Student Spotlight: New Grad's Soaring Success at SoFi

Student Spotlight: New Grad's Soaring Success at SoFi

At Interview Query, we love to hear from those who’ve successfully landed jobs in the data science field. To help the rest of our community, we’re sharing their career path stories and approach to interview preparation.

This week we caught up with Pragya Verma, who joined SoFi after completing her MSDS at the University of Washington - Seattle in May of 2023. We discussed their interview preparation, navigating the market as a new graduate, and ways to leverage the tools already at your disposal.

How did you become interested in data science and decide to apply to a MSDS?

My Bachelor’s was in Computer Engineering, which I completed in India. The degree focused on both computer software and hardware knowledge.  

I was introduced to data science during my sophomore year of undergraduate studies, and the field really intrigued me. This would have been 2017. At that time data science was very new and had a lot of potential. By the time I finished my CE degree I knew my way around compiler programming and low-level code in computers.

From that point on it was in my head to go deeper into the field, and COVID accelerated that process. With my graduation delayed because of COVID, I decided to apply to the UW MSDS program.

What did you do to prepare for your interviews?

I leveraged Interview Query quite a bit. The IQ learning paths helped the most because there are so many titles for data-related roles out there. As an example, you can find tons of listings for Data Analysts, Data Scientists, Data Engineering, and Business Intelligence Engineering roles. 

With the exception of the BI engineering role, Interview Query always had the learning paths I needed. The paths are very specialized, and I could be confident that the SQL lessons for engineering would be just as specifically relevant as the SQL lessons for data analysts.

For interviews, I especially liked the case study YouTube videos. They helped me gain information based on different contexts and proved very useful.

The one role I didn’t find in IQ was for BI Engineering, as there wasn’t a pre-made learning path. However, because of the amount of content on the IQ platform, I was able to focus on data engineering modules as well as analysis modules and create my own learning path!

What challenges did you face when interviewing as a new graduate?

On several occasions I got to the final round of interviews with a company, but couldn’t close the deal. The initial rounds were technical and very similar to what I prepared for on at Interview Query. Same with the behavioral rounds. But when they would go down their checklist in the final interview they would see that I didn’t have two to three years experience, and would decide to turn me down.  

This job at SoFi is a new grad role. After I nailed the technical and behavioral rounds, they didn’t expect me to have the multiple years of experience, and so I was finally able to land the job. I would advise looking specifically for these kind of new grad listings.

What was your interview experience at SoFi?

There were a total of six rounds:

  1. Recruiter Call - Review of my resume to see if I had the right skillset.
  2. Hiring Manager Call - Review if I was a strong upfront fit for the role/company.
  3. Python Technical Rounds
  4. SQL Technical Round
  5. Problem-Solving Behavioral Round - As a new grad they know that I don’t have domain specific knowledge of the credit lending industry. I don’t know the specific problems they are facing. So instead, they ask how I approach finding a solution for the problem that the team is trying to solve, irrespective of the specific issue at hand.
  6. Collaboration Behavioral Round - This round focused on team collaboration, since this is a company value that SoFi really pushes for.

Check out our curated SoFi interview guides and technical questions for different roles!

What does your new role at SoFi entail?

It is an analytics engineering role, and therefore I have to do a lot of engineering tasks like creating pipelines and data warehouses. A lot of SQL skills are also required. Apart from these major projects, I have to create dashboards for internal and external stakeholders. No matter the task, I am leveraging both my engineering and analysis backgrounds.

Any tips for those still looking for a job in data science?

I regret not tackling the huge question bank that Interview Query has put together. At the start of my job search I had lots of time on my hands, and I could have done both the learning paths and the questions. I specifically struggled with concepts like pandas and NumPy during interviews, and could have used the bank to get stronger on those. Get started when you have the time, not when it’s suddenly a few days to the interview!

If you are a current or recent master’s student, or work at a university and are trying to find tools to help your students succeed, check out our University Resource Page!

For more guides and questions for SoFi, check out our interview guides and technical questions, for the different roles they have hired for in the past!