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Data Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

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Did you know?

  • Nowadays, the term Data Science is ubiquitous. However, Data Engineering is the predecessor of Data Science. Data engineers create infrastructure and tools that help data scientists perform advanced analysis. 
  • Data engineers often lead the way in automating manual data-handling processes. They create algorithms and systems that automate the collection and storage of the data.
  • The number of universities that offer degrees in Data Engineering is very limited. There is only one university that offers a Bachelor’s degree in Data Engineering.
  • Data Engineers are self-taught, which means they often try to find mentors but are not able to find them.


Most Frequently Asked Data Engineer Interview Questions

1. What is Data Engineering?
2. Define Data Modeling.
3. What are some of the design schemas used when performing Data Modeling?
4. What are the differences between structured and unstructured data?
5. What is Hadoop? Explain briefly.
6. What are some of the important components of Hadoop?
7. What is a NameNode in HDFS?
8. What is Hadoop Streaming?
9. What are some of the important features of Hadoop?
10. What are the four Vs of Big Data?

We are sure you all have this question in mind – How to prepare for a Data Engineer interview? This Top Data Engineer interview questions blog is carefully curated with questions that commonly appear in interviews across all companies.

Basic Data Engineer Interview Questions For Freshers

1. What is Data Engineering?

Data Engineering is a term one uses when working with data. The main process of converting the raw entity of data into useful information that can be used for various purposes is called Data Engineering. This involves the Data Engineer working with the data by performing data collection and research on the same.

2. Define Data Modeling.

Data modeling is the simplification of complex software designs by breaking them up into simple diagrams that are easy to understand, and it does not require any prerequisites for the same. This provides numerous advantages as there is a simple visual representation between the data objects involved and the rules associated with them.

3. What are some of the design schemas used when performing Data Modeling?

There are two schemas when one works with data modeling. They are:

4. What are the differences between structured and unstructured data?

Parameters Structured Data Unstructured Data
Storage Method DBMS Most of it is unmanaged
Protocol Standards ODBC, SQL, and ADO.NET XML, CSV, SMSM, and SMTP
Scaling Schema scaling is difficult Schema scaling is very easy
Example An ordered text dataset file Images, videos, etc.

5. What is Hadoop? Explain briefly.

Hadoop is an open-source framework, which is used for data manipulation and data storage, as well as for running applications on units called clusters. Hadoop has been the gold standard of the day when it comes to working with and handling Big Data.

The main advantage is the easy provision of the huge amounts of space needed for data storage and a vast amount of processing power to handle limitless jobs and tasks concurrently.

Also, Check out the Data Engineering Interview Questions video provided by Intellipaat:

6. What are some of the important components of Hadoop?

There are many components involved when working with Hadoop, and some of them are as follows:

  • Hadoop Common: This consists of all libraries and utilities that are commonly used by the Hadoop application.
  • HDFS: The Hadoop File System is where all the data is stored when working with Hadoop. It provides a distributed file system with very high bandwidth.
  • Hadoop YARN: Yet Another Resource Negotiator is used for managing resources in the Hadoop system. Task scheduling can also be performed using YARN.
  • Hadoop MapReduce: It is based on techniques that provide user access to large-scale data processing.

7. What is a NameNode in HDFS?

NameNode is one of the vital parts of HDFS. It is used as a way to store all the HDFS data and, at the same time, keep track of the files in all clusters as well. 

However, you must know that the data is actually stored in the DataNodes and not in the NameNodes.

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8. What is Hadoop Streaming?

Hadoop streaming is one of the widely used utilities provided by Hadoop for users to easily create maps and perform reduction operations. Later, this can be submitted into a specific cluster for usage.

9. What are some of the important features of Hadoop?

  • Hadoop is an open-source framework.
  • Hadoop works on the basis of distributed computing.
  • It provides faster data processing due to parallel computing.
  • Data is stored in separate clusters away from the operations.
  • Data redundancy is given priority to ensure no data loss.

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10. What are the four Vs of Big Data?

The following forms to be the vital foundation of Big Data:

  • Volume
  • Variety
  • Velocity
  • Veracity

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11. What is Block and Block Scanner in HDFS?

Block is considered as a singular entity of data, which is the smallest factor. When Hadoop encounters a large file, it automatically slices the file into smaller chunks called blocks.

A block scanner is put into place to verify whether the loss-of-blocks created by Hadoop is put on the DataNode successfully or not.

12. How does a Block Scanner handle corrupted files?

  • When the block scanner comes across a file that is corrupted, the DataNode reports this particular file to the NameNode.
  • The NameNode then processes the file by creating replicas of the same using the original (corrupted) file.
  • If there is a match between the replicas created and the replication block, then the corrupted data block is not removed.

13. How does the NameNode communicate with the DataNode?

The NameNode and the DataNode communicate via messages. There are two messages that are sent across the channel:

  • Block reports
  • Heartbeats

14. What is meant by COSHH?

COSHH is the abbreviation for Classification and Optimization-based Scheduling for Heterogeneous Hadoop systems. As the name suggests, it provides scheduling at both the cluster and the application levels to directly have a positive impact on the completion time for jobs.

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15. What is Star Schema, in brief?

Star schema is also called the star join schema, which is one of the simple schemas in the concept of Data Warehousing. Its structure resembles a star that consists of fact tables and associated dimension tables. The star schema is widely used when working with large amounts of data.

16. Explain Snowflake in brief.

The snowflake schema is a primary extension of the star schema with the presence of more dimensions. It is spanned across as the structure of a snowflake, hence, the name. Data is structured here and split into more tables after normalization.

17. State the differences between Star Schema and Snowflake Schema.

Star Schema Snowflake Schema
The dimension hierarchy is stored in dimension tables. Each hierarchy gets stored in individual tables.
High data redundancy Low data redundancy
Simple database designs Complex data-handling storage space
Fast cube processing Slower cube processing (complex joins)

18. What is Big Data?

Big Data means really large sets of data that normal ways can’t handle. It’s important because it helps find important trends and patterns related to how people behave and interact.

19. Why do Data Engineers need SQL?

SQL lets Data Engineers talk to and work with databases. It helps them get and change data and is key for analyzing how data is connected.

20. What's a Data Lake?

A Data Lake is a big storage area that can hold a large amount of any kind of data. It’s useful because it stores lots of data and lets many tasks happen at the same time.

21. How does Cloud Computing help with Data Engineering?

Cloud Computing gives on-demand resources, making it easier to handle, analyze, and store big amounts of data. It gives Data Engineers the ability to work with big data more easily and cheaply.

22. What does Data Profiling mean?

Data Profiling means looking at the data you have and gathering information about it. It helps understand the quality of the data and prepare it for further steps like cleaning or transforming. 

23. Why use Data Warehouses?

Data Warehouses bring together data from many sources into one place for analysis and reporting. They help make decisions by keeping a big, detailed record of historical data. 

24. What is Data Redundancy, and how is it fixed?

Ans. Data Redundancy happens when the same data exists in more than one place. It’s fixed by organizing the data better to avoid repeats and ensure the data is correct and consistent. 

25. Name the XML configuration files present in Hadoop.

Following are the XML configuration files available in Hadoop:

  • Core-site
  • Mapred-site
  • HDFS-site
  • YARN-site

Intermediate Data Engineer Interview Questions

26. What is the meaning of FSCK?

FSCK is also known as the File System Check, which is one of the important commands used in HDFS. It is primarily put to use when you have to check for problems and discrepancies in files.

27. What is ETL and why is it important in data engineering?

ETL stands for Extract, Transform, Load. It is a process used in data engineering to extract data from source systems, transform it into a suitable format, and load it into a target system, typically a data warehouse or a data lake. ETL is crucial in data engineering because it allows organizations to collect, clean, and transform data from various sources into a structured and usable format for analysis. Without ETL, data would remain in its raw, often unstructured state, making it difficult to analyze and gain insights from.

28. Explain the difference between a data warehouse and a data lake.

A data warehouse is a structured and highly organized repository of data that is designed for querying and reporting. It typically stores structured data and enforces schema consistency. In contrast, a data lake is a more flexible storage system that can handle structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. It allows for data to be ingested without a predefined schema and is suited for big data and data exploration. Data warehouses are optimized for analytics, while data lakes are more suitable for data storage and exploration.

29. What is a primary key, foreign key, and how are they used in database design?

A primary key is a unique identifier for each row in a database table. It ensures that each row is unique and provides a way to access and reference individual records. A foreign key, on the other hand, is a field in a database table that is used to establish a link between two tables. It creates a relationship between the tables, enabling referential integrity. Foreign keys help maintain data consistency and enforce relationships between related data.

30. What is the CAP theorem, and how does it relate to distributed systems in data engineering?

The CAP theorem, also known as Brewer’s theorem, states that in a distributed system, it’s impossible to achieve all three of the following simultaneously: Consistency, Availability, and Partition tolerance. You can have two of these qualities at the expense of the third. This theorem is critical in distributed systems because it helps in making design trade-offs. For example, in the face of network partitions (P), you might have to choose between ensuring strong data consistency (C) or high availability (A).

31. What is the purpose of partitioning in distributed data processing frameworks like Hadoop or Spark?

Partitioning divides a large dataset into smaller, manageable subsets called partitions. It helps in parallelizing data processing tasks across multiple nodes in a cluster. By breaking data into partitions, distributed systems like Hadoop and Spark can process data more efficiently, as each node can work on its partition concurrently. Partitioning also reduces data movement and improves data locality, which is crucial for optimizing performance in distributed systems.

32. Explain the concept of data serialization and why it is important in data engineering.

Data serialization is the process of converting complex data structures or objects into a format that can be easily stored, transmitted, or reconstructed. It’s essential in data engineering because it allows data to be stored in a compact format that can be easily read and processed. Common serialization formats include JSON, Avro, and Parquet. Serialization is important for data interchange between different systems, such as between a producer and a consumer in a data pipeline, as it ensures data consistency and compatibility.

33. How do you ensure data quality in a data pipeline, and what are some common data quality issues to watch out for?

Data quality in a data pipeline can be ensured through various techniques, such as data validation, data cleansing, and monitoring. Common data quality issues include missing values, duplicate records, inconsistent formatting, and inaccurate data. Data validation rules and data profiling can help identify and address these issues, and data quality monitoring can provide ongoing assurance that data remains accurate and reliable throughout the pipeline.

34. What is data skew in the context of distributed data processing, and how can it be mitigated?

Data skew refers to an imbalance in the distribution of data across partitions or nodes in a distributed system. It can result in some nodes taking significantly longer to process their data, leading to performance issues. Data skew can be mitigated by employing techniques like data shuffling, using custom partitioning strategies, or applying dynamic load balancing. Additionally, using appropriate data structures and algorithms can help spread the workload more evenly.

35. Describe the differences between batch processing and stream processing, and provide use cases for each.

Batch processing involves processing data in large, discrete chunks, whereas stream processing deals with data in real-time, one record at a time. Batch processing is suitable for use cases where you can afford a delay in processing, like generating daily reports or historical data analysis. Stream processing is used for real-time analytics, fraud detection, monitoring, and any application that requires immediate insights from data as it arrives.

36. Can you explain the concept of data lineage and why it is crucial in data engineering and compliance?

Data lineage is the tracking of data as it moves through various stages of a data pipeline or system. It’s crucial in data engineering because it helps in understanding where data originates, how it’s transformed, and where it’s consumed. Data lineage is essential for compliance, as it provides a clear audit trail for data, ensuring data governance and regulatory requirements are met. It also aids in debugging, troubleshooting, and optimizing data pipelines.

37. What do APIs do in Data Engineering?

 APIs help to work with the data from anywhere. They let Data Engineers access and work with data from different places, making it easier to connect and automate tasks related to data

38. What is Data Transformation?

Changing data from one form or structure to another is called Data Transformation. It makes sure data from different places can fit together for analysis or reporting.

39. Why is encrypting data important?

Encrypting data keeps it safe from people who shouldn’t see it. It turns data into a code that only people with access to it can read, protecting any confidential information.

40. How does caching data improve things?

Caching saves copies of data in easy-to-reach places. It makes getting data faster by reducing the wait time to access often-used data.

41. Why index data in databases?

Indexing makes finding data in databases faster. It creates shortcuts to data, so you don’t have to look through everything to find what you need. 

42. What does replicating data do?

Replicating data copies it from one place to another. This keeps data consistent across different places and protects against losing data. 

43. When is Batch Processing used?

Batch Processing is used when dealing with lots of data all at once. It gathers transactions over time and processes them together, like calculating daily sales at night. 


Advance Data Engineer Interview Questions

44. What are some of the methods of Reducer?

Following are the three main methods involved with reducer:

  • setup(): This is primarily used to configure input data parameters and cache protocols.
  • cleanup(): This method is used to remove the temporary files stored.
  • reduce(): The method is called one time for every key, and it happens to be the single most important aspect of the reducer on the whole.

45. What are the different usage modes of Hadoop?

Hadoop can be used in three different modes. They are:

  • Standalone mode
  • Pseudo distributed mode
  • Fully distributed mode

46. How is data security ensured in Hadoop?

Following are some of the steps involved in securing data in Hadoop:

  • You need to begin by securing the authentic channel that connects clients to the server.
  • Second, the clients make use of the stamp that is received to request a service ticket.
  • Lastly, the clients use the service ticket as a tool for authentically connecting to the corresponding server.

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47. Which are the default port numbers for Port Tracker, Task Tracker, and NameNode in Hadoop?

  • Job Tracker has the default port: 50030
  • Task Tracker has the default port: 50060
  • NameNode has the default port: 50070

48. How does Big Data Analytics help increase the revenue of a company?

Data Analytics helps the companies of today’s world in numerous ways. Following are the foundational concepts in which it helps:

  • Effective use of data to relate to structured growth
  • Effective customer value increase and retention analysis
  • Manpower forecasting and improved staffing methods
  • Bringing down the production cost majorly

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49. In your opinion, what does a Data Engineer majorly do?

A Data Engineer is responsible for a wide array of things. Following are some of the important ones:

  • Handling data inflow and processing pipelines
  • Maintaining data staging areas
  • Responsible for ETL data transformation activities
  • Performing data cleaning and the removal of redundancies
  • Creating ad-hoc query building operations and native data extraction methods

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50. What are some of the technologies and skills that a Data Engineer should possess?

Following are the important technologies that a Data Engineer must be proficient in:

Followed by this, a Data Engineer must also have good problem-solving skills and analytical thinking ability.

51. What is the difference between a Data Architect and a Data Engineer?

A Data Architect is a person who is responsible for managing the data that comes into the organization from a variety of sources. Data handling skills such as database technologies are a must-have skill of a Data Architect. The Data Architect is also concerned with how changes in the data will lead to major conflicts in the organization model.

Now, a Data Engineer is the person who is primarily responsible for helping the Data Architect with setting up and establishing the Data Warehousing pipeline and the architecture of enterprise data hubs.

52. How is the distance between nodes defined when using Hadoop?

The distance between nodes is the simple sum of the distances to the closest corresponding nodes. The getDistance() method is used to calculate these distances.

53. What is the data stored in the NameNode?

NameNode primarily consists of all of the metadata information for HDFS such as the namespace details and the individual block information.

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54. What is meant by Rack Awareness?

Rack awareness is a concept in which the NameNode makes use of the DataNode to increase the incoming network traffic while concurrently performing reading or writing operations on the file, which is the closest to the rack from which the request was called for. 

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55. What is a Heartbeat message?

Heartbeat is one of the two ways the DataNode communicates with the NameNode. It is an important signal which is sent by the DataNode to the NameNode in a structured interval to show that it is still operational.

56. What is the use of a Context Object in Hadoop?

A context object is used in Hadoop, along with the mapper class, as a means of communication with the other parts of the system. System configuration details and jobs present in the constructor are obtained easily using the context object.

It is also used to send information to methods such as setup(), cleanup(), and map().

57. What is the use of Hive in the Hadoop ecosystem?

Hive is used to provide the user interface to manage all the stored data in Hadoop. The data is mapped with HBase tables and worked upon, as and when needed. Hive queries (similar to SQL queries) are executed to be converted into MapReduce jobs. This is done to keep the complexity under check when executing multiple jobs at once.

58. What is the use of Metastore in Hive?

Metastore is used as a storage location for the schema and Hive tables. Data such as definitions, mappings, and other metadata can be stored in the metastore. This is later stored in an RDMS when required.

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59. Explain the concept of Data Sharding and how it affects database scalability.

Data Sharding involves splitting a large database into smaller, more manageable pieces or ‘shards’, which are distributed across multiple servers. This enhances scalability as it allows the database to handle more requests by spreading the load.

60. How would you design a system to deduplicate streaming data in real-time?

Designing a system to deduplicate streaming data involves using techniques like Bloom Filters or Cuckoo Filters to check for duplicates efficiently, along with windowing and time-based checks to ensure data consistency.

61. Describe the use of Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) in data processing frameworks like Apache Spark.

In frameworks like Apache Spark, DAGs represent a sequence of computations performed on data. Each node represents an operation, and the edges represent the data flow. DAGs allow for fault tolerance and optimization as they clearly define stages of computation.

62. How can eventual consistency be handled in a distributed database system?

Eventual Consistency can be handled by implementing mechanisms like Conflict Resolution Strategies (e.g., Last Write Wins), Version Vectors, or Quorum-based Replication to ensure that, over time, all replicas converge to the same state.

63. Explain how a Bloom Filter works and where it might be used in a data engineering pipeline.

A Bloom Filter is a probabilistic data structure used to test whether an element is a member of a set. It can introduce false positives but not false negatives. It is used to reduce unnecessary disk I/O or network calls, like checking if a key exists in a database.

64. How would you implement data retention policies in a data warehouse?

Implementing data retention involves setting up Time-To-Live (TTL) policies, archiving strategies, and partitioning data based on time, allowing for efficient deletion or archiving of older data.

65. Discuss the CAP theorem and its implications for distributed systems.

The CAP theorem posits that a distributed system can only achieve two out of three properties: Consistency, Availability, and Partition tolerance. The theorem guides the design and trade-offs in distributed systems.

66. How can skewness be handled during a join operation in a distributed data processing environment?

Skew can be mitigated by techniques such as salting keys (adding random prefixes/suffixes), broadcasting smaller tables, or repartitioning the data to ensure even distribution among processing nodes.

67. Explain how a Time-series Database is different from a traditional Relational Database and provide examples.

Time-series Databases (e.g., InfluxDB, TimescaleDB) are optimized for handling time-stamped data and are efficient for write-heavy workloads. Relational Databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) are general-purpose and may not perform as efficiently with time-series data.

68. How would you ensure data quality and integrity while ingesting data from multiple heterogeneous sources?

Ensuring data quality involves implementing data validation checks, schema validation, de-duplication strategies, and data profiling. Anomalies and inconsistencies can be logged and corrected using predefined rules or manual intervention.

69. What are the components that are available in the Hive data model?

Following are some of the components in Hive:

  • Buckets
  • Tables
  • Partitions

70. Can you create more than a single table for an individual data file?

Yes, it is possible to create more than one table for a data file. In Hive, schemas are stored in the metastore. Therefore, it is very easy to obtain the result for the corresponding data.

71. What is the meaning of Skewed tables in Hive?

Skewed tables are the tables in which values appear in a repeated manner. The more they repeat, the more the skewness.

Using Hive, a table can be classified as SKEWED while creating it. By doing this, the values will be written to different files first, and later, the remaining values will go to a separate file.

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72. What are the collections that are present in Hive?

Hive has the following collections/data types:

  • Array
  • Map
  • Struct
  • Union


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73. What is SerDe in Hive?

SerDe stands for Serialization and Deserialization in Hive. It is the operation that is involved when passing records through Hive tables.

The Deserializer takes a record and converts it into a Java object, that is understood by Hive.

Now, the Serializer takes this Java object and converts it into a format that is processable by HDFS. Later, HDFS takes over for the storage function.

74. What are the table creation functions present in Hive?

Following are some of the table creation functions in Hive:

  • Explode(array)
  • Explode(map)
  • JSON_tuple()
  • Stack()

75. What is the role of the .hiverc file in Hive?

The role of the .hiverc file is initialization. Whenever you want to write code for Hive, you open up the CLI (command-line interface), and whenever the CLI is opened, this file is the first one to load. It contains the parameters that you initially set.

76. What are *args and **kwargs used for?

The *args function lets users define an ordered function for usage in the command line, and the **kwargs function is used to denote a set of arguments that are unordered and in line to be input to a function.

77. How can you see the structure of a database using MySQL?

To see the structure of a database, the describe command can be used. The syntax is simple:

describe tablename;

78. Can you search for a specific string in a column present in a MySQL table?

Yes, specific strings and corresponding substring operations can be performed in MySQL. The regex operator is used for this purpose.

79. In brief, what is the difference between a Data Warehouse and a Database?

When working with Data Warehousing, the primary focus goes on using aggregation functions, performing calculations, and selecting subsets in data for processing. With databases, the main use is related to data manipulation, deletion operations, and more. Speed and efficiency play a big role when working with either of these.

80. Have you earned any sort of certification to boost your opportunities as a Data Engineer?

Interviewers look for candidates who are serious about advancing their career options by making use of additional tools like certifications. Certificates are strong proof that you have put in all efforts to learn new skills, master them, and put them into use at the best of your capacity. List the certifications, if you have any, and do talk about them in brief, explaining what all you learned from the program and how it’s been helpful to you so far.

81. Do you have any experience working in the same industry as ours before?

This question is a frequent one. It is asked to understand if you have had any previous exposure to the environment and work in the same. Make sure to elaborate the experience you have, with the tools you’ve used and the techniques you’ve implemented. This ensures to provide a complete picture to the interviewer.


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82. Why are you applying for the Data Engineer role in our company?

Here, the interviewer is trying to see how well you can convince them regarding your proficiency in the subject, handling all the concepts needed to bring in large amounts of data, work with it, and help build a pipeline. It is always an added advantage to know the job description in detail, along with the compensation and the details of the company, thereby, obtaining a complete understanding of what tools, software packages, and technologies are required to work in the role.

83. What is your plan after joining this Data Engineer role?

While answering this question, make sure to keep your explanation concise on how you would bring about a plan that works with the company set up and how you would implement the plan, ensuring that it works by first understanding the data infrastructure setup of the company, and you would also talk about how it can be made better or further improvised in the coming days with further iterations.

84. Do you have prior experience working with Data Modeling?

If you are interviewed for an intermediate-level role, this is a question that you will always be asked. Begin your answer with a simple yes or no. It is alright if you have not worked with data modeling before, but make sure to explain whatever you know about data modeling in a concise and structured manner. It would be advantageous if you have used tools like Pentaho or Informatica for this purpose.

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85. Discuss the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on data engineering pipelines and how to ensure compliance.

GDPR affects data pipelines by imposing strict rules on data collection, processing, and storage, particularly personal data of EU citizens. To comply, engineers must ensure data anonymization through techniques like pseudonymization and encryption, establish clear consent mechanisms, and provide easy data access and deletion functionalities. Additionally, maintaining thorough documentation, performing Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs), and appointing Data Protection Officers (DPOs) are essential steps.

86. How would you design a globally distributed and highly available data pipeline ensuring data consistency?

To ensure data consistency in a distributed system, employ data replication across regions. Use consistent hashing to distribute data evenly across servers, and choose a suitable consistency model (e.g., strong consistency with a quorum-based algorithm like Paxos or Raft, or eventual consistency for higher availability). Conflict-free replicated data types (CRDTs) or multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) can help manage data version conflicts.

87. Explain the considerations and strategies for optimizing query performance in a columnar data store.

To boost query performance in a columnar store, leverage the intrinsic benefits of columnar storage by minimizing I/O operations through column pruning and partition pruning. Employ efficient compression algorithms to reduce storage and speed up query processing. Use data indexing for faster lookups and consider the cost-based optimizer to dynamically choose the best query execution plan based on data statistics.

88. Discuss the challenges and solutions for real-time anomaly detection in high-velocity data streams.

For anomaly detection in high-velocity streams, one must handle the volume and velocity of data while maintaining accuracy. Employing scalable machine learning models like Isolation Forests can help. Windowing techniques in stream processing platforms allow for handling out-of-order events and late arrivals. Tools like Apache Flink provide advanced state management and event-time processing capabilities for complex event processing.

89. How would you approach designing a Data as a Service (DaaS) platform?

When designing a DaaS platform, consider the full lifecycle management of data services. Implement RESTful APIs for data access, apply robust security measures including authentication, authorization, and encryption, and incorporate data governance and quality assurance measures. Support various data delivery models, including real-time streams and batch downloads, while ensuring the platform’s ability to scale out and manage varying load patterns.

90. Explain the complications of cross-cloud data migration and strategies to minimize downtime and data loss.

In cross-cloud migrations, transfer costs, and potential data inconsistencies due to network issues are primary concerns. To mitigate downtime, use database replication techniques, ensure data integrity checks, and apply change data capture for continuous synchronization. For minimizing data transfer costs, consider data compression, transfer scheduling, and possibly utilizing dedicated data transfer networks or appliances offered by cloud providers.

91. Discuss how Quantum Computing might affect data encryption and how to prepare for these changes.

Quantum computing threatens current cryptographic algorithms. To future-proof encryption, invest in researching post-quantum cryptography, focusing on algorithms that are considered resistant to quantum attacks, such as lattice-based, hash-based, code-based, or multivariate quadratic equations cryptography. Keep abreast of NIST’s post-quantum cryptographic standardization process.

92. How would you implement a scalable and efficient data versioning system for a large dataset?

Implementing an efficient data versioning system for large datasets can be achieved by leveraging structures like LSM-trees which are write-optimized and handle large-scale versioning well. Delta Lake, on top of a data lake, provides ACID transactions, scalable metadata handling, and unifies streaming and batch data processing.

93. Discuss the concept of Federated Learning and how it can be used to build privacy-preserving machine learning models.

Federated Learning’s key benefit is the ability to train models on decentralized data, ensuring privacy by design. It requires managing model updates across distributed nodes, aggregating them centrally without transferring the underlying data. This is critical for sensitive information and complies with privacy regulations like GDPR.

94. Explain how to design a system to guarantee data integrity and accuracy in a Microservices architecture.

Maintaining data integrity in a microservices environment requires decentralized data management. Implement distributed transactions using the Saga pattern, where each service performs its transaction and publishes events, while other services react to these events and execute local transactions. Event sourcing ensures all changes to application state are stored as a sequence of events, which can be replayed to restore the state of a system.

95. Describe how you would set up a data pipeline to handle both batch and stream processing workloads. What technologies would you use, and how would you ensure minimal latency for the streaming data while managing the efficiency of the batch processing tasks?

To handle both batch and stream processing workloads, I would design the data pipeline using a unified processing engine like Apache Flink or Apache Spark, which supports both processing methods. For stream processing, I would ensure minimal latency by leveraging in-memory processing and carefully tuning checkpoint intervals and state backends. For batch jobs, I’d focus on optimizing resource allocation and job scheduling to run during low-traffic periods to maintain efficiency. Kafka could be used as the messaging system to buffer the stream of data, ensuring durability and fault tolerance.

96. How would you design a schema evolution strategy for a data lake that receives heterogeneous data sources and formats? What would be your approach to handling breaking schema changes in a production environment without causing downtime or data loss?

Schema evolution in a data lake is challenging due to diverse data sources and formats. My strategy would include implementing a schema registry that supports schema versioning and validation like Confluent Schema Registry. For managing schema changes, I would use a format that supports schema evolution such as Avro or Parquet. Additionally, I’d ensure that data ingestion pipelines are robust enough to handle schema changes by using dynamic schema discovery and validation. Breaking changes would be managed by versioning datasets and using backward and forward compatibility checks to prevent data loss or downtime.

97. Discuss the trade-offs between different data serialization formats such as Avro, Parquet, and JSON in the context of real-time analytics. How would you choose the appropriate format for a given use case, considering factors such as schema evolution, compression, and processing speed?

The trade-offs between data serialization formats like Avro, Parquet, and JSON significantly depend on the specific use case. Avro is great for schema evolution and is compact, making it suitable for Kafka messages. Parquet is a columnar format that provides efficient compression and speedy query performance, ideal for OLAP workloads. JSON, while human-readable and flexible, is less efficient in both space and processing. For real-time analytics, where processing speed is important, I would lean towards Avro for its balance of performance and schema evolution. If analytical queries are also a requirement, using Avro for streaming into a system and then transforming it to Parquet for long-term storage could be optimal.

98. How does Machine Learning change Data Engineering?

Machine Learning lets systems learn from data, find patterns, and make decisions with little human help. It makes data engineering smarter, helping make better use of data. 

99. Why are Graph Databases good for analyzing data?

Graph Databases are great for looking at how things are connected. They make it easier and faster to understand complex relationships in data.

100. What's important about processing data in real time?

 Real-time processing means working with data right as it comes in. It’s key for things that need quick answers, like spotting fraud as it happens. 

101. What impact does Data Governance have?

Data Governance makes sure data is good quality, safe, and used correctly. It helps Data Engineers by setting rules for how data should be handled.

102. How do Microservices work with Data Engineering?

Microservices break an app into small parts that work independently. This helps Data Engineers manage and scale data tasks better as needs change.

103. What's Data Virtualization?

Data Virtualization makes it easier to get and use data from different places without moving it. It helps see all your data in one spot without the hassle. 

104. What big challenges come with Big Data?

The challenge that Big Data brings is the size of the data, fast speed, different types, and making sure it’s true. Solutions include better storage, faster processing, and making sure data is good and safe.

Download the Data Engineer Interview Questions PDF to prepare for interviews offline.

Skills Required to Be a Data Engineer


  • Coding Skills: Coding is required to make use of technologies such as big data and machine learning. The candidate should be proficient in Python, C, C++, or Perl.
  • Knowledge of Database Systems:  SQL is a popular language for building and managing databases. Understanding various kinds of database management systems and how they interact with databases for data storage and retrieval is an important skill for Data Engineers.
  • Understanding of Data Warehousing Systems:  Data Warehouses store large volumes of data for querying and analysis. This data originates from various sources, such as customer relationship management systems, accounting systems, and enterprise resource planning systems. Companies often require engineers to converse with such data
  • Expertise in ETL Tools:  Extract, Transform, and Load is a method to pull data from various sources, convert it into a usable format, and then store or load it into a data warehouse. Data engineers use batch processing to help companies analyze data related to specific business challenges.
  • Machine Learning Skills: Creating models is also part of data engineering to make predictions based on present and past data. Develop your data modeling and data analysis skills to design solutions that others can use.
    • Knowledge of APIs: Data Engineers provide APIs so that data scientists and analysts can query the information needed. APIs work as a mediator between users and the database.
    • Critical Thinking Skills: Data Engineers know about various technologies. Data engineers require critical thinking so that they can solve problems with a creative mind.

Data Engineer Salary Trends


Job Role Average Salary in India Average Salary in the USA
Data Engineer

(0-9 years experience)

Minimum – ₹8,95,000 /yr Minimum – $1,25,310 /yr
Average –  ₹17L /yr Average – $1,77,278 /yr
Maximum –    ₹24L /yr Highest – $1,68,815 /yr

Data Engineer Job Trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics US, there will be growth in the employment of AI and machine learning specialists, which is projected to grow by 26% from 2022 to 2032.

  • Global Trend: With 3200 open job opportunities, data engineering is also expected to grow in the upcoming years.
  • Growth Projection: Data is going to grow in the upcoming years. More data means more requirements for the person who understands and can work on the data, leading to the requirement for Data Engineering.

Job Opportunities in Data Engineering

As a data engineer, your role and responsibility are to build systems that collect, manage, and convert raw data into usable information for data scientists and business analysts to interpret.

Job Role Description
Data Architect Creating and implementing data architectures that support an organization’s business goals.
Entry-level Data Engineer Work on data engineering projects under the guidance of more experienced data engineers.
Chief Data Officer Manage an organization’s data strategy and ensure that data is used effectively to support business goals.

Data Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

According to a job posted on LinkedIn by LabCorp

Role: Data Architect

  1. Responsibilities: 
    1. You have to create and design a flexible data system that can grow to support all the required marketing needs.
    2. Work with teams across different departments to understand the business needs and accordingly develop the tools required.
    3. Ensure the data scientists, analysts, and project teams can easily access and use the important data they need.
    4. Create and maintain the structure and systems that organize data.
  2. Skills Required:
    1. Hands-on experience with tools like Martech technologies including Salesforce(SFDC), Salesforce Marketing Cloud(SFMC)
    2. Advanced knowledge of Application Programming Interfaces(APIs)
    3. Develop Pipelines using tools like Apache Spark
    4. Leadership quality and mentorship skills


I hope this set of Data Engineering Interview Questions will help you prepare for your interviews. Best of luck! 

If you are looking to start your career or even elevate your skills in the field of Data Engineering you can enroll in our Data Engineering course and get certified today.

If you want to dive deep into more Data Engineering interview questions, join Intellipaat’s vibrant Big Data community and get answers to your queries from like-minded enthusiasts. 

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About the Author

Head of Data Engineering & Science

As a head of Data Engineering and Science at Chargebee, Birendra is leading a team of 50+ engineers, specializing in high-scale data and ML platforms. Previously, held key roles at Razorpay and as CTO, with extensive experience in Big Data, ML, and SAAS architecture. Recognized for 85+ contributions to tech publications and patents.