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  • Building self driving cars
  • Creating ML Products and Tools
  • Breaking into a career in machine learning or data science
  • Making career transitions
  • Resume + Job Reviews
  • 1:1 Coaching
Introduction
  • Alex is a Principal Product Manager at Sambanova Systems. Previously, Alex has held product management roles at C3.ai building out their ML Platform and deep learning offering to enterprise customers. He was also an ML practitioner as the first data science hire at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group working on building large-scale computer vision and sensor fusion algorithms for self-driving cars. Alex is motivated to help raise the next generation of data scientists and product leaders
Experience
  • Uber ATG -- 2015-2020
  • C3 AI -- 2020-2021
  • Sambanova Systems -- 2021 - Present
Education
  • B.A. University of California Berkeley
Fun fact
  • Favorite NBA team is the LA Lakers but first got into basketball when the '07 Warriors upset the #1 seed Mavericks in the playoffs.
Interview

Mock interview with Alex Chao

8 services

A/B testing is a statistical framework that helps validate an idea or a theory through data.

For example, a product manager wants to know if changing the color of a buy button from green to blue can encourage more purchases. As a data scientist, it is your job to work with the product manager and, quite often, the engineering team(can help implement the testing settings) to develop a testing plan.

You need to decide at least how many people will see the different colors of the button (sample size), and how many days will the testing run (usually multiples of a week, 7 days), and where should it be running (the US only, or some other small countries just in case testing group is a failure, you don’t want to have a very negative impact to the revenue).

The key assumption of A/B testing is that the control group and the testing group have to be independent. You will probably be asked several questions around this assumption.

You will also need to understand key concepts such as novelty effectlearning effectA/A testing, Simpson’s paradox, etc.

Sample question

The engineering team just invented a people-you-may-know widget. If it is implemented, a user will see their friends on the right-left corner of their homepage. How do you design an experiment to decide whether we should launch this feature or not?

View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ A/B Testing with Alex Chao for $199

Introduction

Before heading into a real software engineering interview: whether it is a phone screen, or during a final round.

It is crucial you have bug-free code developed in a short period of time.

The best way to achieve a bug-free code is through rigorous mock interviews.

How it works

Our mentors have done hundreds or thousands of real interviews at top tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, they will emulate a real job interview process when your mock interview is conducted.

You will have a conversation that resembles a real interview as closely as possible, in the end, you will also have the opportunity to receive feedback from your mentor.

What you will get

Gain a simulated interview experience to get a feel of how it works.

Get over nervousness after you've done a few mock interview practices.

Valuable feedbacks during and after the mock interview provided by your mentor.

Become confident and get familiar with the interview process.

How it's conducted

You will be asked a series of coding questions (mostly based on data structures and algorithms) customized towards your dream company, please make sure you share the job descriptions with your mentor, so the questions can be customized towards your dream job.

And you will be writing code in a browser where your mentor can see your coding in real-time. 

A link to access the code editor will be provided before or at the beginning of the interview process.

 

Practice makes dream offers! Let's book your Software Engineer Mock Interview today!

Tell your mentor what programming languages you would like to use (e.g., Python, Java, C++) when you book this session.


“I've interviewed hundreds of data scientists and software engineers and have tested them specifically on algorithm design and data structures.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Algorithm | Data Structure with Alex Chao for $199

Behavioral questions or leadership interview questions are probably the most frequently asked questions during a job interview.

However, I've interviewed so many talented data scientist candidates at a FAANG company. Some of them are very smart, did really well answering technical and coding questions, but they still didn't get their dream job offers. Why?

Because they didn't prepare behavioral questions and didn't know how to answer them,  which in the end, cost them their dream jobs!

Trust me, even if you are only interviewing for a technical job, behavioral questions still matter significantly, and you need to be well prepared, don't ever overlook them.

Behavioral questions may sound intimidating, and some of the questions may catch you off guard or even annoy you if you are not seen them before

But if you follow the strategy outlined in this tutorial and keep practicing those 9 types of behavior questions, you will nail them in your job interview.


“Extensive experience doing behavioral interviews and being able to determine whether a candidate is a good fit based off questions asked. A lot of people discount the importance of these interviews!”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Behavioral Questions | Leadership with Alex Chao for $199

 

Machine learning-related roles, including Research Scientist (Amazon, Google), Data Scientist / Algorithm (Facebook), and Machine Learning Engineers, are highly paid. Super fun often involves working with state-of-the-art algorithms.

The hiring process could be highly competitive. Not only will you be asked to be an excellent programmer (easy, medium levels of algorithm questions for sure), but you also need to know machine learning theories and experiences such as model parameter fine-tuning.

You will want to brush up on your machine learning skills if you want to succeed in a data science interview. A good place to start is with Andrew Ng's Coursera Machine Learning course.

You may also be asked topics such as CNN, NLP, reinforcement learning, computer vision, depends on the specific roles.

Deep Learning, The topic of deep learning, is in high demand in the data science world, and it is one of the key things that you want to brush up on if you are interested in pursuing a career in data science. There are a couple of good courses that you can check out, like Stanford's CS231n course.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an area in data science that is in high demand and will only become more so as we move further into the 21st century. NLP allows us to analyze text, whether spoken or written and derive useful information from it. If you want to be a successful data scientist, you want to work with NLP. This is a great area to pursue as a side project.

 

 


“While interviewing with data scientists and researchers, I've asked them extensively how they design machine learning algorithms solving real-world problems”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Machine Learning with Alex Chao for $199

Get Direct Access To Expert Coaches, mentors, and Industry Professionals.

1:1 product manager mock interview with great product leaders who have launched successful products.


“Have made the transition from data science to product management so am very familiar with navigating how to make the career transition and how to interview for the role.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Product Manager with Alex Chao for $199

One of the data scientists’ main responsibilities is to extract insights from data and work with product managers and engineering teams to deliver actionable plans to improve the product. Think about how you would measure the success of different parts of the product. Why do you think the placement of the text box is at that specific location? What can you do to improve it?

The interviewer will try to evaluate your ability to apply data to the real product problem, how you systematically approach and structure the problem, form a hypothesis with reasonable assumptions, design, and test hypotheses through A/B testing, and use data and facts to convince others to adopt your recommended approaches.

Sample questions

  • If revenue dropped in a given week, what metrics would you look at to understand and why?
  • How would you measure the health of our product search functionality?
  • How would you measure the success of Uber Eats' search bar? How can we improve it? If we move the search bar to a different position, what metrics can we use to evaluate their performance? How would you convince the product manger to move forward with your design of the experiment?
     


“As a PM, I've had to assess candidates on their ability to turn customer pain points into real product ideas and features. Would be able to test that in a mock interview”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Product Sense with Alex Chao for $199

SQL is a must-have skill for any data related roles. Including data scientists, data analysts, data engineers, or even software developers, very often your future employee will verify your ability to process and manage data.

As the #1 language in the industry for data management, SQL skills are probably one of the most important to master before starting an interview process. 

The SQL interview can bear other names and may be called  Technical Analysis or Data Interview during a FAANG company interview, you might be asked to perform a series of SQL operations to extract data and insights, and answer follow-up questions about their products.

How it works

 

Before your 'real' interview, it will be super useful to do some mock interviews with an experienced mentor to get you ready.

Our mentors have done hundreds or thousands of real interviews, they will try to emulate a real job interview process.

You will have a conversation that resembles a real interview as closely as possible, at the end, you will also have the opportunity to receive feedback from your mentor.

 

What you will get

Gain a simulated interview experience to get a feel of how it works.

Get over nervousness after you've done a few mock interview practices.

Valuable feedbacks during and after the mock interview provided by your mentor.

Become confident and get familiar with the interview process.

 

How it's conducted

You will be asked to a series of SQL questions customized towards your dream company, please make sure you share the job descriptions with your mentor, so the questions can be customized towards your dream job.

And you will be writing SQL queries in a browser where your mentor will be able to see your coding in real-time. 

A link to access the SQL code editor will be provided before or at the beginning of the interview process.

 

Practice makes dream offers! Let's book your SQL Mock Interview today!

Tell us what programming languages you would prefer to use when you book this session.


“Have written thousands of SQL queries over my career and know the best practices and the tricks that interviewers ask to test SQL knowledge”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ SQL with Alex Chao for $199

System design questions are commonly asked during software engineer and data engineer interviews.

When interviewing at top technology companies, very often you will demonstrate your skills and abilities to convert a prototype into a large-scale, internet application.

System design takes many years of real work experience to be really good at it, and to a large degree, your performance in system design can determine your 'seniority' or 'levels' for your overall offer package.


“Very familiar with design of Machine Learning systems. If you want to practice discussing this, sign up!”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ System Design with Alex Chao for $199

Career services by Alex Chao

6 services

Career planning is the most important thing to do for your career.

Whether you are looking to switch to a different career track, e.g., data scientist => product manager.

Or simply want to gain more visibility inside of your company, moving up the career ladder, you need an experienced mentor who had been there and done that.

Get practical advice on job search, career growth, pros n cons of different career paths to make the best decision.


“Session tailored towards new grads or people at the beginning of their careers. Focuses are on how to set you up for success, which career paths to go on, and how I can help you advance in your workplace faster and more strategically.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Career advice with Alex Chao for $199

Data challenges or sometimes called take-home challenges are often sent to a candidate in the initial screening.

You are usually given a few tables with, generally speaking, open questions to demo your skills in the following area:

1. Basic data processing in R/Python or sometimes even SQL

Are you able to transform data before feeding them into a machine learning model?

For example: converting categorical variables into numerical columns; Handle missing values, what to do if there are missing values in specific columns. 

Spot obvious data errors based on logic or intuition, never assume the data is correct, fix it before use it.


2. Code quality

No one wants to review your code if you are hired and checked in poor quality code; 

Don't use crazy lambda functions combined with map-reduce and map to make yourself look smart. Instead, use long variable names that are meaningful, easier to understand.


3. Business and product sense 

Are you able to understand the business context? Do your conclusion and insights make business sense?


4. Clear communication

What is your conclusion, can everyone understand what you try to convey, and what do you recommend for the next steps.

You will often be asked to give a talk during the final round of interviews and answer the hiring team's questions.


5. Machine learning modeling skills

Can you build a classification model and evaluate its performance, what feature engineering steps worked the best, what are the metrics you used, did you run cross-validation to get an unbiased estimate of those metrics, etc.


6. Data visualization

One image is worth a thousand words, especially when you are constantly in meetings with non-technical people. Can you create an informative chart or graph to represent the data? Are you good with ggplot or seaborn?


Our mentors have conducted hundreds of take-home data challenges. Feel free to hire one and get 100% data challenge ready.


“UBER ATG's first data scientist, with many years of experience in data science and machine learning.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Data Challenge with Alex Chao for $299

If you can't find exactly the service you are looking for: you can spend an hour with a mentor and asked their questions. 

How did you get where you are today?

Should I quit my job today?

Which area in machine learning should I be focused on? Image processing or natural language processing?

How to build a modern machine learning engineering team from scratch?

Anything you think our mentors can help you.


“Single session to go over business strategy, product market fit, landing customers, and anything you may want to talk about regarding your business”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ General consulting with Alex Chao for $199

If you are wondering if machine learning can help with your business use case, or wanted to utilize machine learning but not quite sure where to get started? Or wanted to switch to a machine learning career.

Why not spend some time and validate your idea from the world-class ML expert on instamentor.com?


“Single session to go over any data science problem or use case you may have. I have expertise in Computer Vision, Natural Language, Time Series, and the entire ML lifecycle. Can be a live coding session or a deeper dive into a particular approach”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Machine Learning Consulting with Alex Chao for $199

The first impression matters a lot during your job search, and your resume delivers the first impression!

An HR person on average spends 10–15 seconds to go through your resume before he/she makes a decision. You want to make sure your resume looks and feels great and elegant.

Have an experienced mentor to analyze your resume and provide you valuable feedback.

When your resume is improved, you will get more job interviews, and more opportunities to land a dream job.

How it works

1. After you book a resume feedback session through Calendly, send the mentor a copy of your most recent resume;

2. The mentor will review your resume and save some notes on areas to be improved, and make some edits if necessary;

3. During the zoom call, the mentor will share their notes and suggestions, and share some tips and techniques that can help your resume catch a recruiter or a hiring manager’s eye;

4. After the meeting, you will rewrite your resume and send it back to the mentor;

5. The mentor will email back the final feedback and make necessary edits.


“Tangible feedback on what works and doesn't work on your resume. Having reviewed thousands of resumes over my career, I know what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Resume feedback with Alex Chao for $149

Congratulations, you nailed your interview and received a job offer. Now what?

According to a report by salary.com, close to 50% of job applicants did not negotiate before they took their job offers.

Not negotiating leaves a significant amount of potential income on the table, which could be as high as one-two months of your base salary, can you imagine that?

And the #1 reasons for why not negotiating an offer is:

FEAR!

 

1. Afraid of losing the job offer

Which in reality, unless you messed up the negotiation, your future employer was expecting you to negotiate.

2. It is outside of your comfort zone

Many of us work on engineering or data-related roles, and if you are an introvert, it's tough for you even to start the conversation.

3. Information assymetry

You don't know how many offers they made to other candidates, the expected range of salaries for this role, etc.

 

But fear no more, because you will get help from an experienced mentor with

✅ A clear salary negotiation strategy.

We know industry standards have a deep understanding of the hiring process. We will first analyze your situations at this moment and help you better understand your leverage, strength, and weaknesses.

✅ Salary negotiation chat preparation

Jump on a call in a simulated salary negotiation process, rehearse salary negotiation with a hiring manager (kind of like a mock interview).

✅ Customized email scripts you can borrow 

Salary negotiation is a skill that takes years to be good at, and we have mentors who have been on both sides, years of hiring and interviewing experiences.

We will send you customized email scripts so you can easily respond in different situations.


“You've landed an offer! Congrats! Now you want to make sure that you are fairly compensated. I can help you navigate how to successfully make sure you walk away with a total compensation package you can be happy with.”


View Alex Chao's Calender and schedule a 1:1 meeting after your payment, securely processed by Stripe, fully refundable if canceled 24 hours before the meeting.

⏰ Salary Negotiation with Alex Chao for $199