A Guide to DevOps Interview Questions

March 14, 2024
| DevSecOps

Although a record number of DevOps and DevSecOps positions are currently open, it’s also a highly competitive field. You can expect to be asked many challenging questions in your interview. The quality of the answers you provide can make a difference in the job going to you or your peer. We’ve collected some of the most common DevOps interview questions below. If you’ve wondered how to prepare for DevOps interview success, this guide is for you. Reading through these questions will let you know what to expect in a DevOps engineer interview while explaining the best ways to answer.

Understanding the DevOps Landscape

One of the first DevOps engineer interview questions you can expect is about the current DevOps landscape. It’s important to remember the reason DevOps exists: it’s a methodology to improve the efficiency of software development (the “Dev” part) and IT operations (the “Ops” part).

DevOps fosters teamwork between the two groups to help automate the software development process. In the current DevOps landscape, this is accomplished with a focus on continuous integration and continuous delivery, or CI/CD. This means consistently delivering apps to customers, including automation throughout development and deployment processes whenever possible. In today’s landscape, many ways exist to achieve an automated pipeline in the cloud and containerized environments.

The Emergence of DevSecOps

As businesses reaped the benefits of the DevOps methodology, IT leaders noticed that security often took a backseat to meeting rapid software delivery deadlines. Security teams may have been brought into the pipeline late in the process or left to react to security problems. You can expect DevOps interview questions to cover security topics, taking the focus of the interview more toward DevSecOps.

DevSecOps emerged as a way to remedy this by applying the DevOps principles of automation and rapid delivery to security. In a DevSecOps environment, security is integrated into every stage, much like any other component of the software development lifecycle. Before going in for your DevOps engineer interview, be ready to talk about your experience integrating and automating security into the development lifecycle.

DevOps Interview Questions: A Reference

Here’s how to prepare for the DevOps interview questions you’ll likely be asked. You may refer to the solutions below to strengthen your answers to these DevOps questions. However, don’t forget to use your experience and what you’ve learned in a DevOps course to shape your answers.

Can you discuss your experience with implementing and managing CI/CD pipelines?

As CI/CD is important to today’s DevOps landscape, be prepared to discuss your experience implementing and maintaining pipelines. If you have less real-world experience, discuss what you learned in a DevOps or DevSecOps course. Explain how you would set up the ideal CI/CD pipeline — for instance, in the cloud, with containers, etc.

What are some common challenges you have encountered when integrating DevOps practices within an organization, and how did you overcome them?

Integrating existing development tools into DevOps practices is almost always the biggest challenge. Legacy systems used in application development are often difficult to automate and may lack modern security standards. Replacing these systems with more modern tools is usually the best way to overcome these challenges.

How do you ensure security is integrated into the DevOps workflow? Can you provide examples of security measures you have implemented?

Penetration testing and other industry-standard methods for checking attack vectors are the best ways to integrate security into a DevOps workflow. Be prepared to talk about any security tools you’ve integrated into DevOps before, particularly those that can be automated.

Describe your experience with containerization technologies such as Docker and orchestration tools like Kubernetes.

Containers and containerization technologies are quickly becoming essential to DevOps environments. Talk about the Docker server-client architecture and how Docker images are used to create containers. Similarly, discuss how Kubernetes pods are created and communicate with each other.

How do you approach monitoring and logging in a DevOps environment? What tools or practices have you used?

As CI/CD pipelines thrive on automation, DevOps environments typically use automated tools to monitor logs and report issues. These tools look for bugs or potential security issues. Talk about the logging tools you may have used or learned about, like Papertrail or Logz.io, and how you implemented them in CI/CD.

Have you worked with any configuration management tools such as Ansible, Chef, or Puppet? Can you explain how you have used them in your previous projects?

Ansible, Chef, and Puppet are all enterprise management tools that allow engineers to automate deployments with predefined configurations. In an automated infrastructure environment, tools like these are key to rapidly deploying test environments and new servers. Talk about any DevOps environments where you have used these or similar tools.

Can you discuss your experience with infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools like Terraform or CloudFormation?

Some organizations use infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools instead of configuration management tools like Ansible or Chef or in some combination. While this is a newly emerging approach, any experience you have with apps like Terraform or CloudFormation is a plus, so be prepared to talk about your experience with them in the interview.

How do you ensure high availability and scalability in a cloud-based infrastructure? What strategies or tools have you used?

Virtualization or containerized technologies are commonly used to ensure a highly available and scalable cloud infrastructure. There are many approaches to this, but often depending on an organization’s specific needs. While there is no wrong answer to these questions, you should be able to talk about how scalability and high availability can be achieved in a DevOps environment.

How do you ensure secure coding practices within a DevOps environment? Can you provide examples of security measures you have implemented?

The DevSecOps model tightly integrates security into DevOps and CI/CD pipelines, which is the best approach. In a general sense, automating security testing as much as possible is the best way to implement secure coding practices. Vulnerability management tools and privileges access management practices can limit security exposure.

Have you worked with vulnerability scanning tools or security testing frameworks in a DevSecOps context? Can you discuss your experience and how they contribute to overall software security?

As with the above question, discuss any automated and vulnerability management tools you have used or learned about. DevSecOps environments require an automated approach to code review and processes in the CI/CD pipeline that addresses security issues. Explain your approach to security testing in an ideal environment.

Have you collaborated with cross-functional teams, including development, operations, and security, to establish shared responsibility for security? How do you promote effective communication and collaboration among these teams?

While DevOps and DevSecOps interviews tend to focus on technical issues, it’s important to remember that they are collaborative career fields. Sharing responsibility across the software development life cycle also requires working with multiple teams and coordinating their efforts. Give examples of how you have fostered cross-team communication and how your efforts led to successful collaboration.

Describe a time when you identified and resolved a critical security incident within a DevSecOps environment. What steps did you take, and what was the outcome?

The answers to this can be as simple as a log monitoring tool reporting a security bug and how you worked to resolve that with the development and security teams. Or it could be about the time you discovered an infrastructure security issue with automated DevSecOps tools. However, you choose to answer, just be prepared to discuss the real-world benefits you can bring to a DevSecOps environment.

How EC-Council’s DevSecOps Course Can Help You Gain Essential Knowledge

EC-Council’s Certified DevSecOps Engineer (E|CDE) course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to confidently answer DevOps interview questions. It’s a lab-intensive course, with over 70% of total class time spent working in labs, giving you real-world experience with DevSecOps pipelines. The E|CDE program covers both application and infrastructure so that you learn DevSecOps for both on-premises and cloud-native platforms.

The E|CDE offers in-depth training on leading cloud platforms like AWS Cloud and Microsoft Azure, along with industry-standard tools like GitHub. It’s the most comprehensive DevSecOps certification program, focusing on integrating security into the eight stages of the DevOps lifecycle. Please visit the E|CDE certification page for more information on program details.

About the Author

Leaman Crews is a former newspaper reporter, publisher, and editor with over 25 years of professional writing experience. He is also a former IT director specializing in writing about tech in an enjoyable way.

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