Back to Blog

data science roles 2020
Data Science

The Data Science Career Track Technical Skills Survey

2 minute read | July 15, 2019
T.J. DeGroat

Written by:
T.J. DeGroat

The three-step Springboard admissions process is designed to set our students up for success. The technical skills survey is an important step that ensures that each student is a good fit for the course and will achieve the ultimate goal: getting a job in their desired field.

To enroll in the Data Science Career Track, prospective students need to pass a technical skills survey that tests statistics knowledge and programming skills.

The statistics section tests for proficiency at roughly the high school graduate level. You’ll be asked 10 questions and will need to answer seven or more correctly to pass. Topics include: 

  • Probability: classical probability; conditional probability; independence; and Bayes’ Theorem
  • Descriptive statistics: mean, median, mode, standard deviation; probability distributions; uniform, normal (Gaussian) distributions
  • Basic visualizations: histograms, bar charts; scatter plots

Here are a few sample questions:

  1. Your office parking lot has a probability of being occupied by 1/3. You happen to find it unoccupied for nine consecutive days. What are the chances that you find it empty on the 10th day as well?
  2. What is the median for the following set of data? 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
  3. A box contains one of each of the bills: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. If you randomly draw three bills, then what is the probability that the three bills add to $75?

The programming section includes two problems, which can be solved using any programming language (i.e., Python, R, Java, C++). All code will be reviewed by a real human—one of our admissions representatives.

Note that while the skills survey accepts any language, the Data Science Career Track will be Python-based, which is a very popular language among data scientists and machine learning engineers.

You should expect to see questions on the following topics: 

  • Programming concepts: loops (for and while loops); conditionals; if-then-else statements; arithmetic and boolean operators; input/output from files and console; string operations; functions
  • Data structures: lists; hash tables (dictionaries); stacks

Here’s a sample programming problem:

You’re given a sequence of integers on a single line via standard input, each separated by a single space. Print the maximum difference (in absolute value) between any two numbers in the sequence on a single line on standard output.

Get To Know Other Data Science Students

Joy Opsvig

Joy Opsvig

Data Science Apprentice Engineer at LinkedIn

Read Story

Jonathan Orr

Jonathan Orr

Data Scientist at Carlisle & Company

Read Story

Meghan Thomason

Meghan Thomason

Data Scientist at Spin

Read Story


Each number is separated by a single space.

The numbers can be positive, zero, or negative.



The largest absolute difference between any two input numbers is |-7-10| = 17.

This assessment is designed to be completed in one session; it typically takes students between 30 and 90 minutes. 

We’ve found that this is a meaningful barometer of student success in the course of data science. That said, if you find the test difficult or don’t pass, don’t worry! We have great options for you, and the admissions team can advise you on the best next steps at that time.

About T.J. DeGroat

T.J. is a writer and editor waging war against unnecessary capitalization. You can follow him on Twitter @tjdegroat.