What Are Good DevOps Interview Questions?
To help you identify the best candidates for a DevOps role, we’ve gathered 12 insightful interview questions from experienced professionals like CEOs, founders, and administrative managers. From assessing practical DevOps tools experience to understanding candidates’ approach to learning and industry trends, these questions will help you find the right fit for your team.
- Assess Practical DevOps Tools Experience
- Evaluate Infrastructure as Code Knowledge
- Examine Troubleshooting in Production
- Probe System Monitoring Expertise
- Understand DevOps Culture Balance
- Prioritize Testing or Feedback
- Analyze Problem-Solving Approach
- DevOps Practices and Project Success
- Look Into Their Collaboration Skills
- Experience With CI/CD and Automation
- Successful Deployment and Release Processes
- Approach to Learning and Industry Trends
Assess Practical DevOps Tools Experience
One crucial question I often ask potential candidates applying for a DevOps role is, “Can you share with us the top DevOps tools you believe are key in this field, and which ones you have worked on? Could you also share a specific example of how you’ve used these tools?”
This question is important because it lets me gauge their practical experience and understanding of the tools necessary for effective DevOps practices. I’m always eager to hear about the different situations they’ve faced, the solutions they’ve developed using these tools, and how their work has driven progress in their previous roles.
Their answer not only sheds light on their technical expertise but also on their problem-solving skills, adaptability, and capacity to innovate in the ever-evolving DevOps landscape.
Evaluate Infrastructure as Code Knowledge
One important question to ask while interviewing for DevOps is how the candidate implements infrastructure as code (IaC). IaC allows developers to provision and manage infrastructure using code, resulting in infrastructure that is more easily scalable, version-controlled, and able to undergo continuous testing and validation.
The candidate should be able to show their knowledge using popular IaC tools such as Terraform, CloudFormation, or Ansible, and explain the benefits and trade-offs of each tool.
They should be able to showcase their problem-solving skills through examples of complex infrastructure management scenarios they have handled in the past. The answer to this question will help determine the depth of the candidate’s understanding and experience with DevOps principles and toolsets.
Examine Troubleshooting in Production
One interview question for a DevOps-related role could be: “Can you describe a time when you had to debug a complex issue in a production environment? What was the issue, and what steps did you take to resolve it?”
This question can provide insight into the candidate’s technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. It can also give the interviewer a sense of how the candidate approaches troubleshooting and resolves issues in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment.
The answer can reveal the candidate’s ability to work collaboratively with cross-functional teams and their experience with different DevOps tools and technologies.
Probe System Monitoring Expertise
This question enables the candidate to showcase their knowledge in system monitoring, performance analysis, and optimization methods. It also offers insight into their experience with helpful tools and their skill in using data-driven insights to enhance system performance.
It reveals their problem-solving capabilities and ability to think critically when faced with performance challenges. By exploring their approach, you can better understand their capacity to contribute effectively to your team and adapt to changing demands.
Understand DevOps Culture Balance
As the world of software development and operations continues to rapidly evolve, DevOps methodologies have become increasingly popular. As a result, it’s important to hire the right employees who are not only technically skilled but also understand the balance between the need for speed and the need for security in a DevOps environment.
This single question allows the candidate to showcase their understanding of the DevOps culture and its principles of collaboration, communication, and integration between development and operations.
Answers should consider automation, continuous integration and deployment, monitoring, and auditing, and include a holistic approach that emphasizes the importance of security throughout the DevOps lifecycle. Overall, this can help a company ensure they are hiring a candidate who is knowledgeable in dealing with the complexities of modern DevOps environments.
Prioritize Testing or Feedback
As a recruiter in the tech sphere, I’ve helped many candidates prepare for DevOps roles. One question I like to ask is: “What’s more important to the DevOps’ process? Testing or feedback?”
Candidates are happy to hear there isn’t a right or wrong answer here: both stages are crucial, but having an applicant rank them forces a deeper consideration of the workflow process from start to end. Getting them to prioritize one over the other gives me insight into how familiar they are with the steps and how they qualify the value within.
I don’t want placements who treat their work as a checklist; I’m looking for employees who understand the significance of their role within a larger system.
Analyze Problem-Solving Approach
As a CEO, I’m particularly interested in not just the technical skills of potential candidates, but also their approach to problem-solving, teamwork, and adapting to change. So, one question I would ask a candidate applying for a DevOps role would be:
“Can you share a specific example of a time when you had to troubleshoot a challenging operational problem? How did you approach the issue, what steps did you take to resolve it, and what did you learn from the experience?”
This question would help me understand your ability to handle high-pressure situations, your problem-solving skills, and your capacity to learn and grow from challenges.
DevOps Practices and Project Success
One interview question I’d ask for a DevOps-related role is, “Can you describe a project you worked on where you had to implement DevOps practices and the impact it had on the project’s success?” This question will give you insight into the candidate’s understanding of DevOps principles and how they have successfully implemented them previously.
It can also help you evaluate their problem-solving skills, collaboration abilities, and project management expertise. Ask follow-up questions related to specific DevOps tools or best practices that the candidate has expertise in and how they have used these practices to improve software development and delivery.
Look Into Their Collaboration Skills
“Can you describe a time when you had to troubleshoot and solve a production issue that involved multiple teams?” This is my go-to question when looking at DevOps related roles. The reason for this is that it helps assess the candidate’s ability to work in a collaborative environment and their problem-solving skills.
DevOps engineers need to work with different teams, including developers, system administrators, and business stakeholders, to identify and resolve production issues quickly and effectively, so I prize communication skills and the ability to navigate pressure-filled situations as the most important parts of the job.
Experience With CI/CD and Automation
This question aims to assess the candidate’s understanding and experience with automating the software delivery process, which is a critical part of DevOps. The answer should include a description of their experience with implementing CI/CD pipelines, the tools and technologies used, and any challenges or successes they have encountered in their past work.
An ideal answer would also include insights into their approach to testing and quality assurance, how they ensure changes are thoroughly tested before being deployed, and how they handle deployment failures.
This question can also reveal the candidate’s understanding of the importance of collaboration between development and operations teams, as CI/CD involves the integration of code changes with infrastructure changes in a streamlined and automated way.
Successful Deployment and Release Processes
“Can you walk me through a recent deployment or release process you were involved in and explain the steps you took to ensure it was successful?”
This question would give the interviewer insight into the candidate’s experience with deployment and release processes, as well as their knowledge of best practices for ensuring successful deployments. It would also allow the candidate to showcase their problem-solving skills and their ability to work collaboratively with different teams to achieve a common goal.
Approach to Learning and Industry Trends
DevOps is a field that requires continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies, tools, and practices. You need to get insights into the candidate’s approach to learning, problem-solving, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends. For that reason, I’d ask: “What are the sources of your knowledge?”.
The answer to this question reveals the candidate’s ability to seek new knowledge and resources, their willingness to learn, and their level of engagement with the broader DevOps community.
If they name a few diverse sources (for example, books, blogs, conferences, mentors, and specialized training programs), software development may be not only their job but also a hobby. Hiring someone passionate about what they do professionally is always a good idea. Such people are more motivated, productive, and eager to learn.