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Data Science Interview Questions

What do you mean by word Data Science?

Data Science is the extraction of knowledge from large volumes of data that are structured or unstructured, which is a continuation of the field data mining and predictive analytics, It is also known as knowledge discovery and data mining.

Explain the term botnet?

A botnet is a a type of bot running on an IRC network that has been created with a Trojan.

What is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is a common term that describes any effort to help people understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context.

How you can define Data cleaning as a critical part of process?

Cleaning up data to the point where you can work with it is a huge amount of work. If we’re trying to reconcile a lot of sources of data that we don’t control like in this flight, it can take 80% of our time.

Point out 7 Ways how Data Scientists use Statistics?

Design and interpret experiments to inform product decisions.

Build models that predict signal, not noise.

Turn big data a into the big picture

Understand user retention, engagement, conversion, and leads.

Give your users what they want.

Estimate intelligently.

Tell the story with the data.

Differentiate between Data modeling and Database design?

Data Modeling – Data modeling (or modeling) in software engineering is the process of creating a data model for an information system by applying formal data modeling techniques.
Database Design- Database design is the system of producing a detailed data model of a database. The term database design can be used to describe many different parts of the design of an overall database system.

Describe in brief the data Science Process flowchart?

Data is collected from sensors in the environment.

Data is “cleaned” or it can process to produce a data set (typically a data table) usable for processing.

Exploratory data analysis and statistical modeling may be performed.

A data product is a program such as retailers use to inform new purchases based on purchase history. It may also create data and feed it back into the environment.

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What are Recommender Systems?

A subclass of information filtering systems that are meant to predict the preferences or ratings that a user would give to a product. Recommender systems are widely used in movies, news, research articles, products, social tags, music, etc.

Why data cleaning plays a vital role in analysis?

Cleaning data from multiple sources to transform it into a format that data analysts or data scientists can work with is a cumbersome process because – as the number of data sources increases, the time take to clean the data increases exponentially due to the number of sources and the volume of data generated in these sources. It might take up to 80% of the time for just cleaning data making it a critical part of analysis task.

What is Linear Regression?

Linear regression is a statistical technique where the score of a variable Y is predicted from the score of a second variable X. X is referred to as the predictor variable and Y as the criterion variable.

What do you understand by term hash table collisions?

Hash table (hash map) is a kind of data structure used to implement an associative array, a structure that can map keys to values. Ideally, the hash function will assign each key to a unique bucket, but sometimes it is possible that two keys will generate an identical hash causing both keys to point to the same bucket. It is known as hash collisions.

Compare and contrast R and SAS?

SAS is commercial software whereas R is free source and can be downloaded by anyone.
SAS is easy to learn and provide easy option for people who already know SQL whereas R is a low level programming language and hence simple procedures takes longer codes.

What do you understand by letter ‘R’?

R is a low level language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is a GNU project which is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at BELL.

What is Interpolation and Extrapolation?

Estimating a value from 2 unknown values from a list of values is Interpolation. Extrapolation is approximating a value by extending a known set of values or facts.

What is Collaborative filtering?

The process of filtering used by most of the recommender systems to find patterns or information by collaborating viewpoints, various data sources and multiple agents.

Learn more Data Science Interview Questions and Answers in this blog post.

What is the difference between Cluster and Systematic Sampling?

Cluster sampling is a technique used when it becomes difficult to study the target population spread across a wide area and simple random sampling cannot be applied. Cluster Sample is a probability sample where each sampling unit is a collection, or cluster of elements. Systematic sampling is a statistical technique where elements are selected from an ordered sampling frame. In systematic sampling, the list is progressed in a circular manner so once you reach the end of the list,it is progressed from the top again. The best example for systematic sampling is equal probability method.

Are expected value and mean value different?

They are not different but the terms are used in different contexts. Mean is generally referred when talking about a probability distribution or sample population whereas expected value is generally referred in a random variable context.

What does P-value signify about the statistical data?

P-value is used to determine the significance of results after a hypothesis test in statistics. P-value helps the readers to draw conclusions and is always between 0 and 1.

 -P- Value > 0.05 denotes weak evidence against the null hypothesis which means the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.

-P-value <= 0.05 denotes strong evidence against the null hypothesis which means the null hypothesis can be rejected.

-P-value=0.05is the marginal value indicating it is possible to go either way.

 Do gradient descent methods always converge to same point?

No, they do not because in some cases it reaches a local minima or a local optima point. You don’t reach the global optima point. It depends on the data and starting conditions.

What is the goal of A/B Testing?

It is a statistical hypothesis testing for randomized experiment with two variables A and B. The goal of A/B Testing is to identify any changes to the web page to maximize or increase the outcome of an interest. An example for this could be identifying the click through rate for a banner ad.

What is an Eigenvalue and Eigenvector?

Eigenvectors are used for understanding linear transformations. In data analysis, we usually calculate the eigenvectors for a correlation or covariance matrix. Eigenvectors are the directions along which a particular linear transformation acts by flipping, compressing or stretching. Eigenvalue can be referred to as the strength of the transformation in the direction of eigenvector or the factor by which the compression occurs.

How can outlier values be treated?

Outlier values can be identified by using univariate or any other graphical analysis method. If the number of outlier values is few then they can be assessed individually but for large number of outliers the values can be substituted with either the 99th or the 1st percentile values. All extreme values are not outlier values.The most common ways to treat outlier values –

-To change the value and bring in within a range

-To just remove the value.

How can you assess a good logistic model?

There are various methods to assess the results of a logistic regression analysis-

•           Using Classification Matrix to look at the true negatives and false positives.

•           Concordance that helps identify the ability of the logistic model to differentiate between the event happening and not happening.

•           Lift helps assess the logistic model by comparing it with random selection.

What are various steps involved in an analytics project?

•           Understand the business problem

•           Explore the data and become familiar with it.

•           Prepare the data for modelling by detecting outliers, treating missing values, transforming variables, etc.

•           After data preparation, start running the model, analyse the result and tweak the approach. This is an iterative step till the best possible outcome is achieved.

•           Validate the model using a new data set.

•           Start implementing the model and track the result to analyse the performance of the model over the period of time.

During analysis, how do you treat missing values?

The extent of the missing values is identified after identifying the variables with missing values. If any patterns are identified the analyst has to concentrate on them as it could lead to interesting and meaningful business insights. If there are no patterns identified, then the missing values can be substituted with mean or median values (imputation) or they can simply be ignored.There are various factors to be considered when answering this question-

-Understand the problem statement, understand the data and then give the answer.Assigning a default value which can be mean, minimum or maximum value. Getting into the data is important.

-If it is a categorical variable, the default value is assigned. The missing value is assigned a default value.

-If you have a distribution of data coming, for normal distribution give the mean value.

-Should we even treat missing values is another important point to consider? If 80% of the values for a variable are missing then you can answer that you would be dropping the variable instead of treating the missing values.

What is Machine Learning?

The simplest way to answer this question is – we give the data and equation to the machine. Ask the machine to look at the data and identify the coefficient values in an equation.

For example for the linear regression y=mx+c, we give the data for the variable x, y and the machine learns about the values of m and c from the data.

Can you explain the difference between a Test Set and a Validation Set?

Validation set can be considered as a part of the training set as it is used for parameter selection and to avoid Overfitting of the model being built. On the other hand, test set is used for testing or evaluating the performance of a trained machine leaning model.

In simple terms ,the differences can be summarized as-

Training Set is to fit the parameters i.e. weights.

Test Set is to assess the performance of the model i.e. evaluating the predictive power and generalization.

Validation set is to tune the parameters.

Python or R – Which one would you prefer for text analytics?

The best possible answer for this would be Python because it has Pandas library that provides easy to use data structures and high performance data analysis tools.

What is logistic regression? Or State an example when you have used logistic regression recently.

Logistic Regression often referred as logit model is a technique to predict the binary outcome from a linear combination of predictor variables. For example, if you want to predict whether a particular political leader will win the election or not. In this case, the outcome of prediction is binary i.e. 0 or 1 (Win/Lose). The predictor variables here would be the amount of money spent for election campaigning of a particular candidate, the amount of time spent in campaigning, etc.

Differentiate between univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis.

These are descriptive statistical analysis techniques which can be differentiated based on the number of variables involved at a given point of time. For example, the pie charts of sales based on territory involve only one variable and can be referred to as univariate analysis.

If the analysis attempts to understand the difference between 2 variables at time as in a scatterplot, then it is referred to as bivariate analysis. For example, analysing the volume of sale and a spending can be considered as an example of bivariate analysis.

Analysis that deals with the study of more than two variables to understand the effect of variables on the responses is referred to as multivariate analysis.

Define some key performance indicators for the product
After playing around with the product, think about this: what are some of the key metrics that the product might want to optimize? Part of a data scientist’s role in certain companies involve working closely with the product teams to help define, measure, and report on these metrics. This is an exercise you can go through by yourself at home, and can really help during your interview process.

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