Lessons Learned: How to Prepare for a Data Science Interview


Over the course of Galvanize Full Stack and Galvanize Data Science, our students receive interview coaching and practice, resume review, and introductions to partner companies. Greg Kamradt, one of our data science graduates, discussed his personal challenges and successes during the job search and interview process.

Since there’s extremely high demand for Data Scientists in the market (and it’s only increasing), potential employees might find themselves with an overwhelming amount of interviews. It’s certainly a good problem to have, but graduates who want to find the right company need to take a disciplined and organized approach to the interview process.

Above all, take the time to find a position that’s right for you. When looking at a potential employer, here are some great questions to keep in mind:

  • Are they have the right culture fit?
  • Am I technical enough for the position?
  • Do they like my background and skill set?
  • Is the timing right?

Here are three insightful takeaways Greg shared about his experience:

Stay Organized & Follow Up

The best thing you can do before, during, and after the interview process is to stay organized.

  • Compile a personal list of companies
  • Contact VC’s – they are talent leads
  • Consider alternative data science industries
  • Check out top sites such as Hacker News – Who’s Hiring?
  • Goal – Compile a huge list, then pluck & prune

Make Everyone’s Job Easier

Develop a pitch that is going to grab the attention of the gatekeeper or the technical recruiter. When in doubt, reach out. Prepare an email pitch that will lead you to an in-person contact.

  • Quick intro > final project > express interest to learn more
  • Not everybody needs a webapp, but I highly suggest some type of web presence (URL to final project, make it easy to digest and want to share)
  • Win them over in the first 10-15 seconds to get you to move on to the next process
  • Let your work do the talking

You get one shot to make your mark. Don’t miss your opportunity.

Invest Creative Energy

The more work, time, and energy you put in, the better results you’re going to see. The best way to put in the extra effort is to step into your interviewer’s shoes. You want to do as much prep as possible before you go into their office or jump on a call.

  • Remember: recruiters are your friend, they want to help you
  • Do your research on the interviewer (blogs, linkedin…)
  • Questions are golden, have some good ones prepared for the interview  
  • Rewrite your resume and read it over multiple times

The two most common questions that interviewers ask are:

  • Tell me more about your background
  • Why us? Why our data?

When it comes to the interview, you don’t want any surprises. That’s why putting in the time, energy, and research is so important. You’re qualified. Be ready and prepare to show off your skills.

As a final piece of advice, rely heavily on reaching out rather than applying through the most obvious channels. You can watch  Greg’s full presentation here:

Interested in becoming Data Scientist? Learn more about Galvanize Data Science and our Master’s of Science in Data Science program.