By Saeed Mirshekari

Jun 9, 2023


In the competitive field of data science, interviews play a critical role in securing your first data scientist position in a tech company. Asking insightful questions during an interview not only showcases your genuine interest in the role but also helps you evaluate if the company aligns with your career aspirations. Likewise, asking the right questions enables the employer to assess your qualifications, technical skills, and cultural fit. In this blog post, we will explore the top questions to ask in a data scientist interview for a tech company, providing you with a comprehensive guide to ace your next job interview.

1. How would you describe the data-driven culture within the company?

Understanding the company's approach to data and its data-driven decision-making process is crucial for a data scientist. This question allows you to gauge how data is valued, utilized, and integrated into the company's operations. Look for signs of a data-driven culture, such as a strong emphasis on analytics, data accessibility, and cross-functional collaboration.

2. Can you provide an overview of the data infrastructure and tools used in the company?

Data scientists heavily rely on robust infrastructure and cutting-edge tools to perform their work effectively. Inquire about the company's data infrastructure, including data storage, processing frameworks, and analytics tools. Understanding the technology stack will give you insights into the company's technical capabilities and the potential to work with modern data science technologies.

3. What types of data-related projects or challenges will I be involved in?

This question helps you gain a clear understanding of the nature of projects and challenges you can expect as a data scientist in the company. Inquire about the variety of data sources, complexity of data analysis, and the potential for innovation and problem-solving. Assess whether the projects align with your areas of interest and expertise.

4. How does the data science team collaborate with other departments in the company?

Effective collaboration between the data science team and other departments is crucial for leveraging data insights across the organization. Ask about the company's cross-functional collaboration processes and how the data science team interacts with stakeholders from different departments. Look for opportunities to work closely with teams like product development, marketing, or business intelligence.

5. What professional development opportunities are available for data scientists in the company?

Continuous learning and skill development are vital in the fast-evolving field of data science. Inquire about the company's support for professional growth, such as access to training resources, conferences, workshops, or mentorship programs. Look for indications that the company values and invests in its data scientists' development.

6. How do you measure the success of data science projects within the company?

Understanding how the company measures the success of data science projects allows you to align your goals with their expectations. Inquire about the key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics used to evaluate the impact of data science initiatives. This question showcases your focus on delivering tangible results and contributing to the company's objectives.

7. What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Asking about the next steps demonstrates your enthusiasm and proactive approach. Inquire about the timeline for subsequent interviews, technical assessments, or any other evaluation stages. Understanding the hiring process will help you manage your expectations and stay prepared for the next phase.

8. Can you give me a glass of water?

Although this may seem totally irrelevant to be on this list, it works! Here is why: companies and teams will make their best efforts to make you happy during an onsite interview. If they don't make an effort to get you what you a small thing you need during the interview, it is unlikely that they do any better for you after they hire you.

Ask your prospective managers for a glass of water in an onsite interview and watch them unfold how they would respond to your career development needs in the future. Some managers would ignore your request or may make you wait, some managers would point you to where you can get water while they're sitting, and some managers would stand up for you and help you get what you need. You don't want to work for managers who ignore your requests or make you wait for your needs.


As a data scientist interviewing for a tech company, asking thoughtful and relevant questions demonstrates your technical acumen, curiosity, and fit within the organization. The top questions outlined in this guide will enable you to gain valuable insights into the company's data-driven culture, projects, professional development opportunities, and ethical practices. By utilizing these questions during your interview, you can showcase your expertise and enthusiasm, increasing your chances of securing your first data scientist role. Best of luck!

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About O'Fallon Labs

In O'Fallon Labs we help recent graduates and professionals to get started and thrive in their Data Science careers via 1:1 mentoring and more.

Saeed Mirshekari, PhD

Saeed is currently a Director of Data Science in Mastercard and the Founder & Director of O'Fallon Labs LLC. He is a former research scholar at LIGO team (Physics Nobel Prize of 2017). Learn more about Saeed...

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