If you're an engineering leader, your time is precious. You don't have the bandwidth to sit through hours of coding interviews.
But... you need to hire the best developers for your team.
You need a filter.
Asking DevOps coding interview questions early in the interview process can efficiently weed out unqualified software developers while giving exceptional engineers a chance to shine.
These questions are designed to help you quickly determine if a candidate has the skills necessary for a DevOps role. They can even give you insight into softer skills like communication, problem-solving, and culture fit.
Let's take a look at some examples.
DevOps interview questions and answers for freshers
Straight out of college and eager as ever, freshers can be valuable assets to your team. They often have a strong foundation in algorithms and data structures and possess general problem-solving skills.
Freshers also have a willingness to learn and can get up to speed quickly, with little hand-holding.
Their weaknesses include a lack of domain knowledge, which they'll get from years in the field. They're also not great at explaining their code's design decisions, making it difficult to assess their analytical thinking process.
DevOps interview questions for freshers should be fairly straightforward and targeted at general software engineering skills. For example:
- What's the difference between a stack and a queue?
- How would you implement an object pool?
- Why is it important to write self-documenting code?
- What are some of the benefits of using Docker for your development environment?
- Why should we use Chef or Puppet over other configuration management tools (e.g., Ansible)?
- Explain how DevOps practices can be applied in an organization with multiple teams, each working on different projects.
It's also important for freshers to have a working knowledge of the programming language your team uses.
Asking Python coding interview questions for DevOps questions can help you quickly find out if they're familiar with the language and give you a better idea of their level of experience.
DevOps interview questions and answers for experienced engineers
For candidates with 2+ years in the industry, it's time to bring out the big guns.
Real-time DevOps interview questions are great for determining how well a candidate can think on their feet and solve difficult problems.
Be sure to drill down for specifics about everything from source code management to test execution and code coverage tools in use. Experienced engineers should be familiar with these topics, and you can expect them to shine when asked about specific experiences.
If someone hasn't used particular DevOps tools or techniques in practice, move on. You want a person who can hit the ground running and deliver results immediately.
Take a look at these DevOps interview questions for 3 years experience:
1. What is continuous integration and why is it important?
The only way to get better at DevOps is by doing it. Continuous integration (CI) builds on the principle of practicing a craft every day, so more experienced engineers should be familiar with CI environments. If they don't know what CI is or how it works, that's a red flag.
2. How often do you employ automated testing in your work? Why is it important to have 100% test coverage?
Automated testing allows you to quickly test your code for regressions, providing fast feedback on whether changes break what used to work in the system. An engineer who doesn't know about test coverage or how to measure it may lack knowledge in key areas.
3. Describe an instance where you had to figure out how to automate a manual process at work. What did you learn from the experience?
You want to find out how a candidate goes about learning a new tool or technique. If they lack domain knowledge, you'll also see that in the answers.
Asking DevOps practical interview questions like these can help you better gauge how well someone would fit into your organization. It also gives you insight into other important considerations, like whether they're able to argue their point of view and provide an effective solution.
Managerial round interview questions for DevOps engineers
Experience is a good thing, but it doesn't mean a candidate has what it takes to be a manager.
It's common for those fresh out of school to have management experience from their internships, so they can usually tell you about the leadership role they played during those placements. For experienced engineers, however, your questions should probe deeper.
Engineering managers should know how to help teams work together and foster creativity, as well as understand what motivates them and how to give constructive feedback. You want someone who knows when to challenge the status quo – not just go along with it – and identify areas for improvement in existing practices.
We recommend asking questions at this level:
1. Describe your management style. What are you best at? Worst at?
You want to get a sense of how someone manages people, projects, and resources. The answers will give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses and indicate if they'd be effective in the role.
2. What motivates you most in a work environment? How would this differ from what motivates others on your team?
While we don't expect everyone to answer the same way, we do want to see that they know how to motivate themselves and others when necessary. People who can identify their team members' motivations tend to be good communicators and empathetic leaders.
3. What's one thing you learned from your last project that made it more successful than expected?
Every project has areas that could work better, and engineering managers should always be looking for ways to improve. A good candidate will be able to tell you what they did to make a project or task work out better than expected.
Hopefully these examples get your brain going. If you still need inspiration, Threat Stack has a helpful list of their EM's favorite DevOps interview questions that you can use as a resource.
DevOps coding challenge
Knowing which questions to ask is just the tip of the iceberg.
Engineering leaders have their hands full when it comes to hiring — which is why companies are turning to coding challenges as a more efficient way of assessing a candidate's skills.
A DevOps coding test can save you time and help you make better hiring decisions. They also give you a chance to test an engineer's ability and provide a deeper understanding of their thought process.
Woven's DevOps assessment questions test for skills in design, debugging, systems architecture, and more. We'll help you find an engineer who can apply engineering principles, operational discipline, and mature automation to the dev toolchain and production environment.
The best part? Our DevOps challenge can be used as an initial screening, so only the most qualified candidates are invited to interview.
How to crack DevOps interview
One of the more difficult aspects of hiring DevOps engineers is finding the right fit for your company.
It can be hard to land a candidate that has all the skills and experience you need, but there are ways to make this process easier.
Asking DevOps coding questions will help you to determine how much real-world experience a candidate has. And deploying a DevOps-specific coding challenge as part of your interview process can show you a candidate's skill level before you make any commitments.
Curious about how Woven's coding interview works? Start a free trial today. We'll show you our DevOps assessment template and help you understand how we can improve your hiring pipeline for DevOps engineers.