinside
theorganizationyoureapplyingfor,thatcanensurethatyourCVwillbelookedover,anditcan
evengetyoutoskipstepsintheinterviewprocess!

Weinformallysurveyedsomeofouralumsgoingthroughthehiringprocess.Itturnsoutthata
referralfromaninsiderwithinthecompanyledtoa
85%chance
ofgettinganinterviewwiththat
particularapplication,whilethosewhoreachedoutcoldandonlyappliedwiththeirCVor
LinkedInorthroughthestandardformatonlyhadarounda
10%chance
ofgettinganinterview.
Pursuingtheformercanimproveyourjobhuntingprocessbyanorderofmagnitude.Ouralums
alsosaidthatthereferraldoesntevenhavetocomefromafriend,
thefactthatanapplicationhas
beenreferredbyanexistingemployeeoftenguaranteesatleastaphoneinterview
.

Takea
longtermview
onthisbyaddingvaluetodifferentpeopleinyournetwork,whether
thatsbeinggenerouswithadviceoncethatsaskedofyouorbeinggenerouswithintroductionsto
otherpeopleinyournetwork.Hopefully,bythetimeyourelookingforajob,youllhavebuiltupa
strongnetworkofpeoplealsointerestedindatasciencethatcanmaketherightintroductionsand
giveyoutherightreferrals.

Ifthatisntthecase,andyourelookingtogetthosereferralsrightnow,youcanusewhatiscalled
the
informationalinterview
technique.Thisentailsreachingouttopeoplewhoareworkinginthe
fieldtogetasenseofwhatsgoingonandwhattheirproblemsare.People,evencomplete
strangers,canbeverygenerouswiththeirtimeifyoushowthatyouregenuinelyinterestedin
whattheyredoingandyouoffertohelpaswell.

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Lookforpeopleatmeetups,orspecificallytargetpeopleonnetworkssuchas
LinkedIn
,
Angellist
and
FounderDating
.Presentyourintentionshonestly,butindicatethatyoureveryinterestedin
thecompanyanddatascienceingeneral.Askforacoffeewhereyoucanaddperspectivetoa
problemtheyresolvingorlearnabouttheircompany.

Asamplescriptmightgoasfollows(whereyoucanaddsomebodyonLinkedInasafriendor
messagethemdirectlyonFounderDatingorAngellist):

Hi[name],

IwassuperinterestedintheproblemsAirbnbisfacingindatascience.Ivebeenaspiringto
breakintothefield,andbeingapassionatefollowerofthe
AirbnbNerds
blog,Inoticedthat

buildingtrustwithdata
isanimportantpartofwhatdrivesAirbnb.Basedonmybackgroundin
psychologyandstatistics,Imightbeabletohelpcomeupwithsomecreativeideasonhowto
fostertrust.

IdlovetotakeyououttocoffeeandgetagreatersenseofwhatproblemsAirbnbhasperhapsI
canhelp!Wouldyouhavesometimeinthecomingweeks?

Cheers,

[yourname]
LinkstoyourLinkedIn,resume,portfolioand/orarecentproject

Ifyoureachouttoenoughpeopleandseekintroductionstopeoplethroughyournetwork,youllbe
abletofindpeopleinanycompanytotalkwith.CheckoutyoursecondconnectionsonLinkedIn
andhowtheyareconnectedtoyou,whichyoucaneasilydothroughanyLinkedIncompanypage.
Heresanexampleofacompanypagefor
Airbnb
.

Onceyouresetforaninformationalinterview,makesureyouveresearchedthecompanyandthe
personyouvetalkedwithbylookingatthecompanywebsiteandanyotherresourcesyoufind.

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Youshouldhaveaprettygoodsenseofwhatproblemsthecompanyencountersonadaytoday
basis.

Theseinformationalinterviewsareagreatchancetoknowexactlywhatishappeningatacompany
andwhattheirprioritiesare,whichisgreatlybeneficialknowledgeinanactualjobinterview.If
youcomeinwellpreparedandpositionyourselfassomeonewhocanhelpthecompany,the
personyourehavingcoffeewithcouldbecomeastronginternaladvocateandhelpyoujump
throughtheusualrecruitinghoopstogetyourfirstroundinterview.

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Preparing for the Interview

Hopefullyalltheworkyouputintogettingthedatascienceinterviewpaysoff,andyougetthe
emailthatsignifiesthestartoftheinterviewprocessforyou:acompanyrepresentativebeckoning
foraninitialphonecall.Hereswhatwillhappenandhowyoushouldprepare.

WhattoExpect

Thedatascienceinterviewisacomplexbeast,withbehavioralquestionsmixedwithabunchof
technicalquestions.Youvegottenprettyfarifyoureabletogetaninterviewinthefirstplace,but
youstillhavefurthertogo.

Letsstartfromthebeginningadatascienceinterviewwillbevastlydifferentdependingonthe
positionyoureapplyingforandthehiringorganization.Certainorganizationswillbevery
rigorousandmakeyougothroughseveraltechnicalchallenges.Otherswilllookmoreatculturefit
and,especiallyifyouhavestrongreferences,getyoustraightthroughtothefinalround.

Themostrigorousprocesspossiblelookssomethinglikethis:

1- The Phone Screen

ThiswilltypicallybedonebysomebodyinHRandactsasafiltertosavehiringmanagerstime.
Sometimes,therewillbebasictechnicalquestionstoscreenoutcandidateswhoaregrossly
unqualified,butmostofthetime,thisphonescreeninvolvesestablishingthebeginningsofculture
fitandmakingsurethatthecandidatehasgoodenoughcommunicationskillstocomeoffwellin
theinterview.

Inthiscall,youllwanttogetasenseofwhatproblemsthedatateamisfacingandthe
organizationalstructureoftheteamyoureapplyingto.Comepreparedwiththoughtfulquestions

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thatdemonstrateadeepunderstandingofthebusinessandthespacetheyoperatein,andbe
preparedtoaskthemattheend.

2- Take-home Assignment

Afterthephonescreen,companiesoftensendapreparedassignmentforcandidates,withsome
timepressurebeingapplied.Thisisagoodwaytoscreenoutcandidateswhomaybetechnically
weak,orwhomaynotbecommittedenoughtoinvestalotoftimeintherecruitmentprocess.
Somecompaniesdispenseofthisaltogether,butthosethatdoembracethetakehomeassignment
oftenuseitasatestingbartosavetheirhiringmanagerstime.

Anexampleofatakehomeassignmentisdoingadeepanalysisonaspecificdatasetprovidedfor
you.Whentheassignmentisdesignedwell,theassignmentisalsoanopportunitytolearnmore
aboutthetypesofproblemsyouwouldworkonifyouweretogetthejob.Here,youdbeexpected
tostorytellaroundinsightsyoudfindinthedata.Anotherexamplewouldbehavingadatasetwith
significanterrorsinitthatyoudbeexpectedtoclean.Afinalexamplewouldinvolveworkingwith
aspecificproblemrelevanttothebusiness,suchasbuildingajobrecommendationsystemfor
applicantsbasedondatafromjobdescriptions.

Onlythosethatpassthebarofhavinggoodassignmentswilltalktoahiringmanagerfacetoface.
Youllgetweededoutquicklyifyourefusetodoitalltogether.

Takethetimetodotheassignment,andtrytoseehowitrelatestowhatproblemsthecompanyis
undergoing.Usingtheassignmentasawaytoseewhatkindofskillsyoullbetestedonandhow
thecompanyinquestionisthinkingaboutyourroleensuresthatyoumaximizeyourtime.Thisis
whereyoucanshineinahiringprocessandshowhowyouaredifferentfromothercandidates.

3- Phone Call with a Hiring Manager

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Youmayreceiveanotherphonecallscreenthatwillbefocusedoneithermathematicsand
statisticsquestionsorcodingquestions.Thiswillbedonebyahiringmanageroratechnical
person.Thiswilllikelybethefinalevaluationbeforeacompanyinvitesyoutoanonsiteinterview.
Thephonecallwilltypicallybesplitintothreecomponents.Sometimes,thisisdoneinonelong
callothertimes,itisdoneinthreeshortphonecallsofaboutthirtyminuteseach.

Mathematical/StatisticalPhoneCall

Youllbeevaluatedoncoremathematicalandstatisticalconceptshere,whichwilldepend
somewhatonwhatroleandwhatcompanyyoureapplyingfor.Webcompanieswilltendtofocus
onyourknowledgeofA/Bsplittesting,yourunderstandingofhowpvaluesarecalculated,and
whatstatisticalsignificancemeans.Energycompaniesmighttestyoumoreheavilyonregression
andlinearalgebra.Nomatterwhattypeofintervieweryouretalkingwith,youllwanttosketch
outtheentirethoughtprocessbehindyourproblemsolving.

IfyoureaskedaboutA/Bsplittests,describetheA/Bsplittestprocessindetail,fleshingoutwhat
pitfallstowatchoutforandleaningonanyexperienceyoumighthaveinthefield.Treatthe
questionlikeamathematicalproofandatestofyourabilitytostatisticallyreason,butdont
hesitatetoturnyourfinereyestodetailandacoherentstoryaboutwhythismatterstothe
companyathand.

CodingPhoneCall

Thispartoftheinterviewprocessisfairlytypicalandisalsotheclosesttoothertechnical
interviews.Youllbeevaluatedonyourability,overthephone,tosolvecodingchallengesby
presentingeitherpseudocode,orinharderinterviews,compilereadycode.Ifyoureapplyingfora
dataanalystposition,thiswillswingmoretoaskingyouhowyoudthinkaboutqueryingdatawith
SQL.Otherwise,youllbeaskedquestionsintheprogrammingandscriptinglanguagesyouve
claimedexperiencein,fromJavatoPython.

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Yourinterviewermayalsousetoolslike
HackerRank
or
Collabedit
toevaluateyouliveonline.In
thiscase,yourhiringmanagerwillwatchyouasyoutypeoutyoursolution:bereadyfor
approachessuchasthis,andtrainwiththosetoolsifyoucan!

Thereareplentyofgreatresourcesoutthereforcodinginterviews,from
CrackingtheCoding
Interview
to
InterviewCake
.Usethemtoyouradvantage.

Practicemakesperfecthere.Makesureyouhaveacomfortablespaceandnaturalenvironmentfor
youtocode.Bepreparedtojotdowncodeonapaperandexplainitonaphonecall,orbeprepared
totypeinthecodeonalaptop.

Youwilloftenbeaskedaboutdatastructuresmorethananythingelse.Knowhashmaps,trees,
stacks,andqueuesverywell.Prepareforthisphonecalllikehowsoftwareengineerswould
prepareforacodinginterview,andyoullpasswithflyingcolors.

CallwiththeHiringManager

Finally,youllbepatchedthroughtothehiringmanager,whoisnowevaluatingyouonhowwell
youcommunicateandifyoudfitwellontheteam.Thismaybeonaseparatecallfromthe
technicalphonescreens,oritcanbethelastpartofamegacallthatencompassesallthree.Inthis
call,thehiringmanageristryingtogetafeelforyourcharacter,yourmotivation,yourfitwith
theirteam,andyourrawintelligence.Mosthiringmanagershaveamentalmodelforwhotheyare
lookingfor.Thecloseryoufittoit,themorelikelyyouwillpasstoonsiteinterviews.

Thisiswhereyourworkwiththerecruiterbeforehandwillshine.Themoreyouknowaboutthe
problemsthehiringmanagerisfacingandthekindofpersontheyrelookingfor,thebetteryoull
bepreparedtopresentyourselfastheperfectfit.Tailoryourcommunicationstothatgoal,andbe
confidentandclear,andyoullmakeittothenextround.Trytopasstheairplanetestaswell
imaginethehiringmanagerevaluatingwhethertheydliketospendhoursoftimewithyou.The
workplacewillforceyoutoworktogethercloselyandspendalotoftimetogether.Makesureyou
showthatyoucangetalongwithyourmanager!

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4- On-site Interview with a Hiring Manager

Finally,ifyouvemadeitthroughtheearliercalls,youllmeetyourhiringmanagerfacetoface.
Theyllbeevaluatingyoufrombothatechnicalandnontechnicalperspective.Theyrelookingto
ascertainifyoureafit,andtheymaytestyouonyourtechnicalchopsbyhavingyouwhiteboard
differentscenarios.

5- Technical Challenge

Ifthisdoesnthappentoyouduringtheonsiteinterview,preparetobechallengedonyour
technicalskillsinoneformoranother,especiallyforrolesthatleanmoretowardsdata
engineering.Youlloftenfindthatthisissimilartoa
softwareengineeringinterview
whereyouwill
beaskedtowhiteboardandwritedownhowyoudimplementcertainalgorithmsorsolvecertain
problems.

Hereiswherestrongknowledgeofsoftwareengineeringconceptssuchastimecomplexity/BigO
notationandastronggraspofthemathematicsandstatisticsbehinddataalgorithmscantruly
shine.

6- Interview with an Executive

Ifyoupassthebarforyourhiringmanager,youlloftendoafinalinterviewwithasenior
executive.Inastartup,thiswilloftenbethecofounderortheCEOthemselves.

Ifyouvemadeitthisfar,congratulations!Donttakeitforgranted,butthisisasignthata
companyisleaningtoanofferforyou.Normally,onlycandidateswhohavepassedthetechnical
barwillgethere,sonowyouneedtoemphasizeexactlyhowyoucandriveimpactwithyour
knowledgeofthebusinessitself,andthespecificproblemsitfaces.Atthispoint,yourenot
lookingtoproveyourselfsomuchastoavoidglaringerrors.

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What a data scientist is being evaluated on


Position Title

Mathemat
ics/Statist
ics (e.g.
P-value
analysis,
AB
testing)

Databas
e
Querying
(SQL)

Algorithm
s (e.g.
Supervise
d learning,
Entity
Resolutio
n)

Software
Engineerin
g (e.g.
Python,
Java,
Object
Oriented)

Big
Data/Systems
Engineering1
(e.g. Spark,
HBase, Hadoop)

Soft
Skills/Domain
Expertise (E.g.
public speaking,
presentation
skills)

Product Data Scientists2

Medium

Medium

Medium

High

High

Medium

Data Engineering

Low

Medium

Low

High

High

Low

Data Scientist

High

Medium

High

Low

Low

High

Business Intelligence Data


Scientists

Medium

High

Medium

Low

Low

High

Data Analyst

Low

High

Low

Low

Low

High

Differentdatascience

roleswillhavevastlydifferentexpectationsondifferentskillsets.Whilea

dataengineermightnotbeexpectedtohavemanybusinesspresentationskills,theyareexpected
todominatealltypesofprogrammingchallenges.Conversely,adataanalystwillleanmoreon
theirSQLskillsandnotbeexposedtoheavytechnicalproblems,buttheywillbeexpectedtobe
topnotchpresenters.

Thistableimpliestheindustrydemandanddifficultyofthepositionsfromtoptobottom,with
ProductDataScientistsbeingthemostindemandfortheirspecialized,difficulttoacquireskills.

Knowwhatroleyoureapplyingfor.Seektoscoutoutexactlywhatneedsacompanyislookingfor
andwhatroletheyaretryingtofityouinitwillhelpyounavigateandpredicttheirdatascience
interviewprocess.
1

Thisismoreinlinewithdealingwithsettinguplargescaledataengineeringplatformsandintegratingvarioustechnologies
together.
2
Thesedatascientiststypicallybuildthealgorithmandproductionizeitthroughthedataengineeringinfrastructure.E.g.
Theywouldbuildtherecommendationsystemalgorithmandproductionizetherecommendationsystemliveonthe
platform.

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Heresahighleveloverviewofthespecificroles:

ProductDataScientist
:Endtoenddatascientistwithdataengineeringskills.Productdata
scientistsleadteamstobuildadataproduct.Theytweakalgorithmsandhaveastrongsayinhow
thedataisservedtoendusers.Theywilloftenhavetheengineeringabilitytodeliveronthose
ideas.

DataScientist
:Theunicornmixoftechnicalskills,businessskills,andmathematicalknowledge.
Adatascientistunderstandshowtocreateandoptimizedataalgorithms,andhowtoexplaintheir
findings.Theymayneedtoknowlessprogrammingthantheirdataengineerpeers,buttheyll
neverthelessneedtounderstandenoughtodealwithdataatscale.

BusinessIntelligenceDataScientists
:BusinessIntelligenceDataScientistsarefocusedon
gettingbusinessinsightsoutofdata.Theywillunderstandenoughaboutstatisticalmethodsand
differentmachinelearningalgorithmstodifferentiatethemselvesfromdataanalysts.Theybuild
dashboardsandcompletevariousanalyticalstudiestohelpthevariousteamsmakebetter
decisions.

DataEngineering
:Adataengineerisntoftencountedontohaveadvancedknowledgeofthe
statisticsandmathematics,buttheywillhavetoaceeverytechnicalchallengeouttheretoprove
theycandealwithimplementingalgorithmsonmassiveamountsofdata.

DataAnalyst
:Anentrylevelrolethatreliesheavilyonmakingoneoffreportsbylooking
throughdataandinterpretingtheresults.ThisroletypicallyrequiresastrongknowledgeofSQL
andExcel.

The Categories of Data Science Questions


Behavioral Questions

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Thedatascienceinterviewprocessinvolvesalotofbehavioralquestions,similartoanyother
interview.Theinterviewerintendstotestforyoursoftskillsandseeifyoufitinculturallywiththe
company.

1. Tellmeaboutadatascienceprojectyouhavedoneinthepast?

Intent
:Theintentofthequestionistounderstandthedepthofknowledgeand
contributionsyouhavefromyourpastexperiences.Ittestsyourabilitytotellastory
aroundyourworkandwhetheryoucantieittoimpactonthecompanyyouworkedwith.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:
Trytodescribeaprojectthatdemonstratesbothproductandengineering
experience,i.e.theprojectprovidedtheanalyticalinsightandproductionised
theinsighttomakeitactionable.Forexample,ifyouidentifiedkeytopicsina
textdatasetthroughtopicextractiontechniques,youshouldexplainhow
thesetopicsfurtheredcompanygrowthinadataproduct.
Gointodetailaboutyourspecificcontributionandtheoutcomefroma
businessgoalperspective.Theinterviewerwantstoknowwhatyou
specificallydidwhiletryingtounderstandtheoverallgoaloftheproject.
Rehearseyourexperiencesmanytimes.Thisisaverycommonquestion,so
have23gotoprojectsyoucangointoextremedetailabouteloquently.

2. Whathaveyoulikedanddislikedaboutyourpreviousposition?

Intent
:Theintentofthequestionistoidentifywhethertheroleyoureinterviewingforis
suitableforyou,andtoidentifywhyyouremovingonfromapreviousposition.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:
Understandtherolewell.UsetheHRcontacttogetinsiderinformationabout
theroleanditschallenges.TheHRpersoncanbeatreasuretroveof
informationabouttherole,team,history,andkeyimmediatebusinessgoals.

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Avoidtalkingaboutissueswithspecificpeople,andbeprofessionalwhen
talkingaboutwhatyoudisliked.Introspectcarefullyandtalktowhatmakes
youpassionate.Forexample,talkaboutderivinginsightsfromdataand
conveyingthemtomanagementinanactionablewayassomethingyouenjoy.
Youcouldalsotalkaboutlearningnewtechnologiesthatmakedatascience
moreactionablethroughtheorganization.Youcoulddislikehowthe
organizationisnotplacingdatascienceatthecenterofitsstrategyorthatthe
companyhashadsignificantattritionattopmanagementlevelandthe
directionoftheteamisunclear.Keepitpositive,pointsoriented,andaway
frompersonalsituations.
Bad:
Ihatedthatdatascientistswerealwaysputbelowtheengineers
andthatmanagementdidnthaveacluewhatthecompanydirection
was!
Good:
IrealizedIwantedtoworkinacompanywheredatascienceis
partofitscorestrategyandthecompanyhasacleardirection.

3. Tellmeaboutasituationinthepastwhereyouhadtoconvinceothersaboutyourposition
onaspecificmatter.Whatwastheoutcome?

Intent
:Theintentistofindouthowgoodareyouatdefendingyourpositionandyour
abilitytoengenderchangewithinateam.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Trytofindanexamplewhereyouweresuccessfulat
makingthechangeandthatthechangeisquantifiableinitsimpact.Ifpossible,useadata
sciencetypeexampleifyouhaveone.Itsimportantthatyoudemonstrateyour
communicationandleadershipskillshere.

Mathematics Questions

Questionsaboutthemathematicsanglewillcomefordatascientistroleswhereyouareexpected
notonlytoimplementalgorithms,butalsotweakthemforspecificpurposes.

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1HowdoestheLinearRegressionalgorithmfigureoutwhatarethebestcoefficientvalues?
(ThiswasaquestionaskedinC3EnergysDataScientistinterview)

Rationale
:Theintentofthequestionistoseehowdeeplyyouunderstandlinearregression,
whichiscriticalbecauseinmanydatascienceroles,youwontjustworkwithalgorithmsinablack
boxyoullimplementtheminsomeway.Thiscategoryofquestion(andyoucouldseeitfromany
typeofalgorithm)testshowmuchyouknowaboutwhatisactuallyhappeningbeyondthesurface.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Traceouteverystepofyourthinkingandwritedownthe
equations.Describeyourthoughtprocessasyourewritingoutthesolution.

TheAnswer
:Atthehighestlevel,thecoefficientsareafunctionofminimizingthesumofsquare
oftheresiduals.Next,writedowntheseequationswhilepayingcarefulattentiontowhatisa
residual.Togofurther,considerthefollowing:
1. Writetheminimizationgoal(ideallyinlinearalgebraic(matrix)notation)ofminimizingthe
sumofsquaresoftheresidualsgivenalinearregressionmodel..
2. Solvetheminimizationequationbyillustratingthatthesumofsquareoftheresidualsisa
convexfunction,whichcanbedifferentiatedandthecoefficientscanbederivedbysetting
thedifferentiationto0andsolvingthatequation.
3. Describethatthecomplexityofsolvingthelinearalgebrabasedsolutionin#2isof
polynomialtimeandamorecommonsolutionisbyobservingthattheequationisconvex
andhencenumericalalgorithmssuchasgradientdescentmaybemuchmoreefficient.

StatisticsQuestions

Agraspofstatisticsisimportantforsolvingdifferentdatascienceproblems.Youllbetestedon
yourabilitytoreasonstatisticallyandyourknowledgeofthetheoryofstatistics.Bepreparedto
reciteyourknowledgeaboutstatisticalconceptslikeTypeIerrorandTypeIIerrorflawlessly,and
bepreparedtodemonstrateyourgraspofdifferentprobabilitydistributions.

1WhatisthedifferencebetweenTypeIerrorandTypeIIerror?(OuralumnusNiraj
encounteredthisquestion).

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Rationale
:Companieswillwanttotestyourgraspofdifferentbasicstatisticalconceptstotest
howgoodyouarewiththefundamentalsofstatisticsandseehowyoucommunicatedifferentideas
youmaynotoftenapplywiththesometimestechnocraticlanguageembeddedinstatistics.

HowtoApproachyourAnswer
:Benononsense,andcommunicateclearlywhateveryouare
askedtodefine.

TheAnswer:
TypeIerroriswhatisreferredtoasafalsepositive,ortheincorrectrejectionof
thenullhypothesis.TypeIIerroriswhatisreferredtoasafalsenegative,ortheincorrect
acceptanceofthenullhypothesis.Youmaywanttocommunicateyourgraspoftheconceptswith
anexampleandhowitmightberelevanttothebusinessathand.TypeIerrororafalsepositive
wouldbetellingamantheywerepregnant,whileTypeIIerrorwouldbetellingapregnantwoman
theywerent.Ifyouwererunningafrauddetectionbusiness,youmighthaveaveryhightolerance
forfalsepositives(aclientwillnotfussaboutanemailonthepotentialoffraud),butafalse
negative(notdetectingfraudwhenitishappening)couldbedisastroustoyou.

2Thiswasaquestionforadatascientistpositionatabiginsurancecompany.Supposea
populationisdividedintotwogroups:aggressivedriversandnonaggressivedrivers.40%of
thepopulationareaggressivedriverswhile60%arenonaggressivedrivers.Theprobabilityof
anaggressivedrivergettinginto3accidentsinoneyearis15%.Theprobabilityofa
nonaggressivedrivergettinginto3accidentsinoneyearis5%.Johnisknowntohave3
accidentsinthepastyear.Whatistheprobabilitythatheis(a)anaggressivedriver,and(b)a
nonaggressivedriver?

Rationale
:AlotofcompanieswilltestyourBayesianinferenceskillsasaprimerforhowyou
thinkstatistically.Bayesianprobabilitycontrastswithfrequentistinterpretationsofstatistics,and
yourabilitytoreasonthroughanyBayesianproblemwillshowyouhaveaquickgraspofstatistical
conceptsandthementalmathneededforit.Ifyouneedarefresher,oneofSpringboardsmentors
WillKurtrunsablogcalled
CountBayesie
,andhehasawonderfulguideto
Bayesian
statistics.

HowtoApproachyourAnswer
:
TheintentofthequestionistoseeyourlevelofunderstandingBayesianprobability.Sketchoutall
ofyourassumptionsandthecalculationsyouredoingforyourinterviewerinalogicaland
organizedfashion.

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TheAnswer
:Writeoutwhatyouknow.
Probabilityofaggressivedriversinthepopulation=40%or0.4
Probabilityofnonaggressivedriversinthepopulation=60%or0.6
Probabilityofaggressivedriversgettingintothreeaccidentsayear=15%or0.15
Probabilityofnonaggressivedriversgettingintothreeaccidentsayear=5%or0.05

YoullwanttounderstandtheconceptofpriorsandposteriorsforBayesianequations.Aprioris
whatyouaregivenbeforetheproblem,datathatyoureceive.Theprobabilitythatsomebodyisan
aggressivedriverinthepopulationisapriorassumptiongiventoyouthatyoucannotchange.The
posterioristheprobabilityyouderivefromusingtheBayesRuleontheseassumptions(P(A/B)).

BayesRule

ThefirstquestioniswhatisthechanceJohnisanaggressivedriverifhesbeenin3accidentsa
year?

Visually,yourereally
tryingtodrawaVenndiagram
ofprobabilities:ofallofthepeoplewhohave
beenin3accidentsayear,howmanyareaggressivedrivers?Howmanyarenot?

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Thereisa67%probability(really66.66%repeating)thatsomebodywhogetsintoa
3accidentsayearisanaggressivedriver.Thisisnowyourposterior.

Theprobabilitythatsomebodywhogetsinto3accidentsayearisnonaggressiveis
justtheflipsideofthat.10.6666=0.33333repeating,or33%probability.

3Whatisprobabilitydistributiontype(orshowthederivationofthepdf)youwoulduseto
describethefollowingrandomvariables?
a. Probabilityofkcustomersarrivingtoarestaurantwithinadurationoftminutes
b. TheprobabilityoftheheightofapersoninacrowdbeingatleastXinches
c. Theprobabilityofthesumoftwo6sidedfairdicesbeingY
d. TheprobabilityofhavingkheadsthrownoutofNcointhrows

Rationale
:Thisquestiontestsyourknowledgeofprobabilitydistributionsandtestswhetheror
notyouknowwhatmodelstousegivenhowyourdataisorganized.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Explainyourassumptionsaboutthedataandthedetailsofhow
thedistributioninquestionfitsthemodel.Beabletovisualizedistributionsandexplaintothe
interviewerwhythedistributionyouvisualizefollowsthemodel.

Answer
:

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a. Poissondistribution.Thisisassumingthatcustomerarrivalsareentirelyindependentfrom
eachother.

b. Normaldistribution.NotethatinacontinuousdistributionthelikelihoodofbeingexactlyX
inchesiszero.

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c. P(sum(x1+x2)={0,1,(2,12),(3,11),(4,10)...36})={0,0,1/36,2/36,3/36,}.Youcanplotthis
outwherethexaxisisthesum,andtheyaxisistheprobability.Illustratethatthisisa
probabilitymassfunctionvsacontinuousprobabilitydistributionfunction.

d. Binomialdistribution.P(kisthenumberofheadsinNthrows):

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Notethatthisvisualizationsaysthereisa25%chanceyouwillget5coinsoutof10tobeheads.

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CodingQuestions

Alargepartofadatasciencerole,especiallyifitismorefocusedtodataengineering,is
programmingtoimplementalgorithmsatscale.Bepreparedtofacesomethingsimilartoa
softwareengineeringinterviewwhereyoullbetestedonyourexperiencewiththetechnicaltoolsa
companyusesandyouroverallknowledgeofprogrammingtheory.

1
SQLGivenatableoftransactions(Transaction_ID,Item_ID,quantity,purchase_date
(MM/DD/YY))andanothertableofprices(item_ID,price),givethefollowinginformation:
1. Totalrevenue
2. Totalnumber/average/standarddeviationofpurchasequantitiesforthesetofweekdays
(MondayFriday)orderedbydescendingnumberofpurchases.
3. Numberofitem_IDsthatwereNOTpurchasedintheweekdays.

Exampletableoftransactions(definedastransactions)
:

Transaction_ID

Item_ID

Quantity

Purchase_Date

06/28/2016

06/27/2016

06/27/2016

06/26/2016

Exampletableofprices(definedasprices):

item_ID

Price

$2

$3

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Rationale
:TheuseofSQLtoquerydatabasesisprevalentinlargerstartupsandestablished
companieslookingtoleveragetheircompany.Ifyouareadataanalyst,yourtechnicalinterview
mayexclusivelybeSQLquestions.Understandinghowtogetdatatherightwaycanmakethe
differencebetweengettingajobandnot.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Youwilloftenbeaskedtosketchoutyourcodeonpaperor
workwithacollaborativecodingtoollike
HackerEarth
whereyouwillbecodingintheinterpreter
andyourcodeisseenlivebyyourinterviewer.Makesureyoutryforthemostefficientsolution
withasfewerrorsaspossiblegivenashorttimeconstraint.Usesomethinglike
SQLFiddle
ifyou
wanttopracticeyourSQLqueryingskills!

Answer
:
1. SELECT

sum
(a.quantity
*
b.price)

FROM
transactions
AS
a
JOIN
prices
AS
b
ON
a.item_ID
=
b.item_ID

Thiswilljointhepricecolumnfromthepricestableontothetransactionstable,allowingyouto
multiplythequantityofeachitemwithitspriceandthentosumupthatmultiplication.Thiswill
yieldananswerof$37forourtwoexampletables.

2. SELECT
DAYOFWEEK(purchase_date),

sum
(quantity),

avg
(quantity),
std(quantity)
FROM
transactions
WHERE
DAYOFWEEK(purchase_date)
BETWEEN
2
AND
6
GROUP

BY
DAYOFWEEK(purchase_date)
ORDER

BY
2
DESC

Thisquerywillusethe
DAYOFWEEK
functioninMySQL,whichreturnsanumberindexofwhich
dayacalendardayis,andreturnsavaluefrom1and7,with1correspondingtoSunday,and7

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correspondingtoSaturday.Filtering,selecting,andthenorderingbydescendingquantities
satisfiesthequestionoftable2.
Ifyouranthequeryonthesampletable,youdgetthefollowingoutput,with2correspondingto
Monday(June27th,2016):

3. Twoapproaches(usingLeftJoinvs.GroupBy):
a. SELECT

COUNT
(
DISTINCT
A.item_ID)

FROM
transactionsA
LEFT

JOIN
(
SELECT
purchase_date

FROM
transactions

WHERE
day_of_week(purchase_date)
IN
(Monday,
Tuesday,
Wednesday,
Thursday,
Friday))
AS
B
ON
A.Transaction_ID
=
B.Transaction_ID
WHERE
B.purchase_date
=
NULL

b. SELECT

COUNT

FROM
(
SELECT
item_ID

FROM
transactions

WHERE
IsWeekDay(purchase_date)
!=

TRUE
groupby
item_ID)

Eitherapproachwillnarrowdownatableofitemsthatwerenotpurchasedontheweekend,then
applyaspecialcounttoit.

TipsforSQLQuestions:

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1. Dosmallqueriesfirstinsteadofgoingtothesubqueries.Breaktheproblemdownto
specificintermediatetables,anddothequeriesforthoseintermediatetablesfirst.
2. Becarefulofthecolumnyoudothejoinon.Askwhetheryouwanttokeeprowswhere
therewasntamatch(i.e.leftjoinifneeded).
3. Ifyoudontknowtheexacttransformationfunction,assumetheexistenceofone,statethe
input/outputtotheinterviewer,andmoveon.

2DevelopaKNearestNeighborsalgorithmfromscratch
(
algorithmcoding
)

Rationale
:Showingyoucanwriteoutthethinkingbehindanalgorithmanddeployitefficiently
inagiventimeconstraintwillbeacriticalwaytoevaluatedataengineeringskills.Thiskindof
questionwillbeaskedofdatascientistswhohaveknowledgeofbothalgorithmsandtheir
technicalimplementation,ordataengineerswhoaregivencontextonwhatisthealgorithm.This
questionscanbeaskedofanyalgorithm,butmostofthetimeinterviewerswilluserKnearest
neighbours,asitsrelativelyeasytocomeupwithcodethatcanwork.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:First,clarifythequestion.Givenafeaturevector,findthe
euclideandistancefromthatvectortoeveryotherknownvector,andtaketheclassthatisthe
majoritywithintheclosestKvectors.Thisparticularquestiontestsyourunderstandingofmatrix
computationandhowtodealwithvectorsandmatrices.Startbygoingthroughasamplesetof
inputsandoutputs,andmanuallyderivetheanswer.Also,keepaneyeonthetime/space
complexity.Inthesolutionbelow,eachpredictionisofO(2N+NlogN)timecomplexitywhereN
isthenumberofrowsoftrainingdata.

Youwillwanttowritedownyoursolution.Syntaxcounts,andsodovariousfaultsthatwillstop
yourcodefromcompilingproperly,butitdoesntcountasmuchasexpressingthelogicbehindthe
algorithm,andshowinghowyoucanapplyalgorithmicthinkingtotheplaneofcomputerscience.

Solution
:

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Othercodingquestionscanbemorebigdataspecific.Forexample,askingaboutmapreduceisa
typicalquestioninthecasethatthepositionrequiresanalysisofverylargedatasets.Questions
hereaskhowtotaketheaverageofalargedatasetorfindthemostfrequenteventinanevent
stream.

3HowdoeswordcountmapreduceworkonHadoop?

Rationale:
YouwillgetquestionsaboutHadoopandbigdatatoolsifyouindicateonyourCV
thatyouhaveexperiencewiththem,orifthecompanyinquestiondealswithmassivedatasets.
LargerFortune500companiesandtechstartupsthathavescaledbeyondmillionsofusersare
likelytochallengeyouonyouruseofbigdata.Youshoulddemonstrateaknowledgeof
mapreduce,whichcancomefromworkexperienceorplayingaroundwithmassivedatasetson
yourown.Hortonhasresourcesdedicatedtohelpingpeoplelearn
MapReduce
ifyouneedto
brushup.

HowtoApproachtheAnswer
:Thisquestionseeshowdeeplyyouunderstandthemapreduce
frameworkonHadoop.ThisistypicallydoneusingJava.Althoughthewordcountproblemisan
extremelycommonlyunderstoodone,knowinghowit'simplementedwithintheJavaHadoop
frameworkistheimportantpiecehere.

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Answer
:Thedrivercodewouldsetupthejobandconfiguration.IfthedatacomesfromHDFS
andoutputiswrittentoHDFS,addtheinput/outputpathtothejobtothosedirectories.Thenthe
mapperjobwouldtakeeachlineinthefileandemitavalueof1foreachwordasthekey.Notethat
thedatapassedbetweenmapperandreducermustusetheHadoopdatastructuressuchasText
andIntWritablessincethesearemoreefficientforbytearrayserializationvs.primitivetypessuch
asStringsandInts.Themapperoutputwouldthenbecollectedineachexecutor,andthenthe
combinertaskwouldbeexecuted.Thecombinerisalocalaggregatorthatisoptionallysetto
reducetheamountofdatasentbetweenthemappersandreducers.

Onceallthemappersarecomplete,onlythencantheshufflephasebegin.Youmightobserveyour
jobsstuckat33%reducer,whichimpliesthattheshufflephaseiswaitingonthemappersto
complete.Onceallthekeysaresenttothereducersbasedonthisshuffle,thesortphasebeginson
eachreducer.Afterthat,thereducelogicisexecuted,andtheoutputcanbewrittentoanother
HDFSfile.

Commonfollowupquestionsininterviewswouldbetoestimatethetimecomplexityofthis
algorithm,andtheamountofdatathesystemwritesorcommunicatesbetweenmachines.Dont
forgettotakeredundancyintoaccount,i.e.aHadoopsystemusuallymakesmultiplecopiesofdata
incaseamachinegoesdown.

ScenarioQuestions

1Ifyouwereadatascientistatawebcompanythatsellsshoes,howwouldyoubuildasystem
thatrecommendsshoestoavisitor?(QuestionaskedinVerizonDataScientistInterview)

Rationale
:Thisquestiontestshowyouthinkaboutyourworkintermsofdeliveringproducts
fromendtoend.Scenarioquestionsdonttestforknowledgeineveryfieldtheyaresettoexplore
aproductfrombeginningtodeliveryandseewhatlimitsthecandidatewouldhave.Whilealso
evaluatingforholisticknowledgeofwhatittakestomanageateamtodeliverafinalproduct,this
questionistoseehowthecandidatewouldfitintoateamsituation.

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Typically,datascientistswillbeaskedthisquestion,whiledataengineersoranalystsmightbe
askedforspecificpartsofthescenariorelevanttothem.Dataengineersmightbeaskedtothinkof
howtoimplementacertainalgorithmatscalewithouthavingtothinkofthealgorithmitself,while
dataanalystsmightbeaskedwhatdatatheydquerytodetermineusershistoricalpreferencesfor
shoes.

HowtoAnswerthisQuestion
:Beveryhonestastowhereyoucanaddalotofvalue
(emphasizewhatpartsyouvehadexperiencein),butdontbeshyaboutwhereyouexpecttogeta
littlebitofhelp.Trytorelatehowyourtechnicalknowledgecanhelpwithbusinessoutcomes,and
alwaysenumeratethethoughtprocessbehindyourchoicesandtheassumptionsthatguidethem.
Donthesitatetoaskquestionsthatcanbettertailorfityouranswer.

Answer
:Breaktheanswertotwocomponents:DatascienceandDataengineering

Let'sdiscussthedatascienceelementfirst.Ifitisanewcompanythatdoesnothavemuch
historicaluserdata,gowithitemitemsimilarity.Ifthenumberofdifferentitems/shoesis
extremelylarge,considerusingmatrixfactorizationtechniquestoreducethedimensions.

Ifyouhavehistoricaldataarounduserpreferences(e.g.ratingsofshoes),youcanusea
collaborativefiltertypeapproach.Mentionspecificallytherowsandcolumnsofthematrixyou
generatewitheitherapproach.Thendiscusswhatkindofsimilaritymetricsyouwouldtry.E.g.
euclideandistance,Jaccardsimilarity,cosinedistance.

Afterexplainingthealgorithmicaspect,youwoulddiscussthedataengineeringside.Proposean
engineeringinfrastructurethatscalestomillionsofusers/shoeswhererecommendationsare
generatedinrealtime.Asanexample,youcanstreamtheuserdatatoaS3bucket.Youcan
performthematrixanalysisonanightlybasis,precomputetheentiresetofrecommendationson
aperuserbasis,andstorethisinainmemorydatabasesuchasRedis.Thenyoucouldbuilda
RESTAPIthatwouldquerythedatabaseandrespondwiththerecommendationsgivenauserid.

Question2.HowmuchisthemonetaryvalueofashareofaChange.orgpetitiononfacebook?
(Change.orginterviewquestion)

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Rationale
:Theintentofthisquestionistoseehowmuchyouunderstandaboutthebusinessand
howwellyoucanbreakafairlycomplexproblemdowntobasicconceptsandthenconvertthese
conceptstoanalyzablechunksbasedontheavailabledata.Thisisagoodtesttoseehowwellyou
canabsorbacompanysframeworkforthedataandhowwellyoucancommunicatebusiness
insightsderivedfromyourdataanalysis.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Makesureyouresearchthecompaniesyouinterviewfor
thoroughly,especiallytheirrevenuemodel.Getasenseforwhat
importantmetrics
thecompany
wouldusetotrackitsperformance,andgetusedtothinkingaboutwhatactionsacompanymust
drivetomakerevenue.Askquestionsandstateanyassumptionsyoumighthave,whichsketchout
howyourethinkingaboutthisproblem,thenanswerwithforceandconvictionasifyoure
presentingtoyoursupervisor.

TheAnswer
:ThisquestionrequiressomebasicunderstandingoftheChange.orgbusiness.A
shareofapetitioncanresultinrevenuegenerationintwodifferentways
1. Anotheruserclickingonanadvertisement(i.e.signingapaidpetition)
2. Anewusersigninguponthesystemwhothengoesontoclickonasetofadvertisements
duringthatuserslifetime
Thefirststepisfiguringoutamethodologythatwouldallowyoutoderiveavalueofbothofthese
ways.Thetrickistostartsimple.Youcansimplifythevalueequationtothefollowing:

Valueofashare=Expectedrevenuefromclickinganad+Averagenumberofnewsignupsper
shareevent*LifetimeValueofanewsignup
Expectedrevenuefromclickinganad=Likelihoodofanadvertisementclick*Averagecostper
clickchargedtopublishers

Likelihoodofanadvertisementclickcanbederivedbyjustlookingatthehistoricaldataand
findingtheaverageconversionrateoverthecourseofatimewindowsuchasamonthoryear.A
similarvaluecanbederivedforthecostperclick.

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FortheLTV,it'salittletricky.Youneedtolookatusersoverthecourseofsimilarlifetimesand
derivetheirtotalrevenuegenerated.Onecommonmethodofdoingthisiscalledthecohort
analysisorretentionanalysis.Youcangroupusersthatsigneduponaspecificmonthandlookat
howmanyofthemclickedhowmanyadsoverthecourseofthenexttwelvemonths.Dothisover
twelvedifferentcohortmonths,andthentaketheaveragerevenueoverthelifetime.Now,the
lifetimetoanalyzecanbesettobehoweverlongittakesthatcauseandeffectrelationshiptobe
considerednegligible,i.e.theuserthatsignedupduetotheinitialsharewouldhavesignedup
anywaybeyondthattimewindow,hencetherevenuegeneratedcannotbesolelyattributedtothe
share.

OnceyouhavetheLTV,plugitintotheoriginalequation,andyouhavethevalueofapetition
share.Therearedeeperelementsyoucangointo,suchastherevenuegeneratedbythenewly
joininguserssharingthemselveswhichcausesotheruserstojoin.Makesurethatifyouaregoing
toincludeadditionalelementstoyouranswerthatitdoesntdiluteyourmainmessage.Stay
laserfocusedonansweringtheoriginalquestion.Ifyouhaveassortedthoughtsonthesituation,
leavethemtotheend.

3Givenasetofhistoricalnewsarticlesthathavebeenclassifiedasspecificcategoriessuchas
Sports,Politics,World,howwouldyouclassifyanewarticle?

Rationale
:Thisquestionlooksathowdeeplyyouunderstandthedatasciencemethodologyand
yourexperiencewithdealingwithunstructuredtextdata,animportanttestforhowcomfortable
youarewithdataformatsthatmightbedifficulttodealwith.

HowtoAnswertheQuestion
:Specifyhowyouwouldorganizethetextandhowyouthinkof
classificationsystems.

Samplesolution:

1. Explorethedataandunderstandkeyelementsofthedata.
a. Plotthedistributionofvariouscategoriesinyourtrainingsettodetermineifthereis
labelimbalance.

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b. Lookatthetexttoidentifyanythingstrange,suchasnonenglishtext,heavy
abbreviations,ormisspellings.
c. Dotopicextractiontoidentifykeywordsforspecificlatenttopicsandfindcorrelation
tothelabelledcategories.Thismaygiveyouahintastowhethertherearelatent
topics(keywords)thatmaycorrelatebetterthanjustusingallthewords.
2. Derivethetrainingsetbycleaningupthetext.Removelesserinformativeelementssuchas
punctuation,abbreviations,andunicodecharacters.Dofurthercleaningbytakingthelower
caseofwordsandlemmatization/stemming.
3. UseaTFIDFvectorizertoconvertthedatatoabagofwordsmodelwithTFIDFmetric.et
lowerandupperboundstoTFIDFtoreducethevocabularysize.
4. Buildapipelinewhereyoucantrainvariousmodelsandcomparetheirperformance
relativetometricssuchasAUC,F1score,precision,andrecall.Youcandogridsearchto
automatethecrossvalidationaspectaswell.
5. Onceyougettheoptimalmodel,youcanpublishthismodeltoproductionusingapickled
model(inpython)orPOJO(injava).Thismodelcanthenbequeriedbyusingtheexact
sameprocessofcleaningasdonein#2and#3forthenewarticles.

4Designanexperimenttofigureoutwhichwebdesignalternativetouse.Assumetherehave
beennootherexperimentsdoneandthereisnoknowledgeoftheuserbehavior.Discusspotential
issuesthatcanoccurwiththeconclusionsandhowtoavoidthem.

Rationale
:Manywebcompaniesaskthisquestionbecauseitistheirbreadandbutterto
optimizetheirwebsiteforbetterbusinessresults.ThinkofFacebookconstantlychangingtheir
homepagetogetyoutopostmore.Thedatascientistsroleisofteninhelpingtheproductmanager
setuptheexperimentorinterprettheexperimentresults.Thegoalofthequestionistoseethe
depthoftheknowledgeoftheintervieweeinthistopic.

Solution
:Identifythenatureofthechangeandthemetrictoconsidertodecidewhichversionof
thesitetochoose.Forexample,clickthroughrateandaveragenumberofFacebookshares.

Next,decidethenumberofsamples/visitsnecessarytohitthenecessarystatisticalsignificance
(e.g.95%).Thiscanbedonebyusingachisquaredtest(ifweareusingabinomialrandom

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variableofclickingvs.notclicking)oraztest(ifweareusinganormallydistributedrandom
variable).YoucanthenevaluatethepvaluetoidentifywhetherthemetricoftheBtestis
statisticallysignificantlydifferentthanthemetricofthebaselineAtest.Ifitisandthemetricis
betterthanthebaseline,thenthealternativesiteisthebetterwaytogo.

Someotherissuesyoushouldconsiderinthisanswer
:

1) Identifypotentialbiasesduetointeractionsacrosspages.Talktotheproductmanagerand
seeiftherearewaysthatarandomsamplingmaynotworktotestthenatureofthechange
youreproposingforawebpage.
2) PerformaA/Atestwhichimpliestestingtworandomsamplesofvisitors,andcheckifthe
distributionandmetricofchoicedoesnothaveastatisticallysignificantdifference.This
willensurethefairnessoftheA/Btest.AnA/Atestensuresthatyouraudiencedoesnthave
aparticularskeworbiasandarandomizedselectionforanA/Btestwillbestatistically
relevant.
3) Whatifthemetricthatweareevaluatinghassignificantoutliersthatmaycausetheaverage
tobeapoormetric?Thedistributionmaybehighlyskewed.Weassumetheaverageisa
goodmetricofcomparisonsincecentrallimittheoremholds.Thismaynotbetrue.Hence,
checkthedistributionofthemetrictoensurethattakinganaverage(e.g.conversionrateor
averagenumberofsharesperuser)isareasonablemetricwhencomparingbetween
alternatives.Ifoneuserhasthousandsofsharesattributedtotheiraccount,forexample,
usingsharerateperusermaynotbethebestperformancemetric.

Insummary,casequestionsaredesignedtotestforyourexperienceandyourknowledgein
differentfieldsofdatascience.Theyaredesignedtoseeifyouhaveanylimitstoyourability.
Demonstrateyourknowledgethoroughly,andyoullcomeoffwellinanycaseanalysis.

TacklingtheInterview

1) Dressedaccordingly.Ifitsaninterviewforastartup,adressshirtwillsuffice.Ifitsan
interviewwithabank,wearsuitandtie.Ifyoureunsureofwhattowear,ask.

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2) Beforeyoucomeintotheinterview,researchyourinterviewerandthecompany.Comeup
withgoodquestionstoask.
3) Beatthetopofyourgamementally.Eatwell,behydrated,exercisewell,anddowhatever
youcantomakesureyourepreparedtohandleaninterview.
4) Answerquestionsindetail,andsketchoutyourthoughtprocess.
5) Smile,andbeconfident.Dontcomeinstressed.Meditate,stretch,orreaddowhateverit
takestogetyoutoyourpeak.

Conclusion

Thedatascienceinterviewprocessisamultifacetedbeast.Youllbechallengedtoprogramand
comeupwithtechnicalalgorithmsonthespot.Youllbechallengedaboutyourstatisticaland
mathematicalknowledge.Youllbechallengedonyourabilitytoleadteams,communicate,
persuade,andinfluence.

Itcanbehardtoseehowtopassthisbeastofaninterviewprocess.Thankfully,wecondensed
actionableinsightsfromsuccessfulapplicantsandthehiringmanagersontheothersideofthe
table.

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What Hiring Managers Are Looking


For

InterviewwithWillKurt(QuickSprout)

Bio:WillKurtisaDataScientistwithQuickSprout.His
maininterestsareprobability,writing,andHaskell.He
blogsatCountBayesie.comandcanbefoundonTwitteras
@willkurt

Whatdoyoulookforwhenyourehiring
candidates?

Thebiggestthingformehasalwaysbeenacombinationof
creativityandgenuinecuriosity.Inastartupenvironment,
newproblemscomeupeverydayinawiderangeofareas.
Onemonthyoumaybehelpingtheproductteamaddnewfeatures.Thenextmonth,youllhelp
salesimprovetheirprocess,andthemonthafter,youllbehelpingmarketingrestructuretheir
testingsetup.Themostvaluablecandidatesaretheonesinterestedinallofthecompanysdata
relatedproblemsandalwaysthinkingofnewandinterestingwaystosolvethem.

Whatsthebestpieceofadviceyoucangivetopeoplegoingthroughthedatascience
interviewprocess?

Inmyexperience,allsmallcompaniesandstartupsworthworkingforareexcitedabouttheidea
ofaddinganewdatascientisttotheteam.Theyhopeyourskillsandexperiencewillhelpthem
solvearangeofproblemstheyvebeenstrugglingwith.Showuptotheinterviewreadytolistento
whattheyretryingtosolveandgetthemexcitedaboutsolvingproblemstogether.Everychance
yougetaskpeoplewhattheyreworkingonandgetthembrainstormingwithyouaboutwaysyou
couldmaketheirdaybetter.Therearethousandsofcandidatesouttherewithsuperbquantitative

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skills,butcandidateswhocareandareexcitedareveryrare.Leavetheinterviewwitheveryone
wantingtoworkwithyouonaproject,andtheyllbetheoneshopingyousayyes.

Whatkindofinterviewquestionsdoyouliketoask?Whatareyoutryingtotest?

AllIcareaboutishowyourmindworksonceitsfixeditselfonaninterestingproblem.At
Kissmetrics,Igaveoutanopenendedhomeworkassignment.Therewasanobviousapproach
totheproblem(buildaclassifier),butImentionedthisandcautionedthatpartofthetestwasto
seeifyoucouldcomeupwithsomethinginteresting.Theresultsoftheassignmentdidnthaveto
belongorcomplicated.Whatmatteredisthattheystartedaconversationandshowedthatthe
candidatehadgenuinecuriosityinfindingsomethingworthtalkingabout.Giventhatacandidate
cancodeandiscomfortablewithlinearalgebra,calculus,andprobability,theyhavethebasicsto
learneverythingelse.Itisveryhardtoteachsomeonetothinkcreativelyorbecomepassionate
aboutproblems.

WhatisdifferentabouthowKissmetricsandQuickSprouthiredatascientists?

Rightnow,Quicksproutisaverysmallteamintheearlystagesofproductdevelopment,sowere
nothiringnewdatascientistsatthemoment.Onethingthataspiringdatascientistsshouldknow
isthatmanystartupsandsmallcompaniesarelookingforadatascientistbutmayhavegivenup
onfindingoneasthesearchprocesscanbeexhausting.OneofourbestcandidatesatKissmetrics
showedupatourdoorandsaid,Iwanttoworkhere!Peoplecomingfromacademiaorother
largeorganizationsmightnotbeawareofhowflexiblestartupsandsmallcompaniescanbewhen
itcomestohiring.Ifyouthinkacompanyisdoingcoolwork,connectwiththem.Itshardtomake
abetterimpressiononagroupofpeopleexcitedabouttheirworkthantellingthemyoulovewhat
theyredoingandwanttobeapartofit.Evenifthatcompanyisnthiring,youllbeatthetopof
thelistif/whentheydostartlooking.

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InterviewwithMattFornito(OpsVisionSolutions)

Bio:MattFornitoisaDataScientistandLeaderwithover
tenyearsofexperienceintheresearch,analytics,and
managementdomains.Apassionforlearninganddevout
workethiccontinuestohelphimgrow.Thisinterviewis
transcribedfromnotestakenonaphonecallwithMatt.

Whatdoesyoulookforwhenyourehiring
candidates?

Ifeelmostcomfortablehiringpeoplewithastrong
quantitativebackgroundwhocanlearnprogramming
ratherthantheotherwayaround.AMastersoraPH.Disveryimportanttome,asIfeelthat
undergradisnotastrongsignalofsuccessitsarelativebreezeformostpeople.Ipreferhiring
peopleabletopickupprogrammingandeffectivecommunicationknowingandunderstanding
whatthetechnicalproblemsaretoimplementingasolutionandbeingabletocommunicatethose
conceptsiskey.Whatdifferentiatesdatascientistsanddataanalystsistheabilityofdatascientists
todeeplyunderstanddataproblemsandhowtosolveforthem.

IlikerecruitingMastersandPhDsfrommathandstatistics,chemistry,physics,and
bioinformaticsandengineering.ThereareasmallhandfulofpeopleinMBAsthathaveworked
outgreatforme.IamactuallyaPhDinorganizationalpsychology,sothoughItendtotrytohire
peoplewithSTEMbackgrounds,itisntastrictlimitation.

Whatsthebestpieceofadviceyoucangivetopeoplegoingthroughthedatascience
interviewprocess?

RecruiterslookateducationlevelandthelasttwojobsontheCVandtheirpedigree.HRsonly
takeaveryquickglanceatCVs,soyouhavetostandoutinamatterofseconds.Onepieceof
advice:getyourselfintoabigcompanythathasapedigreelikeFacebook,orgointoastartupand
takeahighpositionsothatyoucanstandouteasilyforadvanceddatascienceroles.

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Walkmethroughaprojectquestionswhereahiringmanagerwillaskexactlyhowyoubuilt
somethinginthepastarehugeeverythingfromwhatdatawasused,whattoolswereused,what
theoutcomeswereareimportanttorecountclearly.successfulintervieweeshaveacomfortable
grasponwhattheyveworkedonandarereadytostorytellonthatelementandrelatehowtheir
workimpactedthebusinesstheywereworkingfor.

Whatareyoutestingfor?

QuestionsIaskinvolveworkingaroundaprojecttotestproblemsolvingandcommunication
skillsacrosstheinterview.Iamalsoassessingacandidatespassionforthecompanyanddata
science.Adriveforcontinuouslearningandloveofproblemsolvingarekeydifferentiators.Then
onthetechnicalside,Iaminterestedinseeingcandidatesworkonhowtooptimizedatawith
HadoopandSparkandworkingonthetradeoffsbetweendifferentdatasciencesolutions.Dothey
thinklikeadatascientist?Havetheydonedatasciencework?TheseareimportantquestionsIam
lookingtouncoverwithmyinterviewprocess.

Iwillthengointomathquestionssuchasaskinghowgradientdescent,statisticaltechniques,and
randomforestwork.Acoupleofsituationalquestionswherethecandidateisputthrougha
hypotheticalclientsituationaredeployedtoseehowthecandidatewouldhandleinterfacingwith
clients.IhaveastrictrequirementofabilitytoprograminPythonorR,butIamflexiblewithC++
andJava.IdontbelieveinHackerRankliketestingsituationswhereyouareexpectedtotraceout
asolutionIwouldrathertestforadaptiontonewprogramminglanguagesandanabilitytolearn
skillsrapidly.Anybodyhiredisgoingtohavetohavethelatentskillof
adaptability,andthatis
thekeythingIamtestingfor.

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InterviewwithAndrewMaguire(PMC/Google/Accenture)

Bio:AndrewhasbeenworkinginAnalytics/Data
Sciencefor7yearsinvariousrolesacrossmany
differentindustries.HeisaDataScientistatPenske
MediaCorporationfocusingonbothdata
engineeringinfrastructureaswellasapplied
businessanalytics.Priortothisposition,heworked
atGoogle(marketinganalytics,thenlocaldata
quality),Accenture'sAnalyticsInnovationCentre
(consultancy),andAon'sCenterforInnovationand
Analytics(productdevelopmentteam).

Whatdoyoulookforwhenyourehiring
candidates?

Beyondmeetingthebasicrequirementsfromatechnicalandexperiencepointofview,I'dsay
enthusiasm,willingnessandabilitytocontinuallylearnnewthingsarekey..

Agoodattitudeissuperimportant,sosomeonewhoisabletoalsotellmeabouttheirweaknesses
aswellasstrengthsisagoodwaytodrawthisout(sometimessellingtoohardisabitoffputting
humilityismuchbetter).

Beingapproachable,openandhonestissomethingthat'skeyonthe'teamfit'side.Youdonthave
toknowtheanswerforeverythingbutbeingabletoworkwithotherstocomeupwithadecent
solutioniscrucial.

Whatsthebestpieceofadviceyoucangivetopeoplegoingthroughthedatascience
interviewprocess?

Onthetechnicalstuff,takeyourtime,writestuffdown,andaskclarifyingquestions.Alsodon'tbe
afraidtotellthemifitsanareayou'venotworkedonbeforeoranalgorithmyou'renotthat

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familiarwith.Beingabletoadmitwhenyourknowledgeislimitedissuperimportantasadata
scientistcontinuallylearningisoneofthemostimportantskillsrequired.

Makesureyouhavetwoorthreedatascience'stories'youcanchataboutwithaninterviewerthat
touchonproblemformulation,datawrangling,analysisandinsights,visualizationand
stakeholdercommunication.Trytogetthebalancerightbetweencoolnerdytechnicalstuffand
showingbusinessunderstandingandinsights.These'stories'canbeprojectsfromyourprevious
roles,collegeassignments,orprojectsyoudidonyourowntime.Getgoodatspottingopenings
frominterviewerquestionstouseyourstoriestoshowconcreteexamplesandexperience.Ifind
thatchatting(indetail)aboutprojectsthecandidatehasdoneinthepastisthebestwaytogeta
properfeelforthem(andbestplacetoprobedeeperfrom),somakesureyoumakeiteasyforthe
interviewertobeinterestedandexcitedtoaskyouaboutsomeprojectsorexamplesfromyour
CV.

Whatkindofinterviewquestionsdoyouliketoask?Whatareyoutryingtotest?

What'sthebiggestormostcomplexdatasetyouhaveeverworkedwith?Whatproblemsdidit
create?(Tryingtobeginadiscussionherethatcanleadintojudgingdatawranglingskillsand
experience)

Givemeanexampleofatimewhenyouanalysedadataset,andcommunicateyourfindingsback
tothebusiness.Whatwastheproblemfaced?Whatdidyoufind?Howdidthisaffectthe
business?(Touchontheextractingbusinessinsightsandcommunicatingbacktostakeholders
aspects)

IaskquestionsveryrelatedtowhatisontheCV,soifit'saprojectfromapreviousrolefor
example,Iwantyoutoexplainwhattheproblemwas,whatsortofdatayouused,howyouusedit,
whattheinsightswere,andhowthisallfitsintothewiderbusiness.Choosewhatyouputonyour
CV
verydeliberately
.Ifyoufindithardtogetallontwopagesthenmaybehavedifferenttypes
ofcvsyoumightusefordifferenttypesofroles.

Finally,Iaskcandidatestogivemeanexampleofatimewhentheyfailed,thenaddwhatthey
thinkwentwrongandwhattheywoulddodifferentlyinfuture.Thisissomethingthatcomesout
ofHR101,butIliketohearwhattheyhavetosay:)

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WhatisdifferentabouthowGooglehiresdatascientistsfromtherestofthe
industry?

I'mnotsurethereistoomuchofadifferenceanymore.Generallyitdependsonthespecificrole.
Forveryspecializedpositionsthatareoftenmorelikeresearchorfellowshippositions,youwould
getmuchmoredetailedtechnicalquestionsandproblemstodriveintotherelevantareaof
expertiseinveryfinedetail.Formoregeneralistorbusinessrelatedroles,thefocusismoreonthe
rightmixoftechnicalskills,businessunderstanding,workinginteams,andcommunicating
resultstostakeholders.

ThemaindifferenceinGoogleisthatyouhavealotmoreinterviewsandmeetmorepeople,so
behindthescenestherearearound6+peoplewhohaveallmetyouandprobedyoufromtheir
owndifferentangles.Thesepeopleallhaveadifferentviewofyouandyourstrengthsand
weaknessesandmustcometoadecisionandconclusiontogetherthattypicallyinvolvestradeoffs.
Beingabletoshowdecentlevelofcompetenceacrosstheboardasopposedtobeingarockstarin
oneareabutlettingyourselfdowninotherswillgenerallyserveyouwell.Thisiswhereattitude
andbeingeasytogetalongwithcanbemostimportantevenifyoufallalittleshortononeofthe
competencies,iftheylikeyouandfeelyoucouldeasilygetuptospeedinthatareainafew
months,thenit'slesslikelytobeadealbreaker.

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InterviewwithHristoGyoshev(MasterClass)

Bio:HristoGyoshevistheHeadofBusinessOperations&
StrategyatMasterClass,afastgrowingstartupthatis
democratizingaccesstogeniusandreimaginingonline
education.Hepreviouslyworkedoncorporatestrategy,
businessoperations,andproductstrategyatboth
consumerweb(e.g.Yahoo!)andenterpriseSaaS
companies.MasterClassislookingtohireaDataScientist
&manyotherpositions.Checkoutthedetailsat
careers.masterclass.com/

Whatdoyoulookforwhenyourehiring
candidates?

Oneofthemainassetswelookforisadesiretoworkonprojectsacrossaverybroadrangeof
analyticdisciplinesfromquantitativemarketresearchand/ordesigning,conducting,and
analyzingusersurveys,tostatisticalanalysis,tobusinessintelligenceandanalytics.Wealsolook
forcandidateswhoarecomfortablelearningsomethingnewtoremovebottlenecksandkeepa
projectmoving,whennecessary.

Intermsofeducationalbackgroundandexperience,werelookingforananalyticalbackground
thatcombines1.sufficientknowledgeofstatisticstodeterminewhatisorisntavalidstatistical
inference,recognize&preventbiases,etc.and2.thedesireandabilitytoobtainandworkwith
realworlddata(whichisalwaysimperfect)andderiveactionableinsights.

Someonewhohasaverystrongquantitativebackgroundandabilitytoprocessandanalyzedata
usingExcel,SQL,andPythonorRwhoalsohasexperienceinsocialscienceresearchor
market/userresearch(througheitheracademicorindustrywork)andwhohasexperiencewith
businessreporting/analytics,couldbeanidealcandidateforus.

Whatsthebestpieceofadviceyoucangivetopeoplegoingthroughthedatascience
interviewprocess?

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Strivetounderstandandkeepinmindthebroadercontextoftheproblemyouarebeingaskedto
solveortheproblembehindthequestionyouarebeingasked.Wheneveryouareaskedto
performacertainanalysis,orbuildamodel,someoneatthecompanybelievesthatthiswouldhelp
themsolveaparticularproblem.Sometimesyoucantellinadvancethatitwont,andsometimes
youcansuggestabetterapproach.Youranalysis/model/otherworkproductwillalwaysbebetter
ifyoustartfromagoodunderstandingofthecoreobjectivesoftheclientsofyouranalysis.(This
appliesasmuchtoquestionsyouareaskedduringtheinterviewasitdoestoprojectsyouare
askedtoworkononceyougetthejob.)

Whatkindofinterviewquestionsdoyouliketoask?Whatareyoutryingtotest?
Weliketounderstandacandidatespreviousexperiencewithvarioustypesofworkthatweexpect
willberelevanttotheirrole.Thus,wemayaskforexamplesofspecifictypesofprojectstheyhave
workedon,andthenaskthemtowalkusthroughtheirapproachandthinking,thetoolstheyused,
themajorchallengestheyencountered,andhowtheyresolvedthem.

Wemayalsoaskcandidatestocompleteashortprojecttoseehowtheyapproachsomespecific
problemandyes,tobeabletoseethequalityofadeliverabletheyproduce.

WhatisdifferentabouthowMasterClasshiresdatascientists?
ComparedtomostDataScienceroles,thejobwithusinvolvesverylittlemachinelearningor
algorithms,andonlyminimaldatawrangling,butaverywidevarietyofanalysesthatwould
informabroadrangeofdecisionsabouttheproducts,business,andoperationsofthecompany.
Theworkwould,ofcourse,involvesomeexporting,processing,andanalyzingdatafromvarious
systems,butwouldalsoinvolvebuildingvariouspredictivemodelsdesigning,conducting,and
analyzingsurveysorexperimentshelpingtodefineandsetupreporting&metricsand
conductingoneoffanalysesrelatedtovariousaspectsofourbusinessoperations.

Correspondingly,wedontneedcandidatestobeproficientinmachinelearningoralgorithms,but
wedoneedthemtobehighlyversatileandfamiliarwithanumberofotheraspectsofdata
analysis.Wealsoneedthemtobewillingandabletolearntoolsormethodstheymaynothave
previouslyused.

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Conclusion

Hiringmanagersacrosstheboardloveitwhenyoudemonstrate:

1) Passionforthecompanyanddatascienceingeneral
2) Anabilitytogetalongwellwitheverybody,whichmayevenhelpyouwithweaknessesin
yourtechnicalability
3) Strongwillingnesstolearnanddemonstratedabilitytorapidlydoso
4) Astrongrecordofpreviousprojectsandtheabilitytorelatepreviousprojectswithimpact
driven
5) Stronganalyticalability

Nowletstalkabouttheothersideofthetable:successfulapplicantswhonowworkasdata
scientists.

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How Successful Interviewees Made It


SaraWeinstein

DataScientistatBoeingCanadaAeroInfo,

What surprised me and what I found

Springboardgraduate

difficult
:
How long the process took. I knew to
expect several interviews, and in fact had
three. With nearly a week between each,
plus waiting for my background check to
clear, theprocessfromfirstcontactto firm
offer took a month. It was stressful to say
the least. Staying positive, confident, and
prepared

for a whole month was

challenging. It would have been much


easier to bear if I'd known inadvancethat
it would take thatlong.Forothers facinga
lengthy multiinterview hiring process:
meditation is your friend. It helped me
What is advice youd have for how to ace

sleep at night, and I used the techniques

thedatascienceinterviewprocess?

rightbeforeinterviewstochannelcalmand

Interms ofpreparation,IwishIspentmoretime

confidence.

thinkingaboutanalyticsstrategy.I preppedhard

on stats, probability, ML, python/R...all the

technical stuff, but was nearly caught off guard


by a straightforward question about how I'd
approach a particular problem given aspecified
data set. My answer wasn't as confident as I
would have liked. I'd been so focused on the
"hard" stuff that I hadn't thought that much
about

higherlevel

analytics

methods

&

strategies.

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NirajSheth
DataAnalystatReddit,Springboardgraduate
You didn't ask this, but there were also
some things I did that I think worked out
well. One is to have a live project up
somewhere with a neat visualization (i.e.
morethan a githubrepowithareadme).It
doesn'thavetobefancyjustproveyoucan
buildsomethingthatworks(minewasa
fog

prediction map
, for example). It definitely
helpsgetyourfootinthedoor.

The other thing is to ask for a takehome


data set. I don't know about you, but I've

foundthatfor myselfandotherpeoplewho

What is advice youd have for how to ace

don'thavea formaldatabackground,itcan

thedatascienceinterviewprocess?

beintimidatingtoworkonadatasetonthe

IwishIhadstudiedmorefundamentalstatistics

spot I just hadn't developed the muscle

before interviewing. It's silly, but people often

memory for it yet. However, I knew the

look forwhetheryou arefamiliarwithtermslike

right questions to ask, and I could figure

TypeIandTypeIIerrors.Dependingonthetime

out how to answer them if I had a little

you have, I suggest getting a statistics textbook

time, so getting a takehome set let me

andatleastbecomingfamiliarwiththetermsout

showwhatIcoulddothatway.

there.

I should have probably expected this, but I was


surprised how poor we are as an industry in
evaluating projects. When I talked about past
projects,everyone justcared aboutinterestvalue
(does theanalysissay somethinginteresting?)
nobodyquestioneddeeplythemethodsIused.

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SdrjanSantic

relatetothesesameaffairs,butwithhaving

DataScientistatFeedzai|DataScienceMentor

tobreakoutthemathonawhiteboard.

atSpringboard

Howdidyourinterviewprocessgo?

Luckily, very smoothly! Most of my


interviews had a feeling of being a
conversationbetweenpeers,soIdidn'tfind
them very stressful. The companies I
interviewed with moved very quickly (one
round a week), which helped streamlined
theprocess.Iwasalsoveryimpressedasto
how most companiesthatturnedmedown
gavemeveryhonestfeedbackastowhy!

What is some advice youd have for how


people can ace the data science interview
process? What were some of the toughest
questions?
The most important thing, in my opinion, is
understanding how the major supervised and
unsupervised algorithmsworkand being ableto
explain them in an intuitive way. A good
commandofDataScienceterminologyiscrucial.
Candidates should also have a thorough
knowledge of relevant accuracy metrics, as well
as the various approaches to evaluation
(train/test, ROC curves, crossvalidation). The
tougherquestionswould

www.springboard.com

What were some of the factors for


youinchoosingyourcurrentjob?

Primarily, it was the opportunity to use a


technical toolset and solve problems I
hadn't solved before.Mypreviousrolewas
very focused on just building models. The
data was already completely cleaned and
preprocessed, and the exploratory work
was done using a commercial GUIbased
tool. I felt that my datawrangling and
commandlineedgewasbeingdulledslowly
and jumped at the opportunity to work in
an environment where I'll be able to "get
myhandsdirty"oncemore!

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Conclusion

Thecommonpointsforsuccessthesedatascientistsbringtotheforefrontareasfollows:

1) Dontthinkquestionsaboutbasicmaterialwontbecovered.Readuponstatistical
fundamentalsbeforeyougothroughtheinterviewprocess.
2) Bepreparedtodowellonnontechnicaldimensions.Companiesaretestingyouonyour
communicationskillsandyourabilitytogetalongwithfuturecoworkersasmuchasthey
aretestingyouonyourstatisticalandprogrammingknowledge.
3) Bepreparedtostorytellaboutwhoyouareandwhyyourpassionsandskillsareuniquely
valuableforthecompanyathand.Havingrelevantprojectsandbeingveryclearaboutwhat
youcontributedtothoseworkswillmarkyouasacandidateworthyofpassingtothenext
round.
4) Bepatient.Aninterviewprocesscantakealongtime.Youllwanttobepreparedtowait.

Weveprovidedyouallthatwehaveontheactualdatascienceinterviewprocess.Nowwehaveto
lookatwhathappensafteryouvefinishedinterviewing.

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7 Things to Do After The Interview

Afteryouvefinishedyourdatascienceinterview,youmightthinkyourworkisfinished.Thatsnot
necessarilythecase.Herearealistofthingsyoucandoaftertheinterviewtoensure,asbestas
possible,thatyoumaximizeyourchancesofmakingthebestlastingimpressiononyourpotential
employers.

1- Send a follow-up thank you note

Itisnowcustomarytosendafollowupthankyounote.Mostrecruitersnowagreethatitis
mandatorytodoso.Witheachofficeworkerreceivinganaverageof110emailsaday,youwont
wanttojuststickwithaboilerplateThankyoufortheopportunityemail.Howyoufollowupon
aninterviewcanmakethedifferencebetweeninternaladvocatesfightingtogetyouin,and
apathy.

Makesureyoureremembered.Youllwanttosendanemailattheveryleast.Candidateswhotake
theextrastepofsendinghandwrittennotesoralistofthoughtsaftertheinterviewwillstandout
fromtherestoftheaverage109emails.

2- Send them thoughts on something they brought up in the interview

Oneeasywaytodifferentiateyourselfistogobeyondsayingthanks.Rememberwhathas
happenedintheinterviewandmakeaconsciousefforttoteaseoutexactlywhatpainpointsthe
employeristryingtosolve.Ifsampleproblemswithintheinterviewareorientedtowardsa
technicaldirection,oraquestionnotesadisconnectbetweendifferentteams,youllwanttomake
anoteofitandsendindepththoughtsonanycompanyproblemsthatmayhavesurfacedduring
yourdiscussion.

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Afterall,aninterviewisntjustatestitsadiscussion.Ifyoulistencarefullytothequestions
presentedandasktherightquestionsyourself,youwillknowexactlywhatproblemsthecompany
isfacing.Makesureyousendthemthoughtsonwhatsolutionsyoudpursue.

3- Send relevant work/homework to the employer

Itcanbedifficultseeinghowyourdifferentskillsapplytotheoffice,especiallyforsomebodywho
hasjustmetyou.Thesharpesthiringorganizationswilloftengiveyouasampleproblemtosolve
thatissourcedfromsomerealissuetheyarefacingrightnow.Thisgivesyouthechanceto
demonstratehowyoureffortscanimpactthebusinessinapositivemanner.

Organizationsthatdontdothatwillhesitatetohiretherightcandidatebecausetheyhavent
sufficientlydemonstratedhowtheyddriveimpactforthecompanyinquestion.However,youcan
beproactiveandusewhatyoulearnedintheinterviewtofollowup.Youdonthavetostopat
sendingthemthoughtsthatshowyoulistenedcarefullyyoucangivethemactual,tangible
solutions

Theauthorof
thispostonForbes
wastoldthattheydidnthaveenoughofaportfoliotogetajob
asafreelancecopywriter.Aftertheinterview,thehiringmanagertoldthemthattheylikedthe
spiritthecandidatehad,butwerehesitantduetoalackofaportfolio.Havinglistenedcarefully
throughouttheinterview,thecandidateknewthatamajorproject(theredesignofawebsite)was
justoverthehorizon.

Insteadofacceptingdefeat,thecandidatesenttenproposedheadlinesforthewebsitebanner,free
ofcharge.Thisburstofinitiativegotherthejobofdoingtherestofthewritingforthe
websiteandtheattentionofaverybusyemployer.

Youneedtohaveaportfoliothatshowstheimpactyoucanmake,butsometimesthatisnt
enough.Ifyoureastuteandyouasktherightquestions,youcanfindamajordataproblemforthe
company.Therealwaysissomethingthatswhytheyrehiringforthefirstplace!Theresadata
projectouttherethateverybodywouldlovetoseedoneorathornyproblemthatnoonecanfigure
out.

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Sendthemaplanforwhatyouddoorplaywithsomeofthedatatheyvedivulged,andgivesome
solidinsightsintohowyouwork.Proactiveinitiativewillgoalongwaytogettingyouanoffer.

4- Keep in touch, the right way

Oneofthemostawkwardpartsofthepostinterviewprocessiswaitingforaresponse.Youdont
wanttocomeoffasdesperatebyfollowinguptoomanytimes,butcompaniestaketheirtimeif
youdontengagewiththemproactively.

Itispossibletoeffectthepostinterviewdecisionfromoutsideofthecompany,butyoushould
keepinmindtheappropriatechanneltoreachsomebody.Makesuretoaskbeforetheinterview
endshowbesttoreachyourinterviewer.Everybodyhasapreferredmodeofcommunicationif
theyspecifyshortemailsortocheckinonceinawhileinperson,followthatruleanddispelsome
ofthepostinterviewawkwardness.

5- Leverage connections

Youshouldhavecomeinwithstrongreferencesbothfromexternalandinternalsources.Ifyou
hadbeenbuildingyournetworkandprovidingvaluetothem,youshouldhavestrongadvocates
thatcansupportyourcandidacy.Checkinwithpeoplewhohavereferredyouinternallyeveryonce
inawhile,andifneeded,getthemtoadvancehowexcitedyouwouldbetoworkatthecompany
andhowluckythecompanywouldbetohireyou.

Hiringisoftennetworkdriven,andthestrongestsignalyoucansendtoapotentialemployerisa
strongnetworkofpeoplewhoarewillingtogotobatforyou.

6- Accept any rejection with professionalism

Nomatterwhat,youreoftengoingtogetrejected.Sometimes,yourenotrightfortherole,orthey
mighthavefoundsomebodywhoisabetterfit.Itsimportantatthispointtomaintainyour
composure,thanktheemployerfortheirtime,andmoveon.

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Peopleintheindustrytalkamongsteachother,andbeingunprofessionalatthispointwillonlybe
badkarmaandmightgetyouignoredatothercompanies.Beingprofessionalensuresthehealthof
yournetwork.Moreimportantly,anoisntalwaysano.Sometimes,companiesdokeepyour
profileonfileandtheywillreachoutforajobthatistheperfectfitforyou.

PerhapsWinstonChurchillputitbestwhenhesaidSuccessistheabilitytogofromonefailureto
anotherwithnolossofenthusiasm.

J.KRowling,theauthorofthepopularHarryPotterseries,sharedher
rejectionlettersfrom
publishers
.BrianChesky,thefounderofAirBnB(nowvaluedatmorethan10billiondollars)
published
sevenrejectionlettersfrompotentialinvestors
.Inordertoachievegreatness,youwill
havetoendurerejection.Everybodysuccessfulalreadyhas.

7- Keep up hope

Theinterviewprocesscanbeoneofgreatanxiety.Yourfuturecanbemappedoutbydeciding
whatcompanyyoucanworkfor.Aninterviewcanmeanthebeginningofacareerchange.Itcan
meanmovingcities.Itisaperiodinourliveswhereotherpeoplehaveadisproportionatecontrol
overourdestinies.

Nevertheless,asseenintheprevioussteps,youcontrolalotmorethanyouthink.Itsimportantto
keepyourheadupanddowhatyoucan.Themostimportantthingyoucandoduringthe
interviewprocess
istokeepuphope
.Interviewsarelengthy.Companiestaketimetogetbackto
you.Therearelengthyinternalchecksandprocessesbeforeacandidategetsaccepted.Youmaygo
throughmultipleroundsofinterviewswiththesamecompanyandnotseemanyclosertoafinal
offer.

Youhavetosetexpectations.DJPatil,theChiefDataScientistoftheUnitedStates(aposition
createdforhimbyPresidentObama)tooksixmonthstotransitionoutofacademiatoajobinthe
industry.
Youshouldneverbedisheartenedduringyourownjourney.

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The Offer Process

Yourgoalistogetasmanyinterestingoffersaspossiblethatyoucanevaluateandnegotiate.
Whiletheprocessitselfisdifficult,andmaytakelongerthanyoucouldexpect,onceyoustart
gettingoffers,youllhaveearnedthem.

Itskeytoemphasizehowimportantitistomanageyourexpectationsandkeepyourhopeup.
Severalofthedatascientistsweinterviewedtalkedaboutmonthstohalfayearofwaitingto
transferfromanadvanceddegreefromaprestigiousschooltoasecurejob.Alotofthemhadto
takeentrylevelpositionstogettheirfootinthedoor.

Youmighthaveheardalotofgreatthingsaboutdatascience,butyoullonlyexperiencethatwith
alotofhardworkandwaiting.

Makesureyouweighwhatispresentedtoyouandchoosethefutureyoudeserveonceyouve
spentallthehardworkearningit.

HandlingOffers

Ifyoufinishaprocesssuccessfully,youmighthaveoneofferormultipleoffers.Congratulations!

Acceptinganofferisacommitmentofsignificantamountsofyourtimetothecompanyin
question.Alwayskeepthatinconsideration.Thereareseveralfactorsyoucanusetoascertain
whetherornotanofferistherightoneforyou.

Company Culture

Thismightbeoneofthemostimportantfactorsindeterminingwhenanofferisoneyoushould
accept.Makesureyouaskaboutthekindofcompanycultureyouregoingtobeapartof.Lookfor
signsthatthecompanyhasindividualsthatgenuinelyenjoyspendingtimewithoneanother,and

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runawayfromgenericdescriptorsandcompaniesthatstruggletodefinetheircultureorwavethat
questionaway.Greatcompaniesinvesttonsoftimeandeffortintomakingsuretheyhave
awesomepeoplewholovewhattheydo.Thatllcomeoffinyourquestioning.

Youshouldalsocheckexternalandobjectivesourcessuchascompanyreviewson
Glassdoor
.
ApproachcurrentemployeesaswellasformeronesthatyoucanfindonLinkedIntogettheirside
ofthestory.Youlloftenfindcandidtalesthatcangiveyouagoodpreviewofworkingatyournew
jobwouldbelike.

Team

Companycultureisanextensionoftheteamthatinhabitsit,butyoushouldbeexcitedabout
comingtoworkeverydayandworkingwitheverybodyelse.Makesurethatyoureworkingwitha
teamthatyoucanlearnfrom.Youarethe
combinationofthefivepeopleyouspendthemosttime
with
,andyouregoingtobespendingalotoftimewithyourofficeteam.

Location

Makesurethatyourecomfortablewherethecompanyislocated,especiallyifyouremoving
significantdistances.Youcantmovewithoutgreatdifficulty,anditsimportantthatyoufeelat
easewithwhereyoulive.Mattersliketheweatherandthetransitsystemmattertoacertain
degree,especiallyifyouregoingtolivewiththoseconditionsforyears.

Negotiating Your Salary

An

astonishing18%ofpeoplenevernegotiatetheirsalary,despitethefactthatthosewhodo
typicallyseetheir
salaryraisedby7%
.

Whenyoufirstgetyouroffer,youreatanuniqueleveragepointthatyoumightnotseeagainfor
severalyears.Thisisthetimetotestwhatyoureworth.Reachoutwithanofferacompanywont
fireyouorcancelacontractofferbecauseyouwereassertingyourworth.Initialoffersaresent
withabufferforslightnegotiation.Takeadvantage.

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Duringasalarynegotiation,

1) Comewithawellresearchednumberforwhatyouwant.Looktoindustryaverages,andget
asensefrompeopleworkinginthefieldwhatyoushouldexpect.Nevercomeintoa
negotiationwithoutk
2) Knowingwhatyouwantoutofit.
3) Staypositiveanddontpushhardforwhatyoudeserve.Instead,usethisasapositive
experiencetoassertyourworthandthevalueyoucancreate.
4) Negotiatealittlebithigherthanwhatyouthinkyoullactuallyget.Anybodyexperiencedat
negotiationwillcomebacktoyouwithacounteroffer,andyoudbestbepreparedforit.
5) Mostimportantly,dontfearrejection!Solongasyoukeeptheprocessmovingforward
civillyandprofessionally,acompanywillappreciateyoubeingfrankandpositiveatwhatis
oftenthemostdifficultpartoftherecruitmentprocessforthem.

Beforeyouaccepttheoffer,makesureyouknowhowcommittedyouaretothecompany,team,
andmoney.

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Facts and Figures

Negotiationisalwayseasierifyouhavesomeaveragesalariestogroundyou.Ifyouhavespecific
offerstopropose,youllbestrongeratthenegotiationtable.

Herearesomefactsandfiguresthatcanstartyourresearch.

Indeed.com
cites
anaveragesalaryof$65,000fordataanalysts,anaveragesalaryof$100,000for
dataengineers,andanaveragesalaryof$115,000fordatascientists.Thisvariesfromregionto
region,withthehighestsalariestendingtoclusterinthetechheavyBayArea.Californiahasthe
highestrangeandmedianofallregionswhenitcomesdatascienceaccordingto
OReillyMedia
.
Globally,theUnitedStateshasthehighestmedianandrangeofdatasciencesalaries,whilethe
UK,NewZealand,Australia,andCanadaarentfarbehind.AsiaandAfricatendtohavethelowest
medians.

Thehighestpayingindustriestendtobetechnologyandsocialnetworkingcompanies,whilethe
lowestpayingonestendtobeeducationandnonforprofitsectors.

Thissalaryalsovariesbasedonskillsandtoolsused.
OReilly
hasadefinitivesurveyofhundreds
ofrespondentsintheindustry.Anopenstudy,theresultsindicateavarietyofdifferentfactors
thatleadtodifferentaveragesalaries.Justasanexample,peoplewhousetheScalalanguage
extensively,aspecializedtypeofprogramming,receiveabove$100,000inmediansalary,while
thosewhouseSPSS,aproprietarytool,earnsignificantlyless.

TakingtheOffertotheBestFirstDay

Ifyouveacceptedanoffer,congratulations!Youveaccomplishedthegoalofthiswholeprocess
andbrokenintothejobyouvesought,ajobthatpromisesgoodcompensationandtheabilityto
drivesignificantsocialimpact.

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Youllhavetokeepthatmomentumgoingforwardifyouwanttolearnasmuchasyoucan.Be
awarethatcompanies
willwork
tomakeyouascomfortableaspossible.Youshouldreachoutto
futureteammatesandfigureoutwhotheyareandhowyoucanhelpwiththeirproblemsatwork.
Takethetimetosocializeandmeetasmanypeopleasyoucan.

Moreimportantly,ifyouhavetimebetweenwhenyouacceptedtheofferandwhenyoustart,relax
andenjoy!Makesureyoucatchupwithasmanypeopleasyoucaninyourlife,takethechanceto
rest,andbecompletelyrefreshedforyourfirstdayatwork.

Conclusion
Thedatascienceinterviewprocessisoneofthehardestrecruitmentprocessestocrack,andits
oneofthemostcompetitive.Yourfellowintervieweeswillbeadvanceddegreeholders,andsome
ofthemwillhaveextensiveexperienceindatascience.

Whilethefieldisattractingmanytalentedpeople,rememberthatithasaslewofdifferent
industries,challenges,andteamstoworkwith.Ifyouthinkoutsideoftheboxandapplyafew
battletestedtactics,youllbeabletogetaninterviewandtakeitallthewaytoanofferyoulove.

Splittheprocessintoitscompositesteps,andrememberwhatittakestosucceed.Dontsearchfor
jobslikeeverybodyelsebyapplyingtothestandardjobpostsandsendingoutforlorncoverletters.
Beinnovativeandsolvecompanyproblemsproactively.Reachouttopeoplewithinthe
organizationforinformationinterviews.Dosomethingdifferentfromthehundredsofother
candidates,andstandoutasagreattechnicalthinkerand,aboveallelse,aproficient
communicator.

Gothroughthetechnicalandnontechnicalpartsofthedatascienceinterview.Onceyouve
masteredthethinkingbehindthequestionsandwhathiringmanagersarelookingfor,youllhave
agoodsenseofhowtoexcelthroughouttheprocess.

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Finally,whenyouhaveanoffer(orseveral)onthetable,takethetimetoevaluatethemwithgood
judgement.Takethetimeafteryouacceptanoffertorelax,skillup,andbringthemomentum
forwardto
yourfirstdayatadatasciencejob.

FinalThoughts
Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be
either lucky or wrong.-
Suhail Doshi
, CEO,
Mixpanel

The whole enterprise of teaching managers is steeped in the ethic of data-driven analytical
support. The problem is, the data is only available about the past. So the way weve taught
managers to make decisions and consultants to analyze problems condemns them to taking
action when its too late.-
Clayton M. Christensen
, management professor at Harvard
Were entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.-
Tim
OReilly
, Founder,
OReilly Media

Web users ultimately want to get at data quickly and easily. They dont care as much about
attractive sites and pretty design.-
Tim Berners-Lee
Data scientists are involved with gathering data, massaging it into a tractable form, making it
tell its story, and presenting that story to others.
Mike Loukides
, VP, OReilly Media

Checklist
1) Mapouttheroleyourskillsfit
2) Mapouttheindustriesandtypesofcompaniesyouwanttoworkfor
3) PrepareyourLinkedIn,CV,andemailtemplates
4) Researcheachcompanyandroleyouwanttoaimforthoroughly
5) Reachoutproactivelytoindividualswithincompanieswithinformationalinterviews
6) Buildstrongnetworksandreferrals
7) Tacklethedatascienceinterview
8) Keepuphope

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9) Negotiateyouroffer

Templates

Gettinganinformationalinterview

Hi[firstname],

IwassuperinterestedintheproblemsAirBnBisfacingindatascience.Ivebeenaspiringto
breakintothefield,andbeingapassionatefollowerofthe
AirBnBNerds
blog,Inoticedthat

buildingtrustwithdata
isanimportantpartofwhatdrivesAirBnB.Basedonmybackgroundin
psychologyandstatistics,Imightbeabletohelpcomeupwithsomecreativeideasonhowto

fostertrust.IdlovetotakeyououttocoffeeandgetagreatersenseofwhatproblemsAirBnB
hasperhapsIcanhelp!

Cheers,

[yourname]

[Greeting],

[Whyareyouinterestedinthecompany],[somethingthecompanyhasdonethatyoulove],[how
youcanhelp].

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Reachingouttogetareferral

Hi[firstname],

Itwasgreatseeingyouatthepotluck!Ivebeenlookingaround,andIminterestedinthe
problemsUberisfacing,specificallytheonesfacedbydatascientistsonthegrowthteam.Would
youmindintroducingmetothehiringmanagerorsomebodyontheteamsoIcouldseeifIcould
help?

Cheers,

[yourname]

[Greeting],

[Talkaboutlastpointofcontact],[talkaboutinterestincompanyandproblemsfacedbya
specificrole],[asktobeintroducedtohiringmanagertohelpsolvethoseproblems]

Followingupafteraninterview

Hi[askhowyourinterviewerpreferstobeaddressed],

ItwasapleasuretalkingwithyouaboutGooglesdatascienceproblems.IthinkIcanhelpwith
someoftheproblemsyouveenumerated,andIlookforwardtothenextstepsintheprocess!

Hello[Askyourinterviewerhowtheyprefertobeaddressedduringtheinterview],

[Talkaboutproblemsyoucanhelpsolve],[Statethatyourelookingforwardtonextsteps]

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Glossary
A/Bsplittest
AnA/Bsplittestisthegoldenstandardofexperimentdesignforwebcompanies,
wheretwogroupsofusersaresubjectedtodifferenttreatmentsandmeasuredtoseetheir
conversionratetoacertaingoal.Optimizely,awebcompanydedicatedtohelpingrunA/Bsplit
testshasa
goodguideontheconcept
.

Feature
Anuggetofinformationaboutanobject,usuallystoredasacolumnintabulardata.If
youmeasureandstoretheheight,weight,andgenderofanindividual,youarestoringthree
featuresaboutthem.

LifetimeValue
Theexpectedamountofrevenueacustomerisexpectedtogenerateoverthe
timetheyspendwithacompany.Asoftwareasaservicestartupthatsellssoftwarebythemonth
canexpecttocalculatethisbymultiplyingthemonthlypricewiththenumberofmonthsspent.

MapReduce
Asetofalgorithmsthatacttoabstractawaythedifficultyofstoringmassivedata
setsbytreatingdatasplitintomultipleserversinawayasintuitiveashandlingitfromone.
MapReduceusesparallel,distributedlogictodealwithmassivedatasets.

Overfitting
Thetendencyofamodeltofitontopastdata,overgeneralizingfromthoseinsights
tomakeinaccuratepredictionsinthefuture,draggeddownbytheweightofthepast.

TypeIError
Afalsepositiveistheincorrectacceptancethatsomethingishappeningakinto
tellingamanthatheispregnant.Intechnicalterms,itistheincorrectrejectionofthenull
hypothesis.

TypeIIError
Afalsenegativeistheincorrectacceptancethatsomethingisnthappening.Itis
akintotellingapregnantwomansheisntpregnant.Intechnicalterms,itistheincorrect
acceptanceofthenullhypothesis.

Formoreglossaryterms,consultthis
datascienceglossary
.

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Resources

Aparodyoftheinterviewprocessthatexaminessomehardtruthsfrom
KDNuggets
.

Thisbook,called
DataScienceInterviewsExposed
,offersmoresamplequestionsthatyoucan
tacklewithyourinterviewpractice.

The
DataScienceHandbook
offersreallifeadvicefromdatascientists,includingsomesmart
analysisonwhatmakesforagreatdatascientistandwhathappensduringtheinterviewprocessto
findthoseindividuals.Itscompanion,the
DataScienceInterviewGuide
,offers120questionsyou
mightseeinadatascienceinterview.

CrackingtheCodingInterview
isadefinitiveresourceforgoingthroughsoftwareengineering
interviewsandwillhelpwiththeprogrammingpartsofthedatascienceinterview.

This
Quorathread
goesintohowAirBnBhiresfordatascientists,aninsightfullookatthedata
scienceinterviewprocessfromanestablisheddatascienceleader.

This
exposebyTreyCausey
explainshowtoacethedatascienceinterviewprocessandoffersa
criticalandunvarnishedlookonhowoneshouldapproachthedatascienceinterview.
Erin
Shellman
alsotalksaboutherexperiencegettingajobindatascience.

AsI'vegottenolderandmoreexperienced,Ipushbackininterviews.Iaskquestionsaboutwhat
thepurposeofaproblemisorstatethatIdon'tthinkthisisagoodevaluationofmyskillsor
abilities.SomepeopleprobablyseethisasmethinkingIm"toogood"toanswerthequestions
everyoneelsehastoanswer,butIseeitasdoingmyparttobeacriticalthinkerabout
evaluation,prediction,andhiring.Hopefullyyou'lldothistooandasmoreofusareinaposition
wherewearebuildingteamsandhiring,we'llthinkmorecarefullyaboutwhatwe'retryingto
accomplishandhowwecangetthereinsteadofcopyingthesamepatternsthathavebeen
aroundforyears.

Thisarticleisan
insightfulread
abouthowdatascienceatTwitterworksandofferstheinside
perspectiveofsomebodywhoisadatascientistintheindustry.

Ifyoufindyourselfthinkingaboutprobability,refertothis
cheatsheet
tomakesureyoureontop
ofanyproblem.This
Quorathread
willhelpaswell.

EllenChisawrites
aboutthingsshehasscreweduponwhenitcomestotechnicalinterviewsyou
shouldmakesuretoavoidthosemistakes!

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Finally,FirstRoundReviewhasa
primer
onhowtohireexceptionaldatascientistsreaditto
knowhowthepeopleontheothersideofthetablethink.

AbouttheCoAuthors

Rogerhasalwaysbeeninspiredtolearnmore.Hebrokeintoacareerindatabyanalyzing$700m
worthofsalesforamajorpharmaceuticalcompany.HehaswrittenforEntrepreneur,
TechCrunch,TheNextWeb,VentureBeat,andTechvibes.
Forthisguide,hecompiledinsightfromSpringboard'snetworkofhundredsofdatascience
experts,includingSriKanajan,hiscoauthor.

SriKanajaniscurrentlyaseniordatascientistinNewYorkCityatamajorinvestmentbank.He
has14yearsofexperienceinvariousengineeringandmanagementcapacitiesandmadeacareer
transitiontobeadatascientistin2013.HecompletedafulltimedatasciencebootcampinSan
Franciscoandprogressedtobecomeadatascientistattwostartupsandeventuallyadatascience
manageratChange.orgbeforetakingonhiscurrentrole.Srialsoteachesparttimeasalead
instructorinGeneralAssembly'sDataSciencecourse.Heispassionateabouthelpingothersmake
thetransitionintodatascience.

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