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I keep failing my ML/Data Science interviews and I dont know why

Junior Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Junior Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community

In the last month I had 5 companies I interviewed for. I made it to on-site for 2 companies and got rejected after first round for 3 interviews and i'm feeling so lost on how to get better or what I'm doing wrong

  1. a series A YC startup: they ghosted me after a first round which was a HM convo about my past experience. Didn't even send an email even after follow up

  2. Wayfair associate level role (asking for 1-2 YoE): passed OA. idk what happened i thought it went well but I got rejected after first round. It was a "case interview" for data science. Dont want to leak the exam on public forum but it was something along the lines of they said u have X data, what would you use it for? How to train a model on it? and a lot of follow up questions.

    I took a mock interview for a system design from and got passed at the mid level so im not sure why i got rejected here.

  3. a series B startup: passed OA/takehome. failed on site - 4x rounds (SQL, pandas, coding/pair programming, ML theory) I thought I did fine on everything except the SQL which honestly is not my storng suit. I did ok ok on it. I kinda fumbled on 1 question out of 6 questions of the ML theory round where they asked me a stats question (find sample size needed for calculating significance of an A/B test). But I think I did well on the pandas round and the rest of ML and coding/pair programming.

  4. a really really fancy AI startup hiring ML Scientist: I did a 4 hr take home which I passed and then a 5 hour onsite no DSA but really delving into ML research skills and system design and coding. I was totally unqualified for this (they wanted strong research/math skills) so im not surprised here

  5. Series B startup: Passed OA and I got rejected after the first interview the moment the HM realized I had 6 mos of experience he ended the interview right there

Didnt also make it past the phone screen for 2 companies. I presume they were looking for someone more senior based on the JD

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What's the best time to ask for a raise?

Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup

Hey folks,

I'm currently facing a tough decision - whether to ask for a raise at my current company. I am unsure if it's the right time to do so or not. Here's a little context to help you understand my situation

My timeline in the company:

  • In 2023
    • I joined the company as a Sr SWE II (L4)
    • I joined the company nine months ago on August 23'
    • I made it to the second review cycle of the year (mid-October), and I got a "Consistently meeting expectations." My manager then said that he was very impressed that I managed to get so much done in that short time and that he could see strong signs of a Staff Engineer (L5) in me.
    • I shipped the most important project in Q4, 2023, on time. I even ended up as the technical lead of that project (the Staff engineer in that project got pip-ed, but that's another story)
  • In 2024:
    • I mentored a Sr SWE I (L3) on her first project as a lead.
    • I'm the lead of the web working group
    • I'm interviewing candidates almost on a weekly basis
    • I'm one of the owners of the Design System initiative
    • I just got a "Consistently exceeding expectations" in our current review cycle. I've been praised for how easy it is to work with me, my technical quality, my communication skills, and my thoughtful PR reviews. And that I should keep working on my influence across the organization.

How things are right now:

  • My previous manager quit to join another startup, and I got an interim manager (we're hiring another manager for my team)
  • I ended up talking about salary adjustments with my previous manager the other day (there, I didn't ask for a raise; it was just a casual conversation). He told me that the company does a compensation review every January and that I wasn't considered for the one that happened in January 2024 because I didn't join earlier than July 2023.
  • The next performance review will happen in mid-Oct 2024.
  • I will be leading a new tiger team (6 engs) until the end of Q2.

Questions I have right now:

  • Is this the right time to ask for a raise?
  • I've never asked for a raise.
  • I know for a fact that an L3 has a pretty similar (<5%) salary to me, and I know that another L4 has a >5% salary than me.
  • Should I wait until I finish this new project, the next performance review, or my first anniversary?
  • We're in the hockey stick growth stage.
  • I also really like working here, and the market has been bad lately.


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How to deal with a boss who is very nitpicky in code reviews?

Software Engineer at Early-stage startup profile pic
Software Engineer at Early-stage startup

My direct supervisor/ tech lead has a tendency to leave a lot of nitpick comments on my and my teammate's PRs during code reviews. I know the intention is positive, but in my view it's excessive and leads our team to spend too much time addressing stylistic or minor changes that don't materially improve the codebase. Since we're building for an early-stage startup I also believe it's a higher priority to ship code that works well enough so the business can get customer feedback, rather than focus on subjective stylistic things. It also increases the noise level in every PR and makes it hard to identify and focus on any comments about significant things.

I raised these concerns directly with my supervisor and also asked for clarification about which nitpicks are actually optional or if I can opt out of implementing any. My supervisor said I need to address/respond to every single nitpick comment, which means if I disagree or don't want to implement the nit, I would have to explain why every single time, which I think is not an efficient use of time. They also said we don't have to implement everything they suggest, and they welcome pushback, but I don't think they realize it feels a bit harder to do that when they leave so many nits and they are in a position of authority and are not my peer. I shared a suggestion that we make it ok for the PR owner to opt out of addressing a nitpick / leave it up to them to decide, and also try not to focus continually on stylistic things that can't be automated by linting etc. This was ignored though.

Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this situation? It's very frustrating and exhausting sometimes, and part of me has tended to cave in and just implement every bit unless I have a really strong opinion against it for the sake of avoiding spending time debating too much. I'd like to be wise about picking my battles.

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