Interviews are stressful no matter which industry you're in. Being quizzed on your knowledge definitely takes a toll on you, and preparing for it can often be just as taxing. We've collected a few tips for your big data interview to help ease some of that stress.
Big Data Basics - a Refresher
Coined in the 1990s by John Mashey, the term big data refers to large subsets of information that exceed a normal system's capabilities to capture and record. When acquired, this data can provide extremely useful for companies to gain insight on how to increase their customer base, revenue, and improve operations.
Big data can be described by the following characteristics:
- Volume: The quantity of generated and stored data. The size of the data determines the value and potential insight- and whether it can actually be considered big data or not.
- Variety: The type and nature of the data. This helps people who analyze it to effectively use the resulting insight.
- Velocity: In this context, the speed at which the data is generated and processed to meet the demands and challenges that lie in the path of growth and development.
- Variability: Inconsistency of a data set can hamper processes to handle and manage it.
- Veracity: The quality of captured data can vary greatly, affecting accurate analysis.
Data Scientist Amy Escobar also provided an excellent quote regarding big data:
[Big Data is] an opportunity to gain a more complex understanding of the relationships between different factors and to uncover previously undetected patterns in data by leveraging advances in the technical aspects of collecting, storing, and retrieving data along with innovative ideas and techniques for manipulating and analyzing data.
Prepare For Your Interview
Preparing for an interview for a big data position is much alike any other role. You need to make sure you're presentable by wearing appropriate attire and being well groomed, and come equipped with confidence and knowledge. But most importantly, you need to understand what a lot of the big data buzzwords are and be able to explain them (and their significance) on the fly. Also expect to be asked hypothetical scenarios that you will have to work through with your interviewer(s).
Expect to be tested on your knowledge. Even if you worry about not "testing well", be confident in your skills and ensure that you are ready to show off your expertise of big data and analytics.
Big Data Interview Questions
When you are practicing for your interview, ensure you are ready with answers to some difficult questions as well as basic, practical knowledge. Some of the questions you should expect can be:
- Where does Hive store table data by default?
- Which are the essential Hadoop tools for effective working of Big Data?
- How do you debug a performance issue or a long-running job?
Follow Up On Your Interview
Once all is said and done and you've bid each other adieu, start planning your follow up. Writing a (hand-written) thank you note goes a long way. Make sure to drop it in the mail no later than the day after the interview. If there are multiple interviewers, you can send it to your main contact (or the first one you were introduced to).
Once you have sent them the thank you note, be patient. Don't reach out to them and ask for updates repeatedly unless they've given you a timeline that has passed. The only exception is if you've received another job offer that has a time constraint; if they don't want to lose you, they'll appreciate the heads up.