Top 15 Spotify Data Science Interview Questions

Top 15 Spotify Data Science Interview QuestionsTop 15 Spotify Data Science Interview Questions


Spotify is a global leader in the audio-streaming industry, adept at scaling quickly and achieving rapid growth in users and business. Spotify passed half a billion monthly users in 2023 and are actively working to amplify productivity, quality, and innovation across the organization.

Across all teams, Spotify places a strong emphasis on empowered, data-informed product development. To achieve this, they carry out regular and comprehensive exploratory analyses to better understand their users’ needs, as well as determine how they can deliver greater value through their product offerings. As such, Spotify assesses its job candidates in various technical fields such as databases, algorithms, machine learning, and analytics. Here’s how Spotify conducts their data science interviews.

Spotify Interview Process

Spotify’s interview process is geared towards evaluating a candidate’s skills, experiences, and fit for the role. Here is a breakdown of the process based on various sources:

  1. Preliminary Screening: The first step is a phone or video interview with a recruiter, where general questions about the candidate’s background, relevant experience, and the role being applied to are discussed.
  2. Technical Assessment: This can take various forms, but typically involves a technical test or take-home assignment. Either evaluates the candidate’s problem-solving abilities and proficiency in relevant technologies. For software engineering positions, for example, there might be a coding challenge.
  3. On-site Interview: Candidates who pass the previous stages are invited for on-site interviews, which usually include panel interviews of representatives from various departments, and technical interviews focusing on the applicant’s technical knowledge and capabilities. During this stage, candidates might also be required to complete a coding or technical task to demonstrate their ability to solve problems. In some instances, a presentation or a case study might be part of this round.
  4. Additional Stages: According to a breakdown from Glassdoor, other elements companies deploy include One-on-One Interviews, Group Panel Interviews, Skills Tests, a Background Check, an IQ Intelligence Test, and possibly a Drug or Personality Test. However, these additional evaluations are not standardized for all positions.
  5. Offer and Team Matching: After a successful series of interviews, the hiring manager decides whether to move forward with the candidate. If chosen, candidates are extended an offer and are invited to join the team.

This process is routinely described as quite rigorous and is designed to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s suitability for the role at Spotify.

Spotify Databases Interview Questions

Preparing for a role at Spotify, especially in a capacity that involves database management and operations, means anticipating a range of questions that test your technical competence and problem-solving skills.

Here, we delve into three questions that mirror real-world scenarios you might encounter on the job. These questions aim to evaluate your understanding of database operations, data retrieval, and system design, all crucial for ensuring seamless user experiences and efficient data management at Spotify.

1. How would you design a database for Spotify?

Let’s say you work at Spotify. We want to design a relational database for storing metadata about songs. We want to include metadata like song title, song length, the date the song was added to the platform, artist, album, track number (on the album), the song’s release year, and its genre.

How would you go about designing this database?

2. Write a query to find the earliest date each user played their third unique song.

Given a table of song_plays and a table of users, write a query to extract the earliest date each user played their third unique song. If a user has listened to less than three unique songs, display their name but with a NULL date and song name.

3. Design a search engine for podcasts with transcript and metadata.

Design a podcast search engine that can search through podcast transcripts and metadata.

To further enhance your knowledge in Databases, consider exploring the SQL learning path and practicing with the database-related questions in our database.

Spotify Coding and Algorithms Interview Questions

Spotify, being at the frontier of the digital music industry, necessitates from its candidates a strong foundation in coding and algorithms for many roles. The questions listed below reflect issues that might arise during Spotify’s day-to-day operations or in the process of developing new features.

Mastery in solving such problems not only demonstrates your technical prowess but also your ability to contribute to Spotify’s ongoing mission to provide seamless and personalized music streaming experiences.

4. Write a function to return a list of all prime numbers up to a given integer N.

You are given an integer N. Your task is to write a function that returns a list of all prime numbers up to N. If there are no prime numbers less than or equal to N, return an empty list.

5. Write a SQL query to extract the earliest date each user played their third unique song.

You have a song_plays table with songplay details and a users table with user information. Write a query to find the earliest date each user played their third unique song. If a user has listened to less than three unique songs, display their name but with a NULL date and song name.

6. Write a string parser that verifies the integrity of the parenthesis used in a list of strings.

Given a list of strings, your task is to write a string parser that checks if the opening and closing characters or tags match in each string. The parser should return a list of booleans, stating whether each string’s integrity was verified.

For practicing Coding and Algorithms, consider using the Python learning path or the full list of Algorithms questions in our database.

Spotify Machine Learning Interview Questions

Machine learning is at the heart of Spotify’s personalized user experience, from recommendation systems to search functionalities. The questions here highlight common challenges faced in deploying machine learning solutions in a real-world, large-scale environment like Spotify.

Your responses will be instrumental in demonstrating your readiness to contribute to Spotify’s machine-learning projects, ensuring that the platform continues to evolve and cater to the diverse musical tastes of its global user base.

7. How would you design a podcast search engine using transcript and metadata?

Consider the task of designing a search engine for podcasts. This engine should utilize both the transcript of the podcast and any associated metadata. Explain your approach.

8. How would you develop a machine learning system for Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist?

Imagine you are tasked with building a machine learning system to generate Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist. Describe your approach and the steps you would take.

9. When and why would you bootstrap a dataset, and what are the pros and cons?

Discuss the concept of “bootstrapping” a dataset. Provide an example of when it would be appropriate to bootstrap smaller samples from a larger dataset and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this method.

To get ready for machine learning interview questions, we recommend taking the machine learning course.

Spotify Analytics and Experiments Interview Questions

Spotify’s dynamic structure demands a rigorous understanding and application of analytics and experimental methods to drive informed decisions and innovative solutions. These questions are designed to gauge your analytical thinking, your ability to derive actionable insights from data, and your aptitude for designing, conducting, and interpreting experiments in a complex digital ecosystem.

Spotify will look to see how you can be additive to their data-driven culture, promoting continuous learning and improvement.

10. Why might the average number of comments per user be decreasing despite user growth, and what metrics should be investigated?

You work for a social media company that has recently launched in a new city. From January to March, there has been a steady increase in new users, but the average number of comments per user has been slowly decreasing. What could be causing this trend, and what metrics would you examine to understand it better?

11. How would you assess the success of a web banner ad strategy for an online media company?

The company is considering monetizing its web traffic by inserting web banners into its reading content. How would you measure the effectiveness of this strategy?

12. How would you evaluate the impact of entering the podcast space on a subscription-based media company’s customer lifetime value?

The company is contemplating expanding into the podcast market. How would you measure the potential impact on customer lifetime value?

For practicing Analytics and Experiments, consider using the product metrics learning path and the data analytics learning path. These resources will help you understand and solve complex problems related to product metrics and data analytics.

Spotify Interview Questions

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Spotify Salaries by Position

Research Scientist
Median: $175K
Mean (Average): $212K
Data points: 5
Product Manager
Median: $185K
Mean (Average): $182K
Data points: 43
Machine Learning Engineer
Median: $170K
Mean (Average): $178K
Data points: 47
Software Engineer
Median: $165K
Mean (Average): $159K
Data points: 135
Data Engineer
Median: $154K
Mean (Average): $151K
Data points: 58
Data Scientist
Median: $144K
Mean (Average): $143K
Data points: 90
Business Analyst*
Business Analyst
Median: $105K
Mean (Average): $105K
Data points: 1
Data Analyst
Median: $100K
Mean (Average): $103K
Data points: 4
Product Analyst*
Product Analyst
Median: $103K
Mean (Average): $103K
Data points: 2
Growth Marketing Analyst*
Growth Marketing Analyst
Median: $75K
Mean (Average): $75K
Data points: 1

Most data science positions fall under different position titles depending on the actual role.

From the graph we can see that on average the Research Scientist role pays the most with a $211,600 base salary while the Growth Marketing Analyst role on average pays the least with a $75,000 base salary.