February 3, 2023

What It’s Like To Work as a Data Engineer at phData

By Izzy OKonek

Interviewing can often be an anxiety-ridden roller coaster filled with poor communication, unnecessary stress, and plenty of what-ifs. A big part of this paradox is the fear of the unknown.

How many interviews will it take before I’m hired? When does the topic of compensation come up? What is the interview process like? Is it hard?

At phData, our genuine goal is to make the interview process pleasant and stress-free for every applicant, regardless of role. In this blog, we’re going to try our best to remove as much of the uncertainty as possible by walking through the interview process here at phData for Data Engineers.

Whether you’re officially job hunting or just curious about what it’s like to interview and work at phData as a Data Engineer, this is the blog for you!

I’m Interviewing as a Data Engineer at phData, What’s the Interview Process Like?

So you’re curious about working at phData. Perhaps you’ve even heard about us from our many awards (humble brag coming in 5…4…3…2…1..) like the 2022 Snowflake Partner of the Year or the 2022 Best Places to Work. 

Regardless of how you found us, we’re so glad you’re here! In this section, we’ll break down exactly what you can expect from your first interview to a typical day in your life as a Data Engineer at phData.

Interview 1: Introductions

For the first interview, you’ll most likely have a call with Tracey or Nicole. They’ll give you an honest look at the culture of phData, our history, and a general overview of your role followed by a casual discussion of your experience.

Next, they’ll explore your career goals, availability to start, what’s important to you professionally, and why you’re looking for a new opportunity.

The key here is to determine if phData is going to be the perfect fit for you long-term. Lastly, the topic of compensation is discussed in this initial interview.

After the interview concludes, the recruiting team will follow up with a technical challenge.

Length of Interview: 30 – 45 minutes

Technical Challenge

Since our work with clients is complex, this technical challenge helps Data Engineers understand the type of enterprise-level projects you’ll work on here at phData as well as help us to get a better understanding of your analytical, problem solving and presentation skills. 

This is a great chance to showcase your skills! The reason we have all our engineering candidates perform a technical challenge is to help you prepare for your technical interview (the next stop in the interview process). Secretly, our Data Engineers tell us they love to showcase their technical skills, too.

What Should I Expect with this Technical Challenge/Exercise

You’ll be given three tasks. The first task is a chance to use Java, Scala, or Python to code a solution based on instructions. The second task requires you to code another solution using SQL. You’re given tables and are expected to query a response.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be proficient in these skills coming in the door, what we’re looking for are folks who are curious, have the grit to jump into a challenge, and ultimately, can problem solve. Our Data Engineers are some of our best problem solvers and this technical challenge plops you right into the seat of what it would be like to work as a Data Engineer at phData.

Is the Technical Challenge Hard?

It would feel a little silly to comment on this considering that we created the test so we thought it would be more authentic and realistic to ask two recent(ish) phData Data Engineers for their thoughts about the challenge.

“When I first learned about the Codility test, I was a little nervous, since it was a test and all! However, I enjoyed it when I started. I was able to approach the problems in any way I liked, and I had the flexibility to use languages and techniques I was comfortable with. I believe that my Codility results allowed phData to get a better idea of my skills and abilities, and it made the actual interview better because a lot of the discussion was around my answers. It was a great way to showcase how I tackle real-world problems.”

Zach Golden - Sr. Data Engineer
Tony Urbanelli - Sr. Data Engineer

“During my Codility interview, I was given a Python, SQL, and AWS problems to solve. The AWS portion was multiple choice and the Python and SQL portions were coding challenges in codility’s IDE. Coding was seamless in their IDE. I found that the Python exercise did a good job of displaying how I solved challenges with programming (less of an emphasis on the language and more emphasis on problem-solving), the SQL challenge tested my ability to write performant and readable queries, and AWS tested my familiarity with AWS Cloud services. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and a good way to demonstrate and test my skills”.

Length of Challenge: 2-3 hours 

Interview 2: Technical Interview

Once you’ve completed your challenge, it’s automatically submitted to our team and reviewed promptly by a group of phData Data Engineers. While they’re reviewing your code techniques, the recruiting team will schedule a 1-hour interview for you to review your solutions in a collaborative session with a team of peers.

This interview is essentially your main interview with phData.

Once your challenge is complete, you will present your solution in a collaborative session to a team of peers. This interactive process allows you to showcase your skills, chat with the team, make a splash, ask questions, and get the most out of your interview.

Length of Interview: 1 hour

Interview 3: Final Interview

You’re almost there! After the main interview concludes, our recruiting team will reach out to schedule a final, 30-minute interview with our leadership team. This interview is very conversational. It’s more of a final check to ensure the work you’d be doing at phData aligns with your passions and career path.

Length of Interview: 30 minutes


We can go as quickly or as slowly as you like. On the fast track, this entire interview process can take just a week. We can often turn an interview around in 48 hours. The biggest barrier is the code technical challenge. If you’re motivated and eager to start, we can move fast but also respect you if you need more time.

Any Tips for the Interview Process?

The best piece of advice we can give is to simply be your authentic self. Well, that, and to show up of course 🙂 We also recommend asking questions and being transparent.

11 Reasons Why Data Engineers Love Working at phData

As a Data Engineer at phData, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and specialize in some of the highest-valued technology skills available. Working at phData means you’ll have a chance to learn new technologies through certifications/boot camps and then apply those skills in a wide variety of customer projects. 

Also, it should be noted that we literally pay you a bonus to learn new technologies!


Listed below are 11 reasons why our Data Engineers love working at phData. Also, feel free to reach out at any time to our recruiting team by connecting on LinkedIn for more information on any of the reasons covered below, we love talking about them 🙂

  1. Paid technology certifications (AWS, Azure, Snowflake, etc.)
  2. Four weeks of PTO is highly encouraged to use 
  3. Meaningful work on a variety of projects across different industries
  4. Remote-first with the option to come into a physical office
  5. New employee Bootcamp
  6. Bonuses for writing blogs and other thought leadership content
  7. Bench Time to invest in your skills 
  8. Many fast-track opportunities to grow your career (promotion within)
  9. Learn and collaborate with the best engineers in the industry 
  10. Strong core values 
  11. The. Best. Swag. 

What’s the Experience like working as a Data Engineer at phData?

Realistically, no two days are the same for any of our Data Engineers. To highlight this and give you a small taste of what you can expect, we thought it would be beneficial to share some experiences from Data Engineers who work at phData.

“It’s been a fantastic experience. Working for a year within a company full of Data Engineers has taught me more than the rest of my career combined. There’s a breadth of knowledge here that allows me to get a question answered by co-workers in minutes. The team is so helpful they almost climb over each other to answer it first. The projects I’ve been on have been challenging and also encourage me to learn and use the latest technologies.”

Justin Delisi, Sr. Data Engineer
Justin Delisi, Sr. Data Engineer

What’s Next?

If you’d like to learn more about working at phData, we highly recommend you check out our career page. This section of our website has all our core values, links to our job boards, employee stories, and much more!

If you’re ready to apply, we’d love to connect!

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