Job Interviews… *dramatic music*. Whether face-to-face or through your webcam, they can be (and often are) the deciding factor to whether the job is yours, or the next in lines. It’s no wonder that so many feel the pressure of that first interview, as they dry those sweaty palms as they approach the building, or double check their appearance before they dial in.
Now we want to start with the age old saying, just be yourself. As cliche as it may sound, this insight isn’t aimed at telling you exactly what to say, but instead guide you in some typical answers as you continue to be – you! Your CV, portfolio of work and/or online boards and discussions would have been quickly gobbled up by your new potential employer, so it’s safe to say, they already like you. They just need to make sure that what you’ve ‘got on the packaging’, matches what’s inside.
We should note that the following questions and answers are aimed at those looking for a new role in the technology or cloud industry, with a heavy emphasis on definitions of cloud types, uses and best practices. In our experience, working with countless businesses and cloud focused organisations, these questions have a tendency to appear quite often, so it’s best to soak them up and have a little revamp. Depending on whether your applying for an entry level role, or one that is more senior, the scale of detail and difficulty in your answers will need to change. Best to keep that in mind.
No.1 - Can you name some of the most popular cloud computing providers/services?
With this question, your interviewer will be looking to see a few things. First, that you have a good awareness of widely known services, but also, that you can mention more specific cloud services which are commonly used in the specific avenue of cloud position your interviewing for.
You’ll want to mention the ‘big 5’ at this point (Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and Oracle). These cloud providers operate with the largest slices of cloud computing usage globally, and one of these will most likely be the chosen provider to power your potential employer’s services. On the topic of services, we recommend that you do some research of the business before the interview, to see if they are operating with AWS or GCP, for example. If they’re AWS, then you’d likely cite the most used cloud services such as; Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, AWS Aurora, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon RDS, Amazon Lambda, and so on. For GCP, you’d roll in with; Google VPC, Google Cloud Load Balancing, Google Delivery network or Google Cloud DNS.
These responses should show the interviewer that you know your stuff, but remember, they may want you to clearly define what these services do and how they are used towards a particular use case. Be ready, revise, and you’ll nail this question.
No.2 - Can you define what MultiCloud is?
Ah, the old ‘MultiCloud query’. This is a common one. It’s here that employers are looking to see if you’re aware of the benefits of using multiple cloud providers to do the same (or similar) types of processes, cloud scenarios, or ‘things’. It’s very common for businesses to employ multiple cloud providers and have more than 1 cloud deployment of the same type (both public or private) with unique vendors. For example, a business may deal with AWS infrastructures whilst also utilising Microsoft Office 365 for cloud office and backup features.
The team over at Red Hat have a fantastic scenario example to help you get your head around the topic:
“For example, your enterprise invests in expanding a cloud infrastructure. You’ve moved from bare-metal servers to virtualisation-based workloads, and now you’re evaluating public cloud options—not for everything, but to support a specific customer-facing application with highly variable use rates. After some research, you find the public cloud provider that has the right blend of service-level agreements (SLAs), security protocols, and uptime to host your custom application. You’re happy with your choice. But eventually, customers start asking for features that are only available through a different vendor’s proprietary app. Integrating these features into your custom app requires that you not only purchase the vendor’s app, but also host the app in that vendor’s proprietary public cloud—a solution that allows both apps to scale with demand. You now have a MultiCloud”.
If you’re able to explain MultiCloud, like the scenario above, your employer will know that your knowledge is pretty polished and you understand the purpose of MultiCloud, and it’s importance to businesses.
No 3 – Can you describe some of the different cloud service models?
This one is easy, as there’s only three to remember and the overall basis of each is quite easy to explain. First we have Software as a Service (or SaaS). Vendors of SaaS host their applications, making them available to their customers via the internet. This mean’s that businesses don’t have to worry about installations or downloads to their existing cloud infrastructures. SaaS vendors tend to handle all updates, maintenance and support. One of the largest SaaS providers, if you’re looking to name drop for some bonus points, would be Adobe and their range of applications such as Photoshop, LightRoom, Premier Pro etc.
Next we have Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS offer developers worldwide the platform for software development and deployment over the internet. PaaS deliver the full framework that developers then use to create customised applications. In turn, PaaS cloud vendors manage servers, networking and storage, whilst developers manage the applications themselves. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk is considered one of the most widely used PaaS providers, followed by Engine Yard, Google Cloud, Heroku and IBM Cloud.
The third model is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualised computing resources over the internet. Remember the ‘big 5’ in question one. Well, they are all IaaS providers, that allow for fundamental computational, storage and networking solutions. Without IaaS providers, both SaaS and PaaS wouldn’t be able to operate.
No.4 - Can you explain X concept in simple terms?
Now we’re getting a little bit more difficult. X could be any number of unique cloud problems, scenarios or high priority risks. This question is extremely common in specialised interviews, as your employer will be looking to see how you can make something technical and jargon filled, easy to assimilate and understand. It will be common place, if you land the job, to discuss technical problems and solutions with your peers as well as clients, so we recommend the following. Take your time, avoid too much jargon and organise your thoughts to speak about X in a calm and smooth manner. Simplifying the technical is a bit of an art, so practice with a number of ‘home made’ examples well before the interview. This skill translates incredibly well into any role, with any organisation, so get practicing or even contact us if you need a hand.
No.5 - How do you feel about Agile? Explain it's benefits and negatives.
Agile project management is becoming the industry standard among many IT units. You’ll want to make sure that your response reflects your knowledge of this framework and that you can operate within it effectively. You’ll need to think critically about Agile as well as offer up your personal experiences of it’s benefits and any drawbacks you’ve encountered.
What are your thoughts? Ready to go?
Now there will be many more questions that you face in your interview, but these 5 are typically ones that pop up across many different roles and specialisms. We hope our answers and thoughts prove useful and above all else, we wish you luck in your upcoming interviews. Need a hand? Then reach out and speak with our team.