Statistics interview question: What is the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics?

Tracyrenee
6 min readJun 6, 2024

Any person who wants to excel in data science must be well versed in statistics because this field is the bedrock of the subject.

One question that may come up in an interview for a data science or data analytics position is what is the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics.

In a nutshell, descriptive statistics state facts and proven outcomes from a population, whereas inferential statistics analyse samplings to make predictions about larger populations.

Descriptive statistics

Descriptive statistics are used to report or describe the features or characteristics of data. They summarise a particular numerical data set,or multiple sets, and deliver quantitative insights about that data through numerical or graphical representation.

Using the California House Price dataset that can be found in Google Colab’s sample datasets that are provided with the software, there are several functions in Python that one can use to describe a dataset.

For example, the describe() function can be used to obtain a number of statistics:-

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Tracyrenee

I have five decades experience in the world of work, being in fast food, the military, business, non-profits, and the healthcare sector.