8 General DevOps Interview Questions to Help You Practice and Prepare

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

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 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 competency and DevOps culture.

Read more: What Does a DevOps Engineer Do? A Career Guide

What types of DevOps interview questions can I expect?

DevOps methodology relies on collaboration between the operations team and the development team of an organization. Accordingly, a DevOps position requires you to showcase a combination of skills during an interview. You'll need to showcase technical skills to show your ability to manage the software development lifecycle and workplace skills to demonstrate your knowledge of IT operations. 

1. 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. 

2. 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. Consider what you have gained from working in this position and how you can frame it in a way that showcases your work ethic or strengths. You might list things like:

  • Facilitating a culture of collaboration. Bridging the gap between development teams and IT operations results in more efficient processes. What are some skills or experiences you can bring to a team environment?

  • Strategic automation. Creating automation and integration techniques that streamline the DevOps process is an essential skill. You might mention something like how implementing automation testing improved core operations and enabled faster delivery.

  • Customer relations. Have you taken steps in a previous role to implement feedback from customers? How do you approach securing customer satisfaction by iterating on previous versions of a product?

  • Leadership. People skills are valuable. Consider recalling a time that you helped facilitate collaboration amongst team members to create a positive work environment.

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

The interviewers want to make sure you can differentiate between software development 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 focuses on flexibility for software or application development only, prioritizes speed above all else, and gathers customer feedback to implement changes.

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

Consider some of the key components of DevOps, like automation, continuous integration, testing, and monitoring, and list several tools used for each. Mention tools you’ve recently worked with and tools used in each phase of the software delivery pipeline to show your expansive skill set. Examples of commonly used tools in DevOps environments include:

  • Infrastructure automation: Chef, Puppet, SaltStack

  • Version Control System tool: Git, Bitbucket

  • Continuous Integration tool: Jenkins, Bamboo

  • Containerization tool: Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos

  • Configuration Management tools: Ansible, Chef

  • Continuous Monitoring tool: Nagios

5. 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. It is a systems engineering process that focuses on establishing a product's consistency and maintaining that level of efficiency throughout its lifecycle.

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. 

6. 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 in a feature branch are synced with the master branch after it has been validated and tested. Continuous delivery follows the integration phase. Updates or code changes go through further tests before they’re released or delivered.

Both continuous integration and delivery are part of a DevOps pipeline that is meant to streamline software development and increase software quality. 

7. 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.

8. Explain the seven stages of a DevOps project.

A potential employer would like 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: Delivery of features to target devices such as the production environment or user's computer

  • 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 might review the LinkedIn profiles of current employees to find out more about the DevOps team you'll be joining. 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. Remember to discuss both the technical benefits and the business benefits of DevOps methodology.

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.


 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.

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.

Take the next step in your career with Coursera

You can prepare for your next DevOps role with the online course DevOps Culture and Mindset, offered by the University of California Davis. In about 14 hours, you can gain experience with systems thinking, loosely coupled architecture and teams, risk management, and more. By the end, you'll earn a shareable certificate to enhance your resume.

Article sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm.” Accessed August 1, 2023.

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