How I cracked my Data Science Interview with Harjeet Kaur | INSAID Success Story

Harjeet Kaur

INSAID is proud to mentor students who show exceptional qualities to become World-Class Data Leaders. We’re a part of their journey, overcoming hurdles and celebrating their achievements to ensure they achieve their highest career heights.

Today, we share the successful journey of Harjeet Kaur, enrolled in our flagship program of Global Certificate of Data Science with our readers to help them navigate through their career trajectories and get motivated by Harjeet’s story.

Harjeet Kaur

Malvika: Before we start, could you talk to me about your professional journey?

Harjeet: I have 11+ years of experience in the Automation and software testing domain. I started my career in the Testing domain from Wipro Technologies in Bangalore.

I’ve majorly worked with telecom domain, the testing of core network protocols and then I got an opportunity in a company called Amdocs for the same domain.

Post that, I joined Aricent Technologies. I worked for testing of 4G network products, LTE space for telecom giant clients and automation of regression cycles using shell scripts, python and TCL.

Later, I joined Aristocrat Technologies in a purely automation based project and currently working as a Senior Technical Lead.  It is one of the largest gambling machine manufacturers in the world and deals with slot machines, development of casino games and digital online games.

I spent almost 5 years with Aristocrat after I started back from a family break.

Malvika: What were your goals/expectations from INSAID when you joined? 

Harjeet: At Aristocrat, we were a part of the Central Automation team responsible for designing automation framework solutions for helping our manual QA teams in their regression cycles.

We were mainly working with primitive automation tools and languages and did not get substantial exposure to cutting-edge technologies in the market like Cloud Computing, Devops, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning.

Then, I participated in a corporate level innovation program in my company called “ThinkBIGGER” where people ideate on how to improve the product line and bring innovation to the existing products.

My idea got selected in the Top 3 out of total 271 ideas. It was a big achievement for me
and I got a lot of good exposure and recognition at the management & corporate level 
while developing the POC of the project.

The idea was related to increasing the player’s game engagement by collecting the gameplay data from various machines at the central system and applying some data analytics to generate insights which may help players to spend more playing time on
slot machines and lead to more revenue.

That was the first time I gravitated towards the Data Science and analytics field and wanted to join a course that could open avenues for me in the world of Data Science. There is a lot of free content available on the internet and so it’s easy to get lost but I found my way to 
INSAID’s webinar via social media and eventually a very streamlined GCD course structure at INSAID which helps a newbie to take its first steps into the Data Science domain.

Malvika: Evaluate the current job landscape. What kind of roles were you looking for? 

Harjeet: Data Science is growing so fast; data is definitely the new fuel to the world.

You must have observed in this current time, during the Corona Pandemic, all the companies are allowing work from home or remote working which is all about data exchange.

So there are a lot of opportunities in data analytics, if I speak from a personal perspective, I have 10+ years of experience in my case, and domain knowledge becomes very crucial at this juncture, as in the company hiring me will expect me to have a working knowledge of the domain that I worked for.

Malvika: What challenges did you face when you started out with the job hunt? 

Harjeet: I worked in the Automation and Telecom domain for a while and I really needed
to know about what is happening in the Data Science domain through blogs, websites,
news and other media.

I follow blogs like Medium, KDNuggets, TowardsDataScience, Kaggle, DS groups on Telegram and Facebook.

You have to increase knowledge about the latest advancements and developments in the
Data Science space. INSAID Industry talks and Fireside chat sessions really help in
pacing with Data Science domain.

I am from a programming background, so the technical portions weren’t that hard for me but yes, the logic behind your applied mathematics should be really clear. You should be very thorough and articulate with explaining the math behind your approach.

You should also know how to describe your data; that is very important. Suppose you have a visualization in front of you, nowadays a lot of innovative graphics visualizations are up and coming, but if you cannot interpret and explain that, then those fancy visualizations are useless; so, describing the data is of paramount importance.

Malvika: Can you describe the hiring/interview process of your upcoming position in detail? 

Harjeet: I first appeared for a telephonic round. In the first round they focused on my current project and what kind of roles and responsibilities I held in my current position.

Following that, I had four rounds of technical interviews based on my past experience, the technologies I’ve worked on, the programming languages and algo logic that I worked upon in my experience; actually the project in my new role is aligned to Python. 

So, they asked me some programming problems in Python and also to develop a small algo/logic for that. Basically, they wanted to assess my approach towards solving a problem.

Apart from that, they asked me how much I knew about cloud computing, data analytics based on Python, automation, debugging skills and Cybersecurity.

After four technical rounds, I had a managerial round where the Director of the company asked me questions around my aspirations in the upcoming 5 years, whether I was more comfortable in individual roles or people-oriented roles.

Altogether, it took two weeks. The five rounds followed by HR discussion were split into two weeks with some breaks in between.

Malvika: How do you think INSAID helped you in being prepared for such career opportunities beyond the regular coursework?

Harjeet: INSAID did help me a lot to answer interview questions.

I learned Python from the INSAID GCD course and got answers to a lot of commonly asked interview questions from here.

INSAID helped me form a broad view of problem solving which I then applied to solve specific domain-based problems using my own experience.

I learnt the basic structure of solutions at INSAID and used that to solve many problems that were asked of me. I can relate the example shared in Industry Talks and FireSide chat sessions.

Malvika: The current times are hard given the global pandemic we are facing. Did that discourage/hurdle your process in any way? What are your learnings/advice based on this? 

Harjeet: This is a very difficult time right now and it was a difficult decision for me indeed to resign from my current company after spending 5 years with them.

That said, you do have a lot of time available for yourself. Utilize this time to build your knowledge and skills into these domains which are currently very niche in the market. 

From my interview experience, I can say that they are not very much into how I’m writing a program, but more interested in my approach to solving a problem and thinking of a broader solution covering every aspect of it, being the security perspective or the performance.

So, for friends with more than 10 years of experience, my advice is to focus more on the domain you’ve worked for in your career, because the interviewer will expect you to know the in and out of your domain as a whole and what are the recent developments in that area. 

You should understand the problem and model solutions for it without worrying much about the implementation part, how the exact commands would be written, the syntactic part, but focus on knowing the solution to the problem for sure. If we take the example of the current pandemic, everybody wants the best solution to curb the current situation, there are multiple ways and people are available to implement that, but the value of the solution provider will be more than that of implementer. 

There were some situation-based questions also. Supposedly, we want to generate a load of two lakhs customers hitting this website, how will you generate that load? How do you test the performance of the system? In these types of questions there can be multiple answers, but they are more interested in the small steps you take keeping all aspects in the mind to
reach a final solution. Your domain knowledge plays an important role here.

In this time, you can practice a lot! Lots of hands-on because practical knowledge is much more important than only theoretical knowledge.

Malvika: Can you talk to me about what your new job entails and how is it a jump from your previous role/roles?

Harjeet: In my current projects, I have been developing automation solutions for my in-house customers. The first opportunity in my new role, will be creating a solution for the end customers.

In this organisation they worked for providing solutions in the domain of digital Identity & security, Civil aerospace, Defense and Security, Ground transportation using technologies like Cybersecurity, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cloud

So, it gives you a sense of satisfaction level to develop solutions that are being directly used by end customers.

Secondly, Cybersecurity is a highly preferred domain right now. Most of the businesses have gone virtual now because of the need of an hour. So now, cybersecurity has become a very crucial component of planning and designing any business infrastructure.

I was looking through a report yesterday which claimed that by 2027, this domain can potentially grow up to $300 billion. So, I’m very excited to venture into this domain.

Also, I am excited to work on Python based solutions which becomes a mandatory skill in all jobs nowadays and will get exposure to Data Analytics, Cloud computing, Machine Learning.

My new company has their own R&D sector and in the last 5 years, they have spent around 1 billion Euros in only AI & ML. So, there is a lot of focus on AI & ML solutions and enhancing the user experience.

So, I’m hoping that I get good exposure to data analytics and ML in this company. I’m also very excited to apply whatever knowledge I have gained at INSAID on actual customer data!

Malvika: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years wrt to the Data Science domain?

Harjeet: I feel like I’ve just started; for me it’s like a silver lining in a black cloud! 

I’m hoping for the best that my new company will give me a lot of exposure in the Data Science domain and Analytics, Machine Learning and AI.

If I can continuously work in this domain and evolve, probably in the next 5 years, I can see myself as a Data Scientist working for my customers to provide them with Data Science solutions for every business problem.

Malvika: Thank you for your time, Harjeet. We wish you all the best for your new role. We hope you succeed beyond measure in your new responsibilities!


This was our conversation with GCD student, Harjeet Kaur, who cracked an important Data Science interview during the most uncertain times. If you know any more INSAID success stories and would like to share them, please write to

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