Hiring for Big Data – Interview Questions, Conferences, and More

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A major part of getting your big data initiative up and running is finding personnel with the skills, experience, and personality you’ll need for project success. The dearth of big data and data science professionals can make the staffing requirements seem impossible at times. This article will give some ideas of what to look for in big data candidates, where you can go to get in touch with these individuals, and the big data interview questions you’ll want to be sure to ask when trying to make your final decision. All of this has been broken down into four lists of three… Three things to look for, three conferences to attend, three forums to comb, and three lists of big data interview questions and answers.

3 Things to Look for in a Big Data Candidate

Well-rounded big data candidates need to do more than just demonstrate mastery in the big data and data science field. To be successful, they should have the right type of attitude, outlook, and personality as well. Here are three characteristics to look for among your big data candidates.

  1. Drive – Success in big data and data science takes commitment, drive, and perseverance. Just having the skills may not be enough, candidates also need to be committed and dedicated to achieving results no matter what. One key identifier of (driven?) candidates with drive is self-training. Whether evidenced through online course participation or forum activity, it’s hard to go wrong with professionals who demonstrate the drive to teach themselves what they need to know for success.
  2. Personality – As any good HR Specialist will advise you, it’s important to hire people who are friendly and personable. No one wants to work with an over-competitive, unapproachable jerk; No matter how smart they are. When hiring big data professionals, look for people who love their field so much that they are willing to share and give back on their own time. Forms of “giving back” might include open source contributions, forum participation or data volunteerism for social good.
  3. Skills and Experience – It’s no news that there is an extreme shortage of professionals with experience and skills working in big data and data science. Even where experience may be lacking, if you can find big data candidates with prestigious training credential(s), you might want to give them a second look.

Now that you know what to look for in big data candidates, it’s time to see some of the best places to meet these candidates, and some of the best big data interview questions you’ll want to be sure to ask.

3 Excellent Conferences When Scouting for Hires

Data conferences are an excellent place to meet professionals with the skills and characteristics that you’re seeking. Think about attending any one of these three conferences, in order to network and recruit big data candidates:

  1. Strata + Hadoop World – This conference features the most cutting-edge business applications of big data and data science. No matter where in the world you’re based, Strata + Hadoop World has a conference located (relatively) nearby.
  2. IBM Datapalooza – Although IBM’s Datapalooza event is relatively new, you won’t find a better place to meet ambidextrous data engineers and data scientists to fill your real-time big data analytics requirements.
  3. Hadoop Summit – Last, but not least, there’s the Hadoop Summit. This is the conference to attend if you’re looking to connect with world class, big data developers.

3 Online Forums Where Developers Hangout

Another great place to source talent is from among online forums. At the following websites, you’re certain to see some of the expertise that you’re after.

  1. HackerNews – HackerNews is brimming with Software Engineers and Developers who are all too excited to share what they know. It is a great place to look for experts that are curious about new positions, or to at least get some referrals for solid candidates that may be looking for a new opportunity. Also, go ahead and check out HackerNews’ lists. The people at the top of those lists are ones who really live for software development. Some of them may make excellent candidates for your position.
  2. Quora – Another good place to look for big data professionals is Quora. Go through relevant questions and look for people who are answering and sound like they really know what they are talking about. Once you’ve found these people, you can send them a message through the Quora platform and perhaps begin a conversation about your job opening. If you’re looking to hire a Big Data Developer, then the Big Data Topic will be a good place to start. If you are hiring a Data Scientist check out the Machine Learning Topic.
  3. Kaggle Forum – The Kaggle Forum is another awesome resource if you’re looking to hire a Data Scientist or a Machine Learning Expert.

3 Thought-Provoking Lists of Big Data Interview Questions

After networking at some of these conferences and combing through several of these forums, you’ve surely found some able candidates to interview. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for those interviews. Although you may think you know exactly what to ask your big data candidates, it never hurts to get some outside perspective. The following websites are terrific sources for big data interview questions and answers.

  1. Edureka – Before interviewing a big data professional, look for ideas among these 50 interview questions and answers. They range from general to very specific, so you’re certain to find something that’s relevant to every big data position.
  2. DeZyre – DeZyre online training platform has recently published two impressive sets of interview questions and answers. The first of these is the Top 100 Hadoop Interview Questions and Answers 2016, which features 100 questions that are perfect to ask when you’re interviewing a Big Data Developer. Secondly, there are the Pig Interview Questions and Answers. This set of 25 interview Q&A’s will come in handy if you’re interviewing a Big Data Developer to work with Apache Pig.
  3. Tutorials Point – If you’re interviewing for a Hadoop Developer position, this long list of interview questions and answers should be useful.

Updated: 4/1/2017

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Lillian Pierson

Lillian Pierson

Lillian Pierson, P.E. is a leading expert in the field of big data and data science. She equips working professionals and students with the data skills they need to stay competitive in today’s data driven economy. She is the author of three highly referenced technical books by Wiley & Sons Publishers: Data Science for Dummies (2015), Big Data / Hadoop for Dummies (Dell Special Edition, 2015), and Big Data Automation for Dummies (BMC Special Edition, 2016). Lillian has spent the last decade training and consulting for large technical organizations in the private sector, such as IBM, Dell, and Intel, as well as government organizations, from the U.S. Navy down to the local government level As the Founder of Data-Mania LLC, Lillian offers online and face-to-face training courses as well as workshops, and other educational materials in the area of big data, data science, and data analytics.