What to Expect From a DevOps Interview
What employers are looking for in new team members for their DevOps initiatives.
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DevOps as a technical competency is still not as mature as other areas like networking or Java development. As a result, you may only now start seeing job listings specifically mentioning DevOps. Since the field is so new, chances are you haven’t had a ton of experience being interviewed about your practical DevOps experience.
I recently spoke with several hiring managers and DevOps practitioners to learn what kind of questions and may be asked and what experience may be necessary if you find yourself in an interview for a DevOps Engineer job.
Below, I’ve divided what I’ve learned between experience, cultural fit, and any test questions you might expect.
- Using CI Tools: This is becoming a bigger and bigger requirement as more companies move towards CD. Thankfully tools like Jenkins are open source.
- Go more in-depth when asked about the CI pipeline. Just saying “We use Jenkins” isn’t going to fly.
- Familiarity with build environments such as Maven or Vagrant.
- Which environment are you most familiar with? Dev/Test? Production? The skill sets for either are very different and can help you find the best fit for your skills.
- Experience with Docker. Have we mentioned how big Docker is yet? :)
- Automation experience, whether it’s with Chef and Puppet or with languages like Python and Perl.
- Culture and Team Fit
- Customer-facing personality. The ability to clearly communicate what is needed to a customer without offending or confusing them is always important.
- An eagerness to learn. Employers are especially impressed if you contribute to open source projects.
- Fix a deployment issue as if it were a real support case.
- What they’re looking for: How you communicate with people and go about solving problems and documenting them.
- Design the architecture of a Google Calendar-style app.
- What they’re looking for: This is your standard critical thinking and problem solving skills test, as well as your reasoning behind your choices whether its because of technology familiarity or the best tool for the job.
- Can you go into a customer’s source code, understand what’s happening, and automatically automate their testing?
- What they’re looking for: A look at how people think. If you’re not thinking about automating all of your processes, that might be of concern to an employer.
- Build a user story.
- What they’re looking for: How you would approach a real project.
Special thanks to Martin Van Vilet, John Martinez, Jenks Gibbons, and Sergey Plastinkin for taking time to share their experiences. I hope this helps you in your careers!
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