Interview Questions To Ask DevOps Engineers
DevOps isn’t any single person’s job. It is everyone’s job. Here are 10 questions you should ask DevOps applicants to see who is a good fit for your company.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
During the height of a global pandemic, when social distancing matters, and virtual jobs are rising in quantity and quality, societies are yet resisting changes that have become the new normal.
Nevertheless, the changes brought on by new technologies in the market are undeniable. American business magnate, Bill Gates, said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
In the early 1990s, it took three years for a new technology to be applied to a business. But as businesses moved faster than technology application, entire businesses had changed when the technology was applied. As a result, many projects got canceled halfway, and those that were completed, did not meet the business’s current needs, and so, became irrelevant.
As these frustrations fanned out in the corporate world, they led to the birth of a concept - the DevOps Movement (Development and Operations together)– founded by IT expert Patrick Debois in 2009. Debois, known as the founder of the DevOps movement, is an independent IT consultant, whose goal is bridging the gap between projects and operations.
In October 2016, Dubois co-authored the DevOps Handbook, in which, another co-author, Jez Humble, says, “DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.”
Moreover, at a recent DevOps Enterprise Summit in Las Vegas, another DevOps Handbook co-author and researcher, Gene Kim, defined DevOps, as, “The architecture, technical practices, and cultural norms that enable us to: increase our ability to deliver applications and services; quickly and safely, which enables rapid experimentation and innovation, and the fastest delivery of value to our customers; while ensuring world-class security, reliability, and stability so that we can win in the marketplace.”
However, one of the most challenging aspects of implementing DevOps in a business is changing its culture. People will not easily change how they work together, or how individual employees perceive their role and their connection to one another, to achieve timely delivery of an application or their collective connection in the organization. Therefore, DevOps means improving collaboration, integration, and communication in software development and implementation, to create an enhanced product.
Over time, employees realize that DevOps is a combination of processes, best practices, and techniques, to drive IT to raise the bar in delivering high-quality business solutions at record speed. Organizations also gradually understand that the whole concept of DevOps is based on different teams collaborating, to ensure speedy results.
And in these teams, the “DevOps Engineer,” is currently the most popular engineering job, among recruiters, while DevOps Engineer is the most recruited job on LinkedIn. Even as engineers argue that DevOps is mostly culture than a single job, recruiters are, anyway, excited by the position. With the title being new and vague, the job responsibilities may be under different roles across companies. For instance, when people hire DevOps Engineers, they need to be mindful of jobs like Site Reliability Engineers, whose functions border DevOps engineers.
As recruiters and hiring managers take on the challenge of hiring DevOps Engineers, there are 10 critical questions to ask DevOps Engineer job applicants.
- DevOps Engineer is a relatively new title, and recruiters need to consider other things beyond education when selecting candidates. Academic education, in fact, is far less important than the ability to teach oneself new skills. With over 70% of developers learning coding on their own, recruiters should ask insightful questions that reveal the applicant’s ability to learn new things, rather than relying solely on a resume to infer skills.
- Companies seeking DevOps Engineers need to understand exactly what skills and expertise they need to achieve company goals and objectives - like a healthy understanding of CI/CD, testing, security, tools, APIs, human dynamics, value stream mapping, and agile software development. Applicants should be asked about their capabilities in the skills relevant to the company.
- Companies interested in DevOps, value professionals with a solid technical background and years of experience in a complex transformation effort. DevOps Engineer applicants should be asked about their involvement in prior DevOps operations, and what they have learned.
- Cultural transformation being a key differentiator for successful DevOps, a DevOps engineer should be a T-shaped system engineer who understands the elements needed to improve speed and quality. Questions on this aspect should be directed at job applicants.
- The DevOps process involves people with the ability to leverage automation. Therefore, questions asked from a DevOps engineer applicant should focus on an understanding of the different tools and technologies used across the entire software delivery lifecycle.
- DevOps Engineers should have experience with incremental process improvement tactics and effectively measuring workflow for establishing continuous improvement goals. Job applicants should be asked about their experience in establishing continuous improvement goals.
- DevOps Engineers know how different stages within the software delivery pipeline can impact successful or failed outcomes. Therefore, questions asked should prompt responses on the job applicant’s understanding of the impact of different stages of delivery.
- An engineer who understands the DevOps Institute’s five disciplines (Continuous Delivery, DevOps Testing, DevSecOps, DevOps Leadership, and Site Reliable Engineering (SRE)) is a true DevOps Engineer. A job applicant should be questioned concerning the knowledge of these five disciplines.
- DevOps Engineers should engage, not only with end-users but also with business executives. They should be asked questions on how the development processes and end-users impact each other.
- With conflicts within DevOps teams being common, if a DevOps Engineer can sort through intra-team conflicts, and prevent similar issues from arising in the future, they would be an asset to a company. Applicants should be asked how they overcame a similar challenging conflict, or how they would handle such a situation in the future.
After all, as the DevOps Engineer role reflects, DevOps isn’t any single person’s job. It is everyone’s job.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.