Prepare for these 60 Data Engineer Interview Questions in Advance to Strike Your Next Interview

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Data engineer interview questions

We don’t know your career level in data engineering. 

Maybe you have some 2+ years of experience and will be interviewed for the senior data engineer’s position. 

Or you might be at your start, wondering about your upcoming interview for the internship.

In any case, data engineering is the same for everyone. And if you’re just about deciding your look for your next interview, take some 20 minutes to look through the below data engineer interview questions that you will be most possibly asked. 

Remember? Informed means armed.

What are the Common Engineering Interview Questions?

Competency-checking questions

First of all, any HR person will be interested to know how well you know the profession of a data engineer. For this case, you should showcase all the theoretical and practical knowledge you have in the sphere. Most importantly, you should demonstrate your ability to learn quickly to make them confident you will soon grasp any information you do not know at the moment. 

  1. What is data engineering?
  2. What is Data Modelling, and what are its main types of design schemas?
  3. What is the difference between structured and unstructured data?
  4. Which messages does NameNode get from DataNode? 
  5. Explain the four V’s in Data Engineering.
  6. What are the main methods of Reducer?
  7. What is FSCK?
  8. How to achieve security in Hadoop?
  9. What are the main Hadoop modes? 
  10. Define a Big Data
  11. How can you distance between the nodes in Hadoop?
  12. What is rack awareness?
  13. What is the role of the Context object in Hadoop?
  14. What is Combiner in Hadoop?
  15. What is Data Locality in Hadoop?
  16. What is Hive?
  17. What is Metastore in Hive?
  18. Can a single data file have more than one table in Hive?
  19. How can you fix the database structure in MySQL?
  20. How can you find a specific String in the MySQL table column?

Scenario-based questions

HR people know there is plenty of theoretical material on the net that candidates can Google before the interview. However, no one wants to hire an employee based on fake impressions. That’s why, expect to hear scenario-based questions, where you should explain how you would perform in specific scenarios that might happen during data engineering projects in real life. In this case, answer confidently, and do not be afraid to make a mistake. Usually, there is no right or wrong answer to scenario-based questions. Instead, HR people want to be sure you have critical thinking and can quickly react to any unexpected situation that might arise at work. 

  1. Let’s say we require you to build an analytical product from scratch. What will you do first?
  2. How will you usually deal with duplicate data points?
  3. What is your best method to fight against job-related crises?
  4. How do you typically react to new challenges in your career?
  5. Which libraries from Python will you use for proficient data processing?
  6. What will happen if Block Scanner finds a corrupted data block?
  7. Which Hadoop feature do you use most often and why?
  8. List the two main differences between Star and Snowflake Schema.
  9. List two main differences between NAS and DAS in Hadoop?
  10. How will you disable Block Scanner on HDFS Data Node?
  11. What can happen if the user submits a new job when NameNode is down?
  12. Explain the main ways you think data analytics can increase the company revenue. 
  13. Which technical skills do you think you will need most in our company?
  14. Which core methods of the Reducer phases do you use more often and why?
  15. What will you do first if you need to deploy a big data solution?
  16. Is it easy or hard for you to work within cloud computing? Why?
  17. Which Python library or libraries will you use for proficient data processing?
  18. How can you achieve security in Hadoop?
  19. How will you use FIFO Scheduling?
  20. What can you gain with the use of Metastore in Hive?

Motivation questions

That’s high time to express your true interest and excitement over the organization you want to join. HRs will ask you why you chose them, why you are particularly interested in that position you apply to, and many similar questions. Here, it’s essential not to fake your genuine goals. You can impress the interviewer only when you are honest and realistic with your answers. To succeed in motivation questions, make sure to research the organization you are applying to. You will need to understand their corporate values and mission to state how you can fit in. 

  1. Why do you see yourself in a data engineering career?
  2. Why should we hire you for this position?
  3. What do you expect your daily responsibilities to be in this position?
  4. What type of atmosphere do you expect to see in our company?
  5. What kind of atmosphere are you going to bring with you to your new team?
  6. What was the strongest trigger to apply to our company?
  7. Where else, except for the position you applied to, do you see yourself in our organization?
  8. Are there any career goals you set for yourself for the next 3-5 years? Which are they?
  9. Why do you think our organization can help you fulfill your career goals?
  10. What is the best motivation for you in the organization you work for?
  11. What is your motivation at times you need to do repetitive tasks every day?
  12. Can you work in an unmotivated team if you have personal motivation?
  13. What results do you need to achieve in our organization within the first employment year to feel successful?
  14. Do you think team-bonding activities directly affect working effectiveness?
  15. How long do you imagine yourself working in the same company?
  16. How long do you imagine yourself working in the same position?
  17. What can make you want to leave your job?
  18. What characteristics should your supervisor have to motivate you?
  19. Rate from 1-10; how much does our organizational culture correspond to what you imagine as an ideal workplace?
  20. What would your typical reaction be if there arise conflicting situations at work?

Before You Go

Understandably, we didn’t list here all the data engineer interview questions you might be asked at an interview. 

We can’t do that, and no one can.

However, even if you are asked a question that you can’t answer, that’s not the end of the battle. There are many techniques to smoothen that situation. 

Lily Zhang, a career counselor at the MIT Media Lab, advises taking some extra time, thinking aloud, or redirecting questions you don’t know how to reply to. Some HR managers will even ask you hard questions on purpose to test how you can handle stressful situations. 

So, whatever happens, keep calm and don’t even hesitate if you will ace your interview!