Top 25 Data Engineering Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

Data Engineering Interview Questions and Answers

Getting prepared for an upcoming interview can be overwhelming, if you’re new to the world of big data and looking to break into a Data Engineering role or an experienced Data Engineer looking for a new opportunity. Given how competitive the market is right now, you should be well-prepared for your interview.

1. Why Did You Decide To Pursue A Profession In Data Engineering?

The response to this question provides the interviewer with further information about your education, history, and professional experience.

Sample Answer

“Since I was a child, I’ve had a great interest in computers. In my final year of high school, I knew I wanted to major in information systems. I studied math and statistics in college, which helped secure my first job as a Data Analyst for a big pharmaceutical organization. However, as much as I enjoyed applying my mathematical and statistical knowledge, I wanted to improve my programming and data management abilities. That’s when I became interested in data engineering.

To understand more about it, I spoke with professionals in the industry and attended online courses. It became the appropriate professional route for my unique interests and skills.”

2. What Exactly Is Data Engineering?

This question seeks to determine if you can competently describe your field. Offer a basic synopsis and a quick discussion of how data engineers communicate with colleagues.

Sample Answer

“Data engineering drives information gathering and processing by combining desktop software, mobile apps, cloud-based servers, and physical infrastructure. Effective data engineering necessitates careful planning, robust pipelines, and astute collaborators.”

3. Can You Recall A Moment When You Encountered An Unanticipated Challenge When Combining Data From Many Sources? How Did You Finally Resolve It?

This question allows you to exhibit your problem-solving abilities and how you handle unexpected changes in the plan.

Sample Answer

“In past jobs, my team and I were prepared for any problems that may happen throughout the ETL process. Nonetheless, now and again, an issue would arise absolutely out of nowhere. That occurred to me while I was working for a franchised firm. Its system necessitated the collection of data from numerous places. As a result, when one of the franchisees updated their system without warning, it caused quite a few loading troubles for their store’s data. To address this issue, I devised a short-term method to get the critical data into the company’s corporate wide-reporting system.”

4. What Are The Necessary Characteristics Of A Data Engineer?

Here discuss the talents and abilities you believe are necessary for data engineers. Try to think of particular situations when a data engineer would use these talents.

Sample Answer

“A skilled data engineer must understand how to organize distributed systems and data storage, as well as how to construct reliable pipelines and effectively integrate data sources. Data engineers must work well with team members and colleagues from other departments. To complete these jobs, a data engineer must have excellent math and computational skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving.” 

5. Daily, Data Engineers, And Data Architects Cooperate. What Distinguishes Your Role As A Data Engineer?

The interviewer is probably attempting to determine if you understand how job duties differ within a data warehouse team by asking this question. This question, however, has no “correct” or “wrong” response. The role of a data engineer and a data architect vary (or overlap) based on the needs of the company database maintenance department for which you work.

Sample Answer

“Based on my work experience, the differences between the two job tasks vary by firm. Yes, data engineers and data architects do collaborate closely. Nonetheless, their broad tasks differ. Data architects are responsible for developing the data architecture of the company’s data systems as well as maintaining the servers. Data engineers focus on testing and maintaining the architecture rather than designing it.”

6. Which Frameworks And Apps Are Essential For Data Engineers?

Hiring managers frequently use this question to assess your comprehension of the job’s primary needs and determine whether you have the necessary technical abilities.

Sample Answer

“Data engineers must be knowledgeable in SQL, Amazon Web Services, Hadoop, and Python.” I am well-versed in these frameworks, alongside Tableau, Java, Hive, and Apache Spark. I welcome any opportunity to learn new frameworks.”

7. Have You Used The Hadoop Framework To Create Data Systems? If So, Please Explain A Specific Project On Which You Worked.

During interviews, many hiring managers inquire about Hadoop. You should be aware that if such a question arises, you may need to utilize this particular instrument on the job. Do your study and familiarize yourself with the languages and tools used by the firm to prepare.

Sample Answer

“I utilized the Hadoop framework as part of a collaborative initiative to improve data processing efficiency. We opted to adopt it because of its capacity to boost data processing rates while maintaining quality through distributed processing. We also chose Hadoop because of its scalability, as the organization I worked for anticipated significant growth in its data processing demands in the coming months.”

8. Can You Describe The Design Schemas That Apply To Data Modelling?

Hiring managers may quiz you about design schemas to assess your understanding of the foundations of data engineering. While responding, try to convey the notion as simply and concisely as possible.

Sample Answer

“Star and snowflake schemas are used in data modeling. Dimension tables are linked to a fact table in the star schema. A comparable fact table and dimension tables with snowflake-like levels are included in the Snowflake schema.”

9. Can You Tell Us A Little Bit More About Your Data Engineering Certifications?

Certifications demonstrate to a potential employer that you have put in the time and effort to obtain formal training for talent rather than learning it on the job. The most recent information is required, because technology in this industry is changing, and improving your abilities is essential.

Sample Answer

“I’ve earned certifications as a Google Professional Data Engineer and a Cloudera Certified Professional Data Engineer during the previous few years.” I’m always on the lookout for additional training opportunities in my field. That, I feel, is the only way to expand my knowledge and skill set. I’m now studying for the IBM Big Data Engineer Certificate Exam. I also attend big data conferences with well-known speakers.”

10. What Has Been Your Most Difficult Career Challenge As A Data Engineer?

Hiring managers frequently use this question to discover how you handle problems at work. Rather than learning about the specifics of these issues, they are more interested in determining your resilience and how you learn from previous experiences. When responding, use the STAR approach, which entails explaining the scenario, task, action, and conditions from the outcomes.

Sample Answer

“Last year, I was the primary data engineer for a project that lacked internal support. As a result, my share of the project ran behind schedule, putting me in danger of disciplinary action. After my team missed the first deadline, I approached the project manager and presented alternative solutions. The firm sent more workers to my team on my recommendations, and we finished the project effectively within the original timetable.”

11. Do You Have Any Prior Experience Working In A Cloud Computing Environment? What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Working In One?

Cloud computing has advantages and disadvantages, as data engineers are well aware. Having said so, even if you have no experience working with cloud computing, you must be able to demonstrate awareness of its benefits and drawbacks. This will reveal to the hiring manager that you are an expert in the industry’s current technology concerns.

Sample Answer

“I haven’t yet got the opportunity to work in a cloud computing environment. However, I have a decent general understanding of its advantages and disadvantages. On the bright side, cloud computing is less expensive and more dependable. Most service providers sign contracts that guarantee high service availability, which should keep downtime to a minimum. On the negative side, since data is outside the firm, the cloud computing environment may jeopardize data security and privacy. Furthermore, the infrastructure is handled by the service provider hence your control would be restricted. Overall, cloud computing may be the correct or wrong solution for a corporation, depending on its IT department organization and available resources.”

12. How Would You Prepare As A Data Engineer To Create A New Product?

Hiring teams may quiz you about product development to see how well you understand the product cycle and the function of the data engineer in it.

Sample Answer

“As the primary data engineer, I prefer a project plan to grasp the overall scope and specific requirements. Once I understand what the stakeholders want and why I will sketch some possible scenarios. Then I’d apply my knowledge to start creating data tables with the proper amount of detail.”

13. Tell Us About A Time When You Meant To Bring Data From Several Sources Together But Encountered Problems, And How You Resolved Them.

This question allows you to display your problem-solving abilities and ability to react to rapid plan modifications.

Sample Answer

“In my former franchise firm, my team and I were responsible for gathering data from numerous places and systems. However, one of the franchisees modified their system without informing us. This caused several problems with data collecting and processing. To address this, we needed to devise a swift short-term solution to get the critical data into the company’s system.”

14. Have You Ever Introduced New Data Analytics Apps In Your Field Of Work? If Yes, What Difficulties Did You Have In Adopting And Executing Them?

Because new data applications are expensive, rarely are they used. Explain a scenario that forced you to introduce new data applications.

Sample Answer

“As a data engineer, I assisted in the introduction of a brand-new data analytics program at my former employer. To transition smoothly, the entire process necessitates a well-thought-out plan. Even the most meticulous planning, however, cannot eliminate the possibility of unanticipated complications. One of them was the strong demand for user licenses, which exceeded our expectations. To get more licenses, the corporation had to reallocate financial resources.”

15. Is It Better To Develop A Nosql Database Than A Relational Database?

To answer this question, you must demonstrate your understanding of both databases. You must also provide an example of a circumstance in which you will or have implemented the knowledge in a real-world project.

Sample Answer

“In some cases, creating a NoSQL database may be advantageous. In my previous firm, when the franchise system grew tremendously, we had to scale up quickly to make the most of all operational and sales data we possessed.

NoSQL databases are more cost-effective and easy to implement since they can handle large amounts of data. This will be useful in the future when you need to respond swiftly to significant data load adjustments. Although relational databases are more connected to analytics tools. NoSQL databases, on the other hand, have a lot to offer.”

16. Do You Have Training Experience In Software, Applications, Processes, Or Architecture? If So, What Do You Think Is The Most Difficult Part?

As a data engineer, you need to teach your coworkers about new processes or systems you have developed. Alternatively, you may need to train new coworkers on current designs and workflows. Because technology is continuously improving, you may do training to keep everyone on track.

Sample Answer

“Yes, I have training expertise with small and big groups of coworkers.” The difficult component, in my opinion, is training new workers who already have extensive experience at another firm. They are accustomed to approaching facts from a completely different angle. This is an issue since they find it difficult to accept how we handle projects in our organization. They are frequently opinionated, and it takes time for them to grasp there are other solutions to a given problem. However, stressing how effective our methods and architecture have been thus far helps. That encourages people to consider the  options available.”

17. What Happens If The Block Scanner Finds A Corrupt Data Block?

This is a technical question designed to test your knowledge of eliminating and solving data corruption issues.

Sample Answer

“First and foremost, DataNode reports to NameNode. Then NameNode begins building a new replica using the corrupt block’s replica. If the replication count of the correct replicas equals the replication factor, the corrupted data block will not be removed. Thus it can only be removed if they are not equal.”

18. What Non-Technical Skills Do You Believe Are Most Useful For A Data Engineer?

Although technical abilities are essential for advancing your data engineer career, numerous non-engineering talents may help you succeed. Avoid using examples, such as communication or interpersonal abilities, in your response.

Sample Answer

“The most useful skills I’ve acquired throughout the years are multitasking and prioritization. Every day, as a data engineer, I must prioritize or balance many activities. I deal with numerous divisions in the organization, therefore I get a variety of requests from my coworkers. To deal with them, I must prioritize the most pressing corporate needs while ignoring all other demands. And honing the qualities I stated has been quite beneficial.”

In addition to the above technical question below are 7 general interview questions you may face in the interview.

19. Can You Tell Us About Current Trends In Your Field And The Industry?

Most firms seek forward-thinking individuals aware of developments affecting their industry. You may assist move a firm above the status quo by understanding trends in your sector.

Sample Answer

“I receive mailings from both mainstream and business publications. In addition, I attempt to attend at least one major conference every year.  I find Conversations with peers may be just as important as the keynote speakers and sessions at these gatherings.”

20. Why Would You Like To Work For Us?

This typical interview question gives you an excellent opportunity to illustrate why and how you would be a match for the organization.

Sample Answer

“I’ve learned a lot about your firm, and I’d love the chance to work for a company that values employee happiness and encourages professional and personal development. I’ve already had a lot of training from past jobs, and acquiring new skills is essential to me.”

21. What Are Your Strongest And Weakest Points?

This interview question assesses self-awareness, skill set, poise, and communication abilities.

Sample Answer

“One of my flaws is that I am prone to forgetfulness. I have discovered that if I’m asked to do anything and don’t write it down right away, I’ll forget to do it. This is especially true when I’m juggling many things. As a result, I began to make a concerted effort to write down everything, even the tiniest of activities. I’ve discovered that since I started writing things down and generating more “to-do” lists, I’ve become more organized.”

22. How Did You Learn About This Job Opening?

Although this may appear a simple question, you should use every opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the firm.

Sample Answer

“I’ve known about the AB brand for a long time, and I love your items. I even have one of your most recent computer models. I like the company’s dedication to producing intuitive, aesthetically pleasing devices, and I want to be a part of it.”

23. What Are You Searching For In A New Job?

The simplest method to answer this question is to state that you are interested in anything the organization offers. Consider it from the prospective employer’s perspective.

Sample Answer

“I hope to expand on the data engineering abilities I learned during my prior employment over two years.”

24. Are You Interested In Other Positions In Other Companies?

The recruiter is asking to know if they will be competing for your signature.

Sample Answer

“Not yet – I wasn’t actively searching for work until my friend Josh mentioned your firm. I am not interested in any firm; I’m looking for a fascinating, compelling initiative like yours.”

25. What Type Of Work Atmosphere Do You Prefer?

 This question determines if you will fit in with the company’s working environment.

Sample Answer

“I enjoy working in an active workplace; where you’re working on a shared objective with a group of individuals that share your enthusiasm.”


A significant portion of the questions you will be asked during an interview will be designed to test your understanding of how these critical systems work and how you would respond to constraints and flaws in their design and implementation. You can try to prepare for these types of questions by learning about quantitative and analytical approaches to data collection, preparation, and analysis, as well as some basic computer science principles.