Top 25 Data Scientist Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

Data Scientist Interview Questions and Answers

Data scientists are tasked with using statistical, analytical, and programming skills to manipulate large data sets. Their job includes developing solutions from data aimed at meeting an organization’s needs, making them important professionals in the business world. This article will look at some of the questions you should expect in your upcoming data science interview. Take some time and rehearse ahead of your interview to answer the questions properly. Take a look at the following:

1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?

I am looking for new challenges in my line of work, which this company can offer. I am an experienced data scientist who has worked on multiple projects and built thousands of predictive models and algorithms. I am hardworking, creative, and an excellent team player- qualities that will help me succeed in this setting. I am willing to give my all for this organization’s betterment in exchange for a chance to advance in my career.

2. What Are The Roles Of A Data Scientist?

A data scientist plays several important roles in regard to data. They are tasked with collecting structured and unstructured data, sourcing any missing data, building predictive models, coming up with machine learning algorithms, identifying all the data sources that cater to business needs, and organizing data into usable formats. They also prepare reports for project teams, visualize the data, identify trends and patterns after generating information from a dataset, and set up data infrastructure.

3. What Are The Qualities That A Data Scientist Need To Be Successful?

Data scientists handle large amounts of data and therefore need many qualities. They should be strategic thinkers, which helps in knowing the right algorithms to use and when to use them. They must also have multimodal skills for contextualizing and communicating a problem and its solution to different stakeholders. Multimodal skills, therefore, include writing and communication skills. Other qualities include curiosity, technical acumen, grit, and creativity. These will define how good a data scientist will be when given a chance.

4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?

Data science is quite technical, and therefore challenges are common. My former workplace had slow systems that made data manipulation quite challenging. I talked to my supervisor, who informed me his hands were tied, and I needed to confirm with the management. I couldn’t reach my manager and therefore had to wait. I wrote an email detailing how a faster and more efficient system would help with data manipulation. After lots of negotiations, I managed to convince them. In two weeks, the data center was furnished with powerful machines that, even though set the company back in terms of finances, had far much lucrative results.

5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Data Scientist

Data science is highly demanding, so my day is generally busy. Depending on the project I am working on, my day rotates around identifying relevant data sources for business needs, sourcing missing data, coming up with data models, visualizing data, organizing data into a usable format, analyzing datasets for trends and patterns, building machine learning algorithms, processing, verifying and cleaning data, generating information and insights after identifying trends and patterns from data and lastly, preparing reports for data and project teams.

6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience

This is my seventh year as a data scientist. I have worked for research institutes, hospitals, and business enterprises, furnishing them with the right insights. I can create different types of algorithms and data models required for your business needs, thanks to my vast experience in this field. I can also use different types of data analysis tools and software. I have been part of tens of data modeling and analysis teams that have equipped me with all the relevant skills and competencies required to succeed in such an institution that greatly values teamwork.

7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

A data scientist cannot thrive without the right strategy and mindset. After over seven years in this industry, I have discovered that no strategy beats teamwork. Teamwork means delegation of duties, which increases accuracy and encourages good results. Fortunately, I am a good team player based on my exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. As for the right mindset, one should be mentally prepared to be productive. Data Science is highly demanding, and without a productive mindset, you can be easily overwhelmed. We are expected to develop algorithms, build predictive models, report to executives and stakeholders, visualize and organize data into usable formats, clean and verify data, and analyze datasets for trends and patterns, among many other duties. It is, therefore, practically impossible to succeed without the right mindset.

8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?

I have mostly serviced startups in my career, so this will be my first time working for a Fortune 500 company like you. I may therefore have to work twice as hard to adjust to this new environment. However, I am an excellent data scientist with five years of experience. I can also adjust easily to change, which will help me make this transition. I also know how to work well with my employees, so I will be in a better position to ask for directions or guidance where needed. I am confident I will succeed in this new role if given a chance.

9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

I am motivated by results. I love succeeding in projects and anything I set out to do. Developing quality algorithms and accurate predictive models encourages me to continue giving my all to this career. I also love helping businesses obtain important insights that ensure their profitability. I am glad I have helped many startups create a name for themselves in the business world.

10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?

I once failed to be thorough enough when working on a project and may have overlooked certain data sources and business requirements. I only realized that I had made a mistake when the project was almost ending. Even though I retraced my steps and included the remaining data sources and business requirements, I knew I had failed since I exceeded the time limit I had communicated to the client. This experience taught me that it is important to fully understand the project and source all the relevant needed data.

11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?

I have extensive experience, as captured in the resume, that I believe will come in handy in this job. I have worked in different research institutions and business environments and therefore understand how to manipulate data and develop the right models and algorithms. I also have all the required data science skills. I am curious, creative, hardworking, and a good communicator. I have various technical and multimodal skills that will come in handy in my daily operations.

12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.

My greatest achievement in life was working on a data science project for my former college year after graduation. I was in charge of the project team and reported directly to the vice-chancellor and other top-level stakeholders. I got to work with my computer science teacher, who instantly remembered me. It was an uplifting experience as I got a chance to give back to my school, which nurtured me into the data scientist I am today.

13. Can You Define Data Science From Experience?

Data Science is a wide field that consists of several disciplines. It comprises algorithms, scientific processes, tools, and machine learning methods used to manipulate data to identify common patterns and obtain important insights through mathematical and analytical analysis. In business, data science begins with data acquisition and gathering relevant requirements. The data is then cleaned, warehoused, staged, and modeled, awaiting other important processes.

14. Moat People Confuse Data Science And Data Analytics. Can You Differentiate The Two?

Data Science is quite close to data analytics, which explains why most people confuse the two. However, whereas data science transforms data through technical analysis methods to obtain important insights, data analytics uses existing hypotheses and information to answer different questions. Also, while data science supports motivation as it answers future problems, data analytics focuses on the present and does not concern itself with predictive modeling. Lastly, data science is multidisciplinary and uses several mathematical and scientific tools to solve different problems. In contrast, data analytics is quite specific and only uses a few tools for visualization and statistics.

15. Explain What Overfitting And Underfitting Are In Data Science

Underfitting and overfitting are common terms in data science. They both occur differently and are, therefore, distinct from one another. Overfitting occurs when a data model fails to produce results owing to low bias and high variance. On the other hand, underfitting is caused by high bias and low variance. The data model is usually unable to identify the right relationship in the data and cannot, therefore, perform well.

16. Have You Ever Had To Resample Data?

Yes. Resampling is a common technique in data science that improves accuracy and quantifies population parameters’ uncertainty by sampling the data. It trains the model on different dataset patterns, ensuring it is up to the task and can handle variations well. I have also resampled data to validate models by applying random subsets. Additionally, it comes in handy when one needs to substitute labels on data points when a test is underway.

17. What Is Bias?

Like underfitting and overfitting, bias is a common term in data science. Biases normally happen when a data scientist is forced to decide on the participant worth studying, unlike in random selection. It can be attributed to the method used in sample collection. There are four types of selection biases in data science. Sampling bias occurs in non-random populations where a given percentage of the population is vulnerable to exclusion. Data bias happens due to arbitral selection of data and non-adherence to the agreed criteria. On the other hand, Attrition bias occurs when subjects that did not complete a given trial are discounted. Lastly, time interval bias happens when trials are stopped early when an extreme value is reached, allowing this with the highest variance to clock extreme values.

18. Define Logical And Linear Regression

Logical regression is also known as the logit model. It is applied in a linear combination of variables or predictor variables to predict the binary outcomes. On the other hand, linear regression predicts a variable Y’s score using a predictor variable X’s score. However, it comes with its setbacks, unlike the first. These include overfitting problems that can’t be solved, assumption of linearity of orders, and its inability to be used for binary outcomes.

19. What Do You Know About The Neural Network Fundamentals?

The human brain has several neural systems that combine to perform different tasks. In deep learning, the neural network found in the machines imitates the neurons in the human brain. It learns different patterns from the data fed into it and uses the obtained knowledge to predict new data’s output without human intervention. The simplest neural network is known as perception. It has a single neuron that performs an activation function and calculates the weighted sum of all inputs. Other neural networks exist in three layers: an input layer, an output layer, and a hidden layer. They are, however, more complicated.

20. Mention The Different Types Of Gradients That Exist In Data Science

There are two types of Gradients in data science: exploding and vanishing. Vanishing gradients lead to a minimized slope, which increases the training time and results in poor performance and low accuracy. On the other hand, exploding gradients make extremely large updates to neural network models. They are referred to as exploding gradients for a reason.

21. What’s The Best Approach To Solving Data Analytics-Based Projects?

A number of steps should be adhered to when handling data Analytics-based Projects. First, a data scientist must take time to fully understand the business requirements or problem before analyzing the data carefully after full exploration. The next process is data protection and clean-up for modeling purposes. The model is then run against the data, and meaningful visualization is built. The results should also be analyzed for meaningful insights. The model implementation should then be released, and the results tracked within a given period. The last step is to conduct cross-validation.

22. Do You Know The Importance Of Data Cleaning?

There are several reasons why data should be cleaned. Clean data contains only relevant information, making it easier to gather proper insights. Data Cleaning also helps transform data, resulting in only the correct data. A model with clean data will be more accurate and offer better predictions. Additionally, data cleaning helps scientists identify and solve every structural issue in a given dataset. Such data is also consistent. Lastly, cleaning data before running it in a given model will increase the model’s speed and efficiency.

23. What Is The Best Way Of Treating Missing Values When Running Data?

One should first understand the number of missing values in a given dataset before running it, which is done by identifying the variables with missing values. When a pattern has been identified, the data analyst should look deeper to obtain meaningful insights. However, if the data lacks a pattern, the missing values should be replaced with mean or median values, or the missing values can be ignored altogether. However, one should assign the default value to the maximum, minimum and mean for categorical variables. The missing value will then be assigned to the default. However, if a variable has 80% missing values, dropping it would be a good option rather than trying to fix the missing values.

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24. Can You Tell Us More About Box Plot And Histogram?

Data has to be visualized, which leads to features such as box plots and histograms. These two are used to visualize data by showing their distributions, thus improving the communication of information. Histograms represent the frequency of numerical variable values. They look like bar charts and are used to estimate variations, outliers, and probability distributions. Boxplots, on the other hand, communicate the different data distribution aspects. It works where insights can be gathered even though the shape of the distribution is invisible.

25. What Is The Best Way To Correct Imbalanced Data?

A data scientist can use different techniques to correct imbalanced data. They can choose to increase the sample numbers for the minority classes and decrease the number of samples for classes with high data points. Other approaches that can be used to balance data are using the right evaluation metrics, performing K-fold cross-validation accurately, and resampling the training dataset.


You will ace your upcoming data scientist interview if you prepare well. Make sure you consider these questions and rehearse adequately before your interview to increase your chances of landing the job.