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Interview question on how to convert unstructured data into structured data

 
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I was asked a question during interview that how is unstructured data converted into structured data. I said unstructured data needs further parsing but that doesnt seem to be the accurate reply to his question. I think there is no fixed answer to this question. How can unstructured data be converted into structured data. Thanks
 
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When they asked you that question, did you ask them for further explanation?
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Thanks. No. I said that for processing unstructured data we require further breaking it down by parsing.
 
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You should ask for more information before answering.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:You should ask for more information before answering.



Thanks. Yes.

In general how is unstructured data converted into structured  data?
 
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I don't think your strategy of asking the same question over and over is going to work. The point of the answers you've gotten so far is that there's not enough context in the question to give an intelligent answer. I think that was also the point of the interviewer in asking the question, to see if you could intelligently dig for more context and not just say the first thing that popped into your head.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Junilu Lacar wrote:I think that was also the point of the interviewer in asking the question, to see if you could intelligently dig for more context and not just say the first thing that popped into your head.



Thanks.
 
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Here are a few questions you could ask:

  • What kind of data is it e.g. binary, text, what encoding, etc?
  • Where does it come from e.g.files, streams, etc?
  • Does it have a known structure e.g. a schema?
  • If it has a schema, is that schema consistent, or does each record have a different structure?
  • What kind of structured data do you want to produce - CSV, SQL, JSON, Avro, XML etc?


  • And so on...
     
    Monica Shiralkar
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    Thanks

    Christopher Webster wrote:

  • Where does it come from e.g.files, streams, etc?



  • One we have the data it is about converting this data to structured data. How will the source matter ?


  • Does it have a known structure e.g. a schema?



  • Since it was mentioned as unstructured data, I assumed that thus it does not have structure (schema).
     
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    Monica Shiralkar wrote:Since it was mentioned as unstructured data, I assumed that thus it does not have structure (schema).



    It may be that it hasn't been organized in a formal structure yet, sure. But one could certainly look at the data and try to see if there is some way to organize it and build a structure around it.
     
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