Top 20 Machine Learning Interview Questions and Answers

Machine learning, or ML, has emerged as one of the top subdomains of artificial intelligence with a broad range of applications. The popularity of machine learning has also led to spontaneous growth in demand for machine learning interview preparation resources. Companies across different industries have capitalized on the power of machine learning to improve productivity and empower innovation in product and service design.

You might come across different use cases of machine learning in mobile banking, recommendations on your Facebook news feed, and chatbots. Therefore, machine learning is opening up new career opportunities for professionals.  The global machine-learning market could achieve a total market capitalization of over $200 billion by 2029. According to a survey by Deloitte, around 46% of organizations worldwide are preparing for the implementation of AI in the next three years.

The expansion of the global machine learning market also implies that around 63% of companies plan on increasing or maintaining the same spending in AI and ML in 2023. Therefore, candidates seek the top ML interview questions to prepare for emerging job opportunities with the growth of machine learning. The following post offers you a detailed outline of popular machine-learning interview questions alongside the relevant answers.

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Top Interview Questions for Machine Learning Jobs

The demand for machine learning interview questions and answers has been growing consistently as more professionals showcase interest in machine learning jobs. Interview questions and answers could help candidates in overcoming their apprehensions regarding jobs as a machine learning professional. At the same time, preparation for the interview questions could also help candidates in determining the difficulty of questions. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with different machine-learning interview questions according to the difficulty level.

Machine Learning Interview Questions for Beginners

The first set of questions in machine learning job interviews would focus on the general concepts of machine learning. You should prepare for common machine learning interview questions which deal with definition, architecture, advantages, and use cases of machine learning. Here are some of the most common interview questions on machine learning for beginners.

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1. What is Machine Learning?

The most obvious addition among ML interview questions would point to the definition of machine learning. It is a branch of computer science that aims at introducing human intelligence into machines. You can classify a machine as intelligent when it showcases the ability to make its own decisions.

The process for enabling machines to learn involves training machine learning algorithms with training data. The training process helps in creation of a trained machine learning model, which could make predictions on new inputs for generating unknown output. 

2. What are the basic principles of system design in machine learning?

The definition of a machine learning model design involves a detailed step-by-step process for defining hardware and software requirements. You can find unique responses to “What questions are asked in ML interview?” in such questions. The design of machine learning models focuses on four crucial elements such as adaptability, reliability, maintenance, and scalability.

Machine learning models must have the flexibility required to adapt to new changes. The machine learning system design must provide optimal performance in accordance with data distribution changes. The scalability aspect of machine learning model suggests the need for adapting to growth changes, such as an increase in user traffic and data. Machine learning models should also be reliable and offer correct results or showcase errors for unknown input data and computing environments.

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3. How many types of machine learning algorithms can you find?

The four most common types of machine learning algorithms are supervised learning, unsupervised learning, semi-supervised learning, and reinforcement learning. You can boost your machine learning interview preparation by learning the fundamentals of each type of machine learning algorithm.

Supervised machine learning involves the use of labeled training datasets, while unsupervised learning algorithms work on clustering of unlabeled data. Semi-supervised learning utilizes a combination of supervised and unsupervised learning models. Reinforcement learning algorithms rely on training through past experiences and feedback mechanisms. 

4. What is the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become the two most confusing terms in discussions about technology. The difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence is one of the notable entries among top ML interview questions in the early stages of interviews. Even if artificial intelligence and machine learning are used interchangeably, the two terms are different from each other.

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that focuses on emulating human intelligence in computer systems. Machine learning is one of the technologies for training machines to showcase human intelligence. Machine learning is actually a subset of artificial intelligence and focuses on machines learning from data.

5. What are the use cases of artificial intelligence?           

The most common applications of artificial intelligence are also one of the highlights in interview questions for machine learning jobs. You can answer such ML interview questions by pointing out examples like chatbots, facial recognition, personalized virtual assistants, and search engine results. Artificial intelligence uses machine learning algorithms for training on examples of customer interactions to provide better responses. Product recommendations in e-commerce websites are also examples of AI applications.

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6. What is the importance of feature engineering?

Feature engineering is the process of introducing new features in AI systems by leveraging existing features. New features can be developed by exploring the mathematical relationship between certain existing features. In addition, you can also come across situations with clustering of multiple pieces of information in the form of a single data column. Feature engineering can help in leveraging new features for gaining in-depth insights into data, thereby improving performance of the model.

7. How can you avoid overfitting in machine learning?

Overfitting is also one of the noticeable aspects in answers to “What questions are asked in ML interview?” and it is one of the major concerns for machine learning. Overfitting is evident in situations where machine learning models learn the patterns alongside noise in the data.

It could lead to higher performance for the training data, albeit resulting in low performance for unknown data. You can avoid overfitting by using regularization methods for penalizing the weights of the model. You can reduce concerns of overfitting by ensuring early stoppage of the model training.

8. What are the stages for building machine learning models?

The three important stages for building machine learning models include model building, model application, and model testing. Model building refers to the selection of a suitable algorithm and training of the model according to specific requirements of the problem. In the next stage, you have to check the accuracy of the model by using test data and then implement the required changes before deploying the final model.

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9. Do you know anything about ILP?

ILP is an important term in the AI ecosystem. You can expect such machine learning interview questions and answers for testing your practical knowledge of machine learning. ILP, or Inductive Logic Programming, is a subdomain of machine learning which leverages logic programming for searching patterns in data, which can help in building predictive models. The process of ILP workflow involves the use of logic programs as the hypothesis.

10. What is a decision tree in machine learning?

Decision trees are a type of supervised machine-learning approach, which involves continuous splitting of data, according to specific parameters. You can answer these common machine learning interview questions by pointing toward the role of decision trees in developing classification or regression models.

Decision trees can create classification or regression models like a tree structure alongside breaking down datasets into smaller subsets. The two most important additions to a decision tree are decision nodes and leaves. Decision nodes represent the site of data splitting, and the leaves refer to the outcomes.

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Advanced Machine Learning Interview Questions

The responses to “What questions are asked in ML interview?” also include advanced questions which test your practical expertise. Here are some of the notable interview questions on machine learning for aspiring professionals.

11. Do you know about Principal Component Analysis?

Principal Component Analysis, or PCA, is a type of unsupervised machine learning technique for dimensionality reduction. It helps in trading off certain information or data patterns in return for a significant reduction in size. The PCA algorithm also involves preserving the variance of original dataset. Principal Component Analysis can help in performing tasks such as visualizing high-dimensional data and image compression.

12. How is covariance different from correlation?

Covariance and correlation are also two important terms for your machine learning interview preparation journey. Covariance refers to the metric for the degree of difference between two variables. On the other hand, correlation indicates the degree of relation between two variables. Covariance could be of any value, while correlation is either 1 or -1. The metrics of covariance and correlation help in supporting exploratory data analysis for obtaining insights from the data.

13. What is the F1 Score?

The F1 score provides a metric for the performance of machine learning models. You can calculate the F1 score of a machine learning model by using the weighted average of recall and precision of a model. The models which get scores closer to 1 are classified as the best. On the other hand, F1 score can also be applied in classification tests without any concerns for true negatives.

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14. What are recommended systems?

Recommended systems are also one of the common terms you might come across in ML interview questions at advanced stages. It is a sub-directory including information filtering systems and offers predictions regarding rankings or preferences of users. Recommendation systems are a common tool for optimizing content such as social media, music, movies, and news.

15. What is SVM in machine learning?

SVM, or Support Vector Machine, is one of the examples of supervised learning models. Support Vector Machines also feature an associated learning algorithm which can help in analyzing data for regression analysis and classification. The common classification methods used with SVM include a combination of binary classifiers and modifying binary for incorporating multiclass learning.

16. How does a classifier work in machine learning?

The outline of top ML interview questions also includes topics like the working of classifier. Classifier is a discrete-valued function or a hypothesis used for assigning class labels to specific data points. Classifier is a type of system that takes a vector of continuous or discrete feature values as input and delivers the output as a single discrete value.

17. What is precision and recalls in machine learning?

Precision and recall are the two important metrics for determining the effectiveness of information retrieval systems. Precision refers to the share of relevant instances out of the received instances. Recall is the share of relevant instances which have been retrieved from the total relevant instances.   

18. What is the bias and variance trade-off?

The common machine learning interview questions in the advanced stages also focus on trade-off between bias and variance. Bias and variance are errors. Bias happens due to overly simplistic or erroneous assumptions in developing the learning algorithm, which leads to under-fitting. Variance is an error that emerges from complexity in the algorithm and could lead to higher sensitivity.

19. What is model selection?

The model selection process in machine learning involves the selection of machine learning models by leveraging diverse mathematical models. Model selection is applicable in the domains of machine learning, statistics, and data mining.

20. What is bagging and boosting?

Bagging refers to a process in ensemble learning for introducing improvements in unstable estimation alongside classification schemes. Boosting methods can be applied sequentially to reduce the bias for the combined model. 

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The list of ML interview questions showed the type of questions you can come across in interviews for machine learning jobs. Machine learning is an emerging trend in technology that has found applications in different industries and our everyday lives. As machine learning gains mainstream adoption, it will encourage new opportunities for jobs in the domain of technology. Start your journey of training for machine learning jobs with the fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence right now.

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