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How to Test Data Science Skills Online?

I have to admit it’s not easy to test general data science skills online. I used to wonder if it was feasible to test data science skills online.

First, it’s challenging to assess some critical skills online quickly. For instance, a one-one meeting is more intuitive for testing communication skills. Certain industries may need data scientists to have specific domain knowledge or product sense capability, which cannot be included in a general test.

Many platforms provide online coding skills tests, such as Leetcode, HackerRank, etc. They are good at testing various programming skills and languages. However, only a handful has dedicated tests for data science skills. I tried them and found two concerns with them:

Too many coding skills tests.

Sometimes the candidates may need up to 90 mins to finish a couple of coding tasks in an unfamiliar IDE. Then the code will be checked against hidden use cases containing corner cases or performance concerns.

I would argue what is being tested is not a typical work style for a data scientist. Data scientists would spend 40% to 70% of the time on coding tasks depending on the position requirements. They have other duties like research, communication, presentation, etc. And those coding tasks usually involved working with familiar tools or packages. The ability to quickly and effectively explore the dataset and provide solutions is more important than considering the corner cases and time complexity, which are most concerns of engineers and architects for deployment.

Too fewer data and statistics questions.

Data science is not just coding. Data science is not just machine learning. The ability to manipulate and visualize data efficiently and productively must be the basic skill for a professional data science practitioner. Understanding statistics and thinking in a correct statistical way also play an important role.

Because we are not satisfied with the existing tests, we create tests specialized in data science skills which we believe are essential for data scientists’ daily work. Please check the available tests here.

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