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The Amazon Data Scientist Interview

Blog: Think Data Analytics Blog

Amazon is one of the world’s largest internet company and the biggest online retailer. With so many products and services, Amazon is constantly in the market for motivated and innovative data scientists to meet its ever-growing data needs.

As a company, Amazon prides itself on being known for its disruptive innovation of well-established industries through technological innovation. Its vision is to become the Earth’s most customer-centric company.

What is the Data Science Role?

The role of a data scientist at Amazon depends on the specific team. Amazon is a large conglomerate corporation with many teams working on different products and services.

These teams include AWS (Amazon Web Services), Alexa, forecasting team in the Supply Chain Optimization Technologies (SCOT), the NASCO Team (North America Supply Chain Organization), Middle Mile Planning Research and Optimization Science (mmPROS) team, and many more.

General requirements are:

Required Skills

What are the types of data scientist?

Amazon has three main types of job roles related to data science. Here’s what the Amazon data science skills graph looks like for the interview and their day to day roles:

Source from Interview Query

The type of data science teams on Amazon are listed below:

Data Analytics/Business Intelligence

This role focuses mainly on creating forecasts, identifying strategic opportunities, and providing informed and business-related insights. Data visualizations tools like Tableau and data warehousing skills and are often required.

Machine Learning Research Scientists

This role focuses mainly on cutting edge researches in areas like NLP, deep learning, video recommendations, streaming data analysis, social networks etc. Generally, the position spans from PhDs up to internationally renowned researchers.

Read more on the Amazon machine learning interview.

Data/Applied Scientists

The most popular and generalized role, the data scientist dive into big data sets in order to build simulations and experimentation systems at scale, build optimization algorithms, and leverage cutting-edge technologies across Amazon

Data Engineer

This is the team that built tools or products that are used inside and outside the company. Think AWS or Alexa. The role significantly overlap with ML Engineer positions. Object-oriented languages like C++/Java skills often required.

The Amazon Interview

The interview process at Amazon is similar to other tech companies. The first thing to note is that Amazon does not do take-home challenges. The interview process consists of instead an initial phone screen by a recruiter or hiring manager, then technical phone screen, and finally an onsite interview which is usually done in five stages with an informal interview over lunch.

Initial Screen

The initial phone interview is usually conducted by a recruiter or hiring manager at Amazon. This is a resume-based phone interview that normally goes over your resume as well as the position on the team. Given that Amazon is one of the largest organizations in the world, the hiring manager will explain what their team does and where it falls in the organization.

The Technical Screen

The technical screening comes after the initial phone screen. This interview will involve coding, statistics, and machine learning. You can expect, at least, two coding questions, one involving SQL and the other an algorithm coding type question. The coding portion is done over a shared code editor. Remember to take the time to go over your thought process with the interviewer. There is also a section on “approach”, detailing how you got to the solution and why you use the steps you used.

Additionally the interviewer will ask a machine learning concept question. This is generally pretty conversational but remember to brush up on general ML concepts.

Example Technical Screen Question

We’re given two tables. Table A has one million records with fields ID and AGE. Table B has 100 records with two fields as well, ID and SALARY.

Let’s say in Table B, the mean salary is 50K and the median salary is 100K.


Given the query above gets run, about how many records would be returned?

Check out our ultimate guide to SQL interview questions

Onsite Interview

After passing the technical phone screen, the recruiter will arrange an onsite interview. Most of the topics will involve A/B testing, more machine learning conceptual questions, exploratory data analysis, and some coding questions.

This stage comprises of 5 or 6 back-to-back interviews, each, one on one, or with two people; a manager and a junior data scientist. In total, the onsite interview will last for around six hours.

This is what the process looks like:

Each stage will likely test your knowledge of Amazon leadership principles and your critical thinking and problem-solving ability.

Tips and Tricks

Amazon Data Science Interview Questions

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