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Python Interview Questions for Data Science Roles

Updated: at 03:23 AM

Data science is one of the fastest growing and most in-demand fields today. As organizations increasingly rely on data to drive business decisions, there is a growing need for data science professionals who can collect, process, analyze, and interpret data effectively. Python has emerged as the most important programming language for data science due to its versatility, rich ecosystem of data science libraries, and easy-to-read syntax.

Mastering Python is critical for aspiring data scientists looking to perform well in job interviews and data science roles. This guide provides a comprehensive set of sample Python interview questions that are commonly asked for data science positions. It aims to help prepare data science professionals, students, and enthusiasts to demonstrate their Python proficiency during interviews.

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Python Coding Questions

Coding questions assess a candidate’s ability to write syntactically correct Python programs that can solve data science problems. Expect coding questions focused on:

General Python Coding

Basic Python proficiency is tested via general coding questions:

# Print even numbers from 1 to 10

for i in range(1, 11):
    if i % 2 == 0:
# Reverse a string

def reverse_string(text):
    return text[::-1]

print(reverse_string("Hello world"))

Always comment and document code during interviews for clarity:

# Function to sort a list of integers in ascending order
# Uses built-in sorted() and reverse=True to sort in descending order
def sort_list(nums):
    """Sorts a list of integers in ascending order

        nums: List of integers

        sorted_nums: Sorted list of integers
    sorted_nums = sorted(nums, reverse=True)

    return sorted_nums

print(sort_list([5, 2, 7, 3]))

Data Structures

Questions on Python data structures like lists, tuples, dictionaries assess candidates’ data manipulation skills:

# Print the key-value pairs in a dictionary

dict = {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}

for key, value in dict.items():
    print(key, value)
# Check if element exists in list

nums = [5, 2, 7, 10]

if 15 in nums:
    print("Does not exist")

File I/O

File handling questions test whether candidates can load/write datasets:

# Read CSV file and print specific columns

import csv

with open('data.csv') as f:
    csv_reader = csv.reader(f)
    for row in csv_reader:
        print(row[0], row[2])


Questions on exception handling assess debugging skills:

# Handle ZeroDivisionError exception

  result = 5/0
except ZeroDivisionError:
  print("Cannot divide by zero")


Object-oriented programming questions evaluate OOPs knowledge:

# Define Dog class

class Dog:

    # Class attribute
    species = 'mammal'

    # Initializer / Instance attributes
    def __init__(self, name, age): = name
        self.age = age

    # Instance method
    def description(self):
        return "{} is {} years old".format(, self.age)

# Instantiate Dog object
philo = Dog("Philo", 5)


Module usage questions test whether candidates can effectively leverage Python’s extensive module ecosystem:

# Import NumPy and generate array of zeros

import numpy as np

zero_array = np.zeros((3,4))


Python Coding Exercises

Coding exercises evaluate candidates’ ability to develop complete Python programs solving real-world data problems. Some sample topics include:

Data Analysis

Analyze dataset with Pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib:

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Load CSV into DataFrame
df = pd.read_csv('data.csv')

# Data analysis with .groupby(), .agg(), .dropna() etc.

# Visualize data with Matplotlib
plt.scatter(df['x'], df['y'])

Machine Learning

Build and evaluate ML models with Scikit-Learn:

from sklearn.datasets import load_iris
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.neighbors import KNeighborsClassifier
from sklearn.metrics import accuracy_score

# Load data
iris_data = load_iris()

# Split data into train and test set
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(,, test_size=0.2, random_state=42)

# Build KNN model
knn = KNeighborsClassifier(n_neighbors=7), y_train)

# Evaluate model
y_pred = knn.predict(X_test)
accuracy = accuracy_score(y_test, y_pred)

print("Model accuracy:", accuracy)


Apply statistical analysis like hypothesis testing, regression, etc. with StatsModels, SciPy:

from scipy import stats
import statsmodels.formula.api as smf

# Statistical analysis

# Linear regression
model = smf.ols('y ~ x', data=df).fit()

Well-commented, organized code following PEP 8 standards is expected in coding exercises.

Python Conceptual Questions

Conceptual questions evaluate deeper knowledge of Python’s fundamental concepts like inheritance, scope resolution, decorators, iterators etc.:

OOPs Concepts

Q1. Explain inheritance, encapsulation, abstraction, and polymorphism.

Q2. What is method overriding in Python?

Functional Programming

Q1. What are Python decorators? How are they different from functions?

Q2. Write a custom Python decorator to calculate time taken by a function.

Iterators and Generators

Q1. How are generators different from iterators in Python?

Q2. Write a Python generator function to print Fibonacci series.

Scope and Namespace

Q1. Explain global, local and non-local variables in Python.

Q2. How is namespace implemented in Python?


Q1. How does Python handle multi-threading?

Q2. Explain deadlocks and race conditions.

Python Scenario-Based Questions

Scenario-based questions evaluate how candidates apply Python to build real-world data science solutions. Some examples:

Data Preprocessing

Q1. You have a noisy dataset with missing values and outliers. Explain your data preprocessing steps in Python.

Q2. You need to normalize a feature matrix before model building. Implement this normalization in code.

Exploratory Data Analysis

Q1. You want to explore relationships between features in a dataset. Outline your exploratory analysis approach.

Q2. Implement visualization of dataset using Matplotlib and Seaborn to glean insights.

Model Building

Q1. You need to build a classification model on an imbalanced dataset. Explain your approach.

Q2. Tune hyperparameters of a random forest model to improve its accuracy.

Model Evaluation

Q1. Explain how you would evaluate a regression model on a test dataset.

Q2. Implement a classification report and confusion matrix to evaluate model performance.

Model Deployment

Q1. How would you deploy a Python machine learning model via a client-facing API?

Q2. Containerize a model training pipeline using Docker for productionization.

Well-reasoned approaches to scenarios along with relevant Python code snippets are expected in answers.

Python Library and Syntax Questions

These questions test breadth of knowledge on Python libraries and language syntax:

Python Libraries

Q1. What key differences exist between NumPy and Pandas?

Q2. How does SciPy extend NumPy?

Q3. Why is Matplotlib the most popular Python data visualization library?

Q4. What are the main features of the scikit-learn machine learning library?

Python Syntax

Q1. Differentiate between lists, tuples, and dictionaries in Python.

Q2. Explain Python package management tools like Pip, Virtualenv.

Q3. What are the key differences between Python 2.x vs Python 3.x?

Q4. How can linter tools like Pylint and Flake8 improve Python code quality?

Succinct, accurate responses demonstrating broad knowledge are expected for these questions.

Python System Design and Architecture

System design questions assess skills in designing and architecting complete data systems:

Building Data Pipelines

Q1. Design a Python ETL pipeline to extract data from multiple sources, transform and load into a data warehouse.

Q2. Develop a streaming data pipeline in Python using Kafka and Spark.

Microservice Architectures

Q1. You need to productionize multiple machine learning models via APIs. Outline a microservice-based architecture.

Q2. Implement two model serving microservices in Python using Flask/FastAPI.

Scalable Systems

Q1. How will you optimize a Python data processing system for high scalability and throughput?

Q2. Build a distributed computing architecture for large-scale Python workloads with Dask/Ray.

Domain knowledge, system design skills, and ability to synthesize solutions are evaluated here.

Python Best Practices

Best practices questions evaluate a candidate’s skills in writing production-grade Python code:

Writing Optimized Code

Q1. What techniques can be used to optimize Python code for faster execution?

Q2. How does lazy evaluation in Python improve performance? Explain with an example.

Writing Scalable Code

Q1. What methods can be used to parallelize Python code? Explain pros/cons.

Q2. Implement a divide-and-conquer approach to scale a large computation.

Writing Robust Code

Q1. How will you implement input validation and defensive checks for robustness?

Q2. Explain exception handling in Python with examples.

Code Maintainability

Q1. What guidelines from PEP 8 should be followed to write readable Python code?

Q2. Explain Python namespaces. How are they used to organize code?

In-depth knowledge of Pythonic code quality best practices is evaluated.

Testing Python Code

Testing questions assess a candidate’s skills in writing tests to ensure code quality:

Unit Testing

Q1. Explain unittest module in Python for unit testing.

Q2. Implement unit tests for a Python class/function using pytest.

Debugging Code

Q1. Explain techniques like linting, logging, debugging to troubleshoot Python code.

Q2. Use a debugger like pdb or ipdb to fix a buggy Python program.

Profiling and Optimization

Q1. How will you profile Python code to identify bottlenecks?

Q2. Optimize slow Python code using profiling outputs.

Hands-on testing skills are critical for writing reliable, production-ready Python code.

Python Interview Code Review

Many interviews involve reviewing candidate’s past Python code project:

Code Review Questions

Q1. Explain this code segment briefly.

Q2. How can we improve readability/performance/scalability of this code?

Q3. What best practices were not followed here? How can we rectify?

Q4. What edge cases are not handled in this code?

Live Code Review

Interviewers may do live code review by asking candidates to:

  1. Refactor and optimize existing Python code.

  2. Add new functionalities/features to a Python program.

  3. Debug and fix issues in a buggy Python code snippet.

Ability to critique code and recommend improvements is evaluated here.

Advanced Python Interview Questions

Senior data scientists may encounter advanced Python questions:

Multiprocessing and Multithreading

Q1. Differentiate between multiprocessing and multithreading in Python.

Q2. Implement a parallel processing architecture using multiprocessing.


Q1. What is metaprogramming in Python? Explain with examples.

Q2. Implement a Python class decorator to add behaviors dynamically.

Memory Management

Q1. Explain memory management techniques like buffer protocol in Python.

Q2. Implement a Python caching layer to reduce load on memory.

Expert-level conceptual knowledge and specialized coding skills are evaluated.

Final Tips for Python Data Science Interview Preparation

With this comprehensive set of sample questions, data science professionals and aspirants can thoroughly prepare for the Python programming section of any data science job interview.

Here are some final tips for optimal Python interview preparation:

With diligent preparation, data science professionals can master Python and perform exceptionally in technical interviews for data science roles.