Technical Interview Questions for Linux DevOps

Demand for DevOps professionals is soaring as companies find that those with development and operations experience can accelerate the development process and produce more reliable software. As a result, more people are pursuing DevOps opportunities involving accessible open source programs like Linux, says Rob Reilly, the Dice Linux Talent Community guide. However, he issues a warning for those trying to break in: DevOps is a very tough niche.

Interview Qs“The roles can be exceedingly technical and there’s no faking or embellishing in this field,” he says. “You have to know your stuff.”

We asked Reilly to share a few interview questions for DevOps professionals who specialize in Linux, and to describe the types of answers he’s looking for.

Tell me about your programming background.

  • What Most People Say: Let’s see, I know Python, C and Bash.
  • What You Should Say: I’m familiar with many programs including C and Bash. For instance, I recently constructed a desktop app using Arduino microcontrollers and Python. Would you like to hear about it?
  • Why You Should Say It: Programmers tend to be terse. They provide a short answer and stop, Reilly observes. Hiring managers want to understand the breadth of your experience and how you’ve used a particular program. Offering an example of your recent work is the best way to do that.

How do you handle revision (version) control?

  • What Most People Say: I post the code on GitHub or SourceForge so everyone can view it.
  • What You Should Say: I not only post the code, I let everyone comment, which boosts collaboration and helps eliminate errors. Also, I publish a checklist from the last revision to ensure that any lingering issues are resolved.
  • Why You Should Say It: Since DevOps pros employ a holistic approach, it’s particularly important you demonstrate your collaborative spirit and that you understand the entire development process, not just your individual role. But most importantly, it shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond to ensure a speedy and thorough resolution of glitches and bugs.

What is your favorite distribution?

  • What Most People Say: I’m familiar with Ubuntu.
  • What You Should Say: I’m very familiar with Red Hat. In fact, I’m certified. But, I also understand Debian and Ubuntu.
  • Why You Should Say It: Red Hat is a very popular enterprise distribution system so you can’t go wrong by mentioning it, Reilly says. You’ll get extra points if you’re certified since Red Hat is known for its rigorous certification process. Finally, acknowledge Linux’s diversity and showcase your expertise by explaining how you evaluate and select the right distribution system to fit each situation.

How have you used SSH?

  • What Most People Say: I’ve used SSH to log into a remote machine.
  • What You Should Say: I’ve use SSH to log into a remote machine and work on the command line. I’ve also used it to tunnel into the system in order to facilitate secure encrypted communications between two untrusted hosts over an insecure network.
  • Why You Should Say It: “Your answer should demonstrate your experience, comfort and familiarity with SSH. The goal of any newcomer or career-changer is to show that they can execute changes or fixes without summoning help,” Reilly says. “The best way to do that is by providing detailed answers, because managers want to hire someone who can hit the ground running.”

See more of our Technical Interview Questions.

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