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SQL Window Features on Information Science Interviews Requested By Airbnb, Netflix, Twitter, and Uber

Window features are a gaggle of features that can carry out calculations throughout a set of rows which can be associated to your present row. They’re thought of superior sql and are sometimes requested throughout knowledge science interviews. It is also used at work loads to resolve many several types of issues. Let’s summarize the 4 several types of window features and canopy the why and if you’d use them.

4 Sorts of Window Features

1. Common combination features

o These are aggregates like AVG, MIN/MAX, COUNT, SUM

o You will wish to use these to combination your knowledge and group it by one other column like month or 12 months

2. Rating features


o These are features that assist you to rank your knowledge. You may both rank your total dataset or rank them by teams like by month or nation

o Extraordinarily helpful to generate rating indexes inside teams

3. Producing statistics

o These are nice if you could generate easy statistics like NTILE (percentiles, quartiles, medians)

o You should use this to your total dataset or by group

4. Dealing with time collection knowledge

o A quite common window operate particularly if you could calculate tendencies like a month-over-month rolling common or a development metric

o LAG and LEAD are the 2 features that let you do that.

1. Common combination operate

Common combination features are features like common, depend, sum, min/max which can be utilized to columns. The objective is to use the mixture operate if you wish to apply aggregations to totally different teams within the dataset, like month.

That is just like the kind of calculation that may be achieved with an combination operate that you simply’d discover within the SELECT clause, however in contrast to common combination features, window features don’t group a number of rows right into a single output row, they’re grouped collectively or retain their very own identities, relying on how you discover them.

Avg() Instance:

Let’s check out one instance of an avg() window operate carried out to reply a knowledge analytics query. You may view the query and write code within the hyperlink beneath:

It is a excellent instance of utilizing a window operate after which making use of an avg() to a month group. Right here we’re making an attempt to calculate the common distance per greenback by the month. That is arduous to do in SQL with out this window operate. Right here we have utilized the avg() window operate to the third column the place we have discovered the common worth for the month-year for each month-year within the dataset. We are able to use this metric to calculate the distinction between the month common and the date common for every request date within the desk.

The code to implement the window operate would appear like this:

SELECT a.request_date,


AVG(a.dist_to_cost) OVER(PARTITION BY a.request_mnth) AS avg_dist_to_cost



to_char(request_date::date, ‘YYYY-MM’) AS request_mnth,

(distance_to_travel/monetary_cost) AS dist_to_cost

FROM uber_request_logs) a

ORDER BY request_date

2. Rating Features

Rating features are an vital utility for a knowledge scientist. You are all the time rating and indexing your knowledge to higher perceive which rows are the most effective in your dataset. SQL window features offer you 3 rating utilities — RANK(), DENSE_RANK(), ROW_NUMBER() — relying in your actual use case. These features will assist you to checklist your knowledge so as and in teams primarily based on what you want.

Rank() Instance:

Let’s check out one rating window operate instance to see how we will rank knowledge inside teams utilizing SQL window features. Comply with alongside interactively with this hyperlink:

Right here we wish to discover the highest salaries by division. We will not simply discover the highest 3 salaries and not using a window operate as a result of it’s going to simply give us the highest 3 salaries throughout all departments, so we have to rank the salaries by departments individually. That is achieved by rank() and partitioned by division. From there it is very easy to filter for high 3 throughout all departments

Here is the code to output this desk. You may copy and paste within the SQL editor within the hyperlink above and see the identical output.

SELECT division,



ORDER BY a.wage DESC) AS rank_id


(SELECT division, wage

FROM twitter_employee

GROUP BY division, wage

ORDER BY division, wage) a

ORDER BY division,

wage DESC


NTILE is a really helpful operate for these in knowledge analytics, enterprise analytics, and knowledge science. Usually occasions when deadline with statistical knowledge, you most likely have to create sturdy statistics equivalent to quartile, quintile, median, decile in your day by day job, and NTILE makes it simple to generate these outputs.

NTILE takes an argument of the variety of bins (or mainly what number of buckets you wish to cut up your knowledge into), after which creates this variety of bins by dividing your knowledge into that many variety of bins. You set how the info is ordered and partitioned, if you need further groupings.

NTILE(100) Instance

On this instance, we’ll discover ways to use NTILE to categorize our knowledge into percentiles. You may comply with alongside interactively within the hyperlink right here:

What you are making an attempt to do right here is determine the highest 5 % of claims primarily based on a rating an algorithm outputs. However you may’t simply discover the highest 5% and do an order by since you wish to discover the highest 5% by state. So a method to do that is to make use of a NTILE() rating operate after which PARTITION by the state. You may then apply a filter within the WHERE clause to get the highest 5%.

Here is the code to output your complete desk above. You may copy and paste it within the hyperlink above.

SELECT policy_num,








ORDER BY fraud_score DESC) AS percentile

FROM fraud_score) a

WHERE percentile <=5

4. Dealing with time collection knowledge

LAG and LEAD are two window features which can be helpful for coping with time collection knowledge. The one distinction between LAG and LEAD is whether or not you wish to seize from earlier rows or following rows, virtually like sampling from earlier knowledge or future knowledge.

You should use LAG and LEAD to calculate month-over-month development or rolling averages. As a knowledge scientist and enterprise analyst, you are all the time coping with time collection knowledge and creating these time metrics.

LAG() Instance:

On this instance, we wish to discover the share development year-over-year, which is a quite common query that knowledge scientists and enterprise analyst reply every day. The issue assertion, knowledge, and SQL editor is within the following hyperlink if you wish to attempt to code the answer by yourself:

What’s arduous about this drawback is the info is about up — you could use the earlier row’s worth in your metric. However SQL is not constructed to try this. SQL is constructed to calculate something you need so long as the values are on the identical row. So we will use the lag() or lead() window operate which can take the earlier or subsequent rows and put it in your present row which is what this query is doing.

Here is the code to output your complete desk above. You may copy and paste the code within the SQL editor within the hyperlink above:

SELECT 12 months,



spherical(((current_year_host – prev_year_host)/(forged(prev_year_host AS numeric)))*100) estimated_growth


(SELECT 12 months,


LAG(current_year_host, 1) OVER (ORDER BY 12 months) AS prev_year_host


(SELECT extract(12 months

FROM host_since::date) AS 12 months,

depend(id) current_year_host

FROM airbnb_search_details

WHERE host_since IS NOT NULL

GROUP BY extract(12 months

FROM host_since::date)

ORDER BY 12 months) t1) t2

Source by Rakib Raihan



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