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Data Engineer Interview

25 Questions and Answers Written by Helen Lee

Updated on June 15th, 2018
Question 1 of 25
Have you ever been in a data disaster recovery situation? If so, describe the situation and your role.
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How to Answer
Beyond the completion of daily assignments, hiring managers are looking for Data Engineers who can quickly contribute to the remediation of emergency situations. When a data infrastructure fails and/or data becomes inaccessible, lost or destroyed, it can have damaging effects on the company's operations. Companies want to ensure that they are ready with the right resources to deal with these unfortunate events if they occur. In many cases, it becomes an 'all hands on deck' circumstance.

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Question 2 of 25
Describe a time when you found a new use for existing data that had a positive impact on the business.
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How to Answer
As a Data Engineer, you may be one of the few who have a bird's eye view of the data throughout a company. In many situations, departments work with a specific set of tables within the corporate databases and therefore may unknowingly be limiting their analyses. To add the most value to the company's strategies, it is valuable, at a general level, to know the initiatives of each department. This gives Data Engineers the ability to provide valuable insight into what data is available and beneficial for analyses being conducted throughout the company.

Question 3 of 25
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of being a Data Engineer?
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How to Answer
Reasonable hiring managers will understand that people run across difficult aspects of their job all the time. Avoid glossing over this question in fear of highlighting a weakness. Instead identify something you have may have struggled with and add how you dealt with it.

Question 4 of 25
What led you to a career in Data Engineering?
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How to Answer
Some arrived to the Data Engineering field along a very traditional path - earning a degree in a related area (Computer Science, Information Systems, Data Science, etc.) and working at data-related jobs along the way. Others may have started on an entirely unrelated career path and made the switch to Data Engineering. Either way, the answer to this question reveals more about your education and experiences and the decisions you made along the way. Do not be hesitant to share your background and experiences if you did not arrive to this field the traditional way. Instead, touch upon what general skills you may have attained while earning your degree and working at your other jobs.

Question 5 of 25
If you had the time and resources, what types of training courses would you enroll in to help you in your job as a Data Engineer?
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How to Answer
With technology constantly changing, most ambitious Data Engineers could easily rattle off several training courses they would enroll in if they only had the time in their busy schedules. The answer to this question may not only reflect where your interests lie, but it can also be an indication of your perceived weaknesses. Find a way to offset any possible interpretations of weakness by mentioning strengths you have in related skills.

Questions 6 through 25
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Author of Data Engineer Answers and Questions

Helen Lee
Helen Lee is a freelance data analyst and writer with over 15 years of experience in the Marketing field working for companies and clients in a variety of industries including financial services, quick service restaurant (QSR), consumer packaged goods (CPG) and education technology. She has experience managing marketing research projects, conducting strategic analyses and writing and editing a variety of pieces including marketing material, blog entries and user guides.
First written on: 01/19/2017
Last modified on: 06/15/2018

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