General DevOps Interview Questions to Help You Practice and Prepare

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Looking for a career as a DevOps engineer? If so, find out what kind of DevOps interview questions you could be asked and how to prepare for your interview.

[Featured Image]:  Candidate for DevOps engineer position preparing for an interview.

A DevOps position requires both technical and workplace skills as it combines software development and IT operations. During an interview, you’ll need to showcase both. 

A growing demand exists for DevOps personnel who develop, test, and efficiently deploy software applications. By 2031, estimates indicate the US workforce will add 411,400 software development jobs, representing a 25 percent growth rate [1]. 

If you’re on the hunt for a DevOps job, you’re probably wondering what the interview process is like and what kind of interview questions employers might ask. Since this job requires a range of abilities, expect a combination of questions surrounding technical and workplace skills. 

Tell me about yourself.

Your interview will likely start with an icebreaker question like this. The idea is to ease into the interview with a basic question. However, don’t be fooled by its simplicity. The hiring team expects you to provide an overview of your credentials. Start by discussing your last job, mentioning technical and workplace skills, and then give a broad view of your years of experience and education. 

What do you love most about working as a DevOps engineer?

This question seems straightforward, but you want to maximize the information you share about your experience and skills. To answer this question, focus on the benefits of being a DevOps engineer. You might list things like:

  • Bridging the gap between development and IT that results in a more efficient process

  • Creating automation and integration techniques that streamline processes

  • Implementing customer feedback that creates a loyal customer base

  • Collaboration among team members creating a fast-paced, positive work environment 

Can you please explain the difference between Agile methodology and DevOps?

The interviewers want to make sure you can differentiate between software engineering methodologies. They’re testing your core competency, so an incorrect answer here will raise concerns. Make sure you provide clear definitions. 

DevOps provides flexibility in development and operations, focuses on timeliness and a quality product, and makes improvements based on internal feedback. 

Agile methodology is more narrow in scope. It allows for flexibility in development only, prioritizes speed above all else, and gathers customer feedback to implement changes. 

Tell me about your favorite DevOps tools and why you like using them.

Consider some of the components of DevOps, like continuous integration, testing, and monitoring, and list several tools used for each. Mention tools you’ve recently worked with and those you’ve worked with to show your expansive skill set. Tools might include: 

  • Infrastructure automation: Chef, Puppet, SaltStack

  • Version Control System tool: Git, Bitbucket

  • Continuous Integration tool: Jenkins, Bamboo

  • Containerization tool: Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos

  • Configuration Management and Deployment tool: Ansible, Chef

  • Continuous Monitoring tool: Nagios

  • Continuous Testing tool: Selenium 

Can you explain the importance of configuration management?

Configuration management can be a complex concept to explain during an interview, but you should provide a high-level definition and explain its importance. 

Configuration management is a systematic approach to updating or changing multiple systems. DevOps engineers identify pieces that can be automated to streamline processes and increase productivity. The unified process minimizes tedious tasks and expedites change implementation at various phases. 

What is the difference between continuous integration and continuous delivery?

The hiring team wants to test your knowledge, so they might ask you to differentiate between two main components of DevOps: continuous integration and continuous delivery. When you define them, you want to provide enough technical knowledge to prove competency but explain it in a way that emphasizes your communication skills. 

To answer, explain that continuous integration essentially keeps the software updated. Any changes made by DevOps are synced with the main project after it has been validated and tested. Continuous delivery follows the integration phase. The updates or changes go through further tests before they’re released or delivered.

Both continuous integration and delivery are part of a pipeline meant to streamline software development and get it into the hands of users quickly. 

Tell me about your experience using a centralized logging solution.

Logging in DevOps refers to tracking and documenting updates to the software. It’s an ongoing record that notes everything from minor code updates to more significant strategic failures. The point of logging is to track problems, recall solutions deployed, and identify problematic trends. You may also use logging for compliance procedures. 

As an experienced DevOps engineer, you should not only define the term and provide its purpose, but you can mention several platforms you’ve used to manage to log such as Papertrail, Logz.io, or Sentry.

Explain the seven stages of a DevOps project.

A potential employer wants to know that you understand the workflow that applies to the role. As a result, they may ask you to walk through the DevOps lifecycle and provide a short explanation of each stage. 

A DevOps lifecycle has several components, which include: 

  • Continuous development: Planning and coding software

  • Continuous integration: Continually updates codes

  • Continuous testing: Makes sure code is functioning and doesn’t impede other facets.

  • Continuous deployment: Deploys changes

  • Continuous monitoring: Watches changes and updates and collects data to track updates

  • Continuous feedback: Generates performance reports to explore issues that end-users might have.

  • Continuous operations: Automating tasks to keep DevOps engineers focused on larger tasks.

How to prepare for an interview

DevOps is a competitive field, so preparing for every interview is essential. Aside from reviewing possible interview questions, consider doing these other tasks before it:

Research the organization.

Before going to the interview, research the company’s website, scroll through its social media channels, and look up news articles on the organization. You can review the LinkedIn profiles of current employees too. Pay attention to what they post and the content that they engage with. 

Understand the work culture.

Ask about the company's culture if you know a current or previous employee. If you don’t know anyone with first-hand knowledge, look at employer review sites Glassdoor, Indeed, or CareerBliss. 

Consider reading the company’s values and mission on its website, and explore its social media channels for any company engagement activities.  

Prepare your answers.

Take some time to review the DevOps interview questions above and rehearse your answers. Consider writing questions on flashcards and putting bullet points on the back. Say each response out loud. Stray away from scripting each response to avoid sounding rehearsed. 

Practice makes perfect

If you’re practicing alone, record yourself answering questions. If a friend or spouse is willing to help, have them ask the questions, and you respond. The person asking the questions doesn't need any experience in the field. They ask questions, watch your body language, and help you get comfortable with the process.

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 Ask for feedback.

After conducting a mock interview, ask your friend or spouse for feedback. While they might not know the technical skills you talk about, they can assess your ability to respond to questions, point out any nervous ticks, and provide overall pointers that will help you make a good impression.

Next Steps

Besides reviewing possible DevOps interview questions, you can also sharpen your skills with a class on Coursera. Preparing for Job Interviews or Advanced Interview Techniques are two virtual opportunities you could look into. You can also read How to Prepare for Job Interviews on the Coursera blog.

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Article sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, Testers,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm” Accessed November 30, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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