When you apply for a new DevOps role, you must prepare for the interview questions you will face at each stage of the process.
This article reviews HR expert Clarissa Pinto Ribeiro’s top tips for a successful DevOps interview. In her role at Accenture, she analyzes market trends and complex staffing needs to help project executives and their teams hire the right talent. Her valuable experience can give you the insight you need to land your dream job!
The Emergence of DevOps
While DevOps may seem like just a hot buzzword in tech, it is much more than that! The collaboration between the operations and development teams allows companies to produce software faster and more efficiently than ever before.
As a result, DevOps roles have a high value in the market. It was the “new must-have” for several years in the tech sector – I even had clients requesting DevOps Architects to join as soon as possible, without any approvals for their cost or headcount!
Likewise, those applying for DevOps positions are looking for huge salaries or exposure to a big-name company that will propel their career to the next level.
Keeping that in mind, my first recommendation to anyone in this field is to use the interview process strategically. View it as an opportunity to see what DevOps means to your potential employer since often it turns out that they just need a network engineer or system admin. This is due to a lack of infrastructure or investments – or both – so get a clear picture before committing!
Reviewing Job Descriptions
The first step in reviewing a DevOps role is to do your due diligence on the quality of the employer. Ensure it is a firm you want to work for – check out the benefits, reputation, etc.
Assuming you’ve already done that, you should shift your focus to the job description. The listing should give you a clear indication of what is required and expected from the person that fills the position, so make sure you are familiar with it.
Confirm that you meet most of the required knowledge and experience criteria, and prepare alternative answers to the ones you don’t.
For example, DevOps environments have multiple tools that are complementary or equivalents to each other. So, if they require experience with Terraform and AWS don’t answer NO – instead, describe your experience with CloudFormation and GCP. Check out reviews online beforehand too, so you can compare one to the other!
This strategy will help you get your foot in the door and schedule an actual interview, which can be one of the most difficult parts of the process.
DevOps Interview Questions
Before we dive into specific interview questions, it’s necessary to address the interview process that most of the large consulting firms use. Based on the job descriptions I reviewed, your interview will likely follow the KSA methodology: Knowledge, Skills, Abilities.
The KSA methodology allows the interviewer to determine whether you have the right skills and abilities to be successful in the role. They will consider your educational background, technical experience, and other contributing factors.
This questioning process involves an initial, first-round interview that consists of basic yes or no questions. The goal here is to qualify you based on the minimum job requirements per the description. If you can pass the initial screening, you will move on to second and third-round interviews.
These additional interviews will narrow the focus much further. The recruiter will ask you very specific questions to gauge your ability to do the job and verify your previous experience to ensure you are the right candidate.
For example, they will ask you to share specific examples of projects you’ve led or assisted on. The more detail you can provide the better here! What did you do? How did you do it? What were the results?
This level of questioning will help you stand out from other candidates and let them know you are the best person for the role!
Landing your first DevOps Job
You may be thinking, this is my first DevOps job – I don’t have any real project experience yet!
Start by presenting concepts since the first question will probably be “what is DevOps.” The way you answer this is key to moving forward with your application, so discuss why DevOps is attractive to you.
Someone with a few years of experience, though, can instead discuss best practices for DevOps implementation since they understand the full cycle in business terms. The level of complexity should increase with the seniority of the role too!
That means that someone applying to become a very senior resource would need to answer a broader question about a hot topic like DevSecOps and architecture. I would ask them how they would work to integrate DevSecOps tools to different stages of the delivery lifecycle, and how they would assess DevOps maturity in a new environment.
Another popular question for DevOps interviews is how long you have worked with a particular process. When a company works with specific platforms and has established DevOps processes, they want to ensure that their new hires will succeed!
For instance, a recruiter would ask you how many years of experience you have with Agile methodology and CI/CD. A tech interviewer would instead ask about the main differences between Agile and DevOps.
You should also be prepared to describe what other capabilities you would add as part of your basic CI/CD pipeline. Similarly, be ready with details about one integration or how you would create a pipeline-as-code template for CI/CD.
Narrow Process Questions
Let’s address a more specific example, like if the job description requires you to have the skills and experience needed to automate scripts. The recruiter may ask you the following:
Have you created infra-as-code templates?
This question requires a simple yes or no answer, but you could give additional details if you prefer. However, a technical interview would likely ask the same question this way:
How would you create infra-as-code templates to tear down environments in the cloud?
Note the response here will need more concrete examples and specific details to impress the interviewer.
Hopefully, this gives you some insight into what DevOps interview questions to expect and how to prepare for them. Landing a rewarding job in the field of DevOps requires extensive knowledge and expertise, and this guide is just the starting point. Good luck!