10 AWS Interview Questions You May Encounter (with Answers)
Interviewers may ask questions about Amazon Web Services (AWS) to assess whether you have the skills and experience to succeed in a tech role. Cloud architects, developers, systems administrators and network engineers all use AWS skills. Exploring example AWS questions and answers can give you confidence and help you prepare for your job interview.
In this article, we list 10 AWS interview questions with example answers and explain why interviewers ask them.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
AWS interview questions with example answers
Consider the following example answers to AWS interview questions that you may encounter:
1. What are the advantages of AWS cloud computing for businesses?
Interviewers ask this question to ensure you understand the technology's benefits. When you know what technology is useful for a business, you can assess it and decide when to retire systems and introduce new ones. Providing several benefits in your answer shows you have a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of AWS for a business.
Example answer: ‘Rather than investing heavily in data servers and centres up front, AWS lets a business pay a smaller amount as it uses the service. Because many customers use AWS, the provider can reduce the cost of its services. Eliminating maintenance for data centres further reduces costs for a business. AWS is also easily scalable, allowing businesses to use as much or as little capacity as they require. Its robust infrastructure is fast, reliable and secure, so businesses can operate efficiently and keep the data they work with safe'.
2. What are the differences between Amazon EC2 and S3?
An interviewer may ask this question to confirm you understand how these two services differ. Your answer can mention how they're different and why consumers use them. You may also explain what these services support.
Example answer: 'EC2 is a cloud web service and S3 is a data storage system. You can use EC2 to host web applications, while S3 can store any amount of data. EC2 supports operating systems, such as Windows and Unix, and various databases and programming languages, such as PHP and Python. S3 supports the use of HMAC-SHA1 authentication keys.'
3. What's the biggest challenge of running an AWS environment?
This question aims to assess your critical thinking skills. When answering, identify an issue that impacts the way you work. You can then mention the steps you take to minimise the effect of this issue.
Example answer: ‘I think security remains the biggest challenge. While the cloud is very safe, especially when using a major platform such as AWS, the work we do can jeopardise security. While debug mode can help the team fix bugs efficiently, security can become compromised if the application finds an error and prints a stack trace and environment variables on the screen. I recommend always hiding non-production environments behind a VPN and storing credentials securely in AWS Parameter Store or AWS Secrets Manager to reduce risk. I also limit public access to S3 buckets and permissions'.
4. What is AWS Elastic Beanstalk?
This question aims to determine your knowledge of this computing service. A clear answer defines the service and explains its usage. You could also mention the languages and servers it's compatible with.
Example answer: ‘AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a computing service for deploying and scaling web applications and services in the cloud. I use AWS Elastic Beanstalk to work with applications and services developed with various languages, including Java, PHP, Python and Ruby. It's also compatible with various servers, such as Apache, Passenger and Internet Information Services. It helps manage the life cycle of web applications and services.'
5. When do you use the different load balancers in AWS Elastic Load Balancing?
This question tests whether you can identify AWS Elastic Load Balancing's three different load balancers. It also confirms that you know when it's appropriate to use each one. An informative answer mentions all three load balancers.
Example answer: ‘Application load balancer is useful when I need flexible application management and TLS termination. I use network load balancers for applications requiring extreme performance and static IPs. Classic load balancer is useful for working with legacy applications built with the EC2 Classic network'.
6. What's your greatest skill as an AWS developer?
This question seeks to determine whether your skills align with the employer's needs. Focus your answer on a skill listed in the job description as being essential or preferred for the role. You might also highlight an advanced AWS skill that makes you a more attractive candidate. Consider using facts or anecdotes to support your claims.
Example answer: ‘Infrastructure automation is my greatest skill. I've had two years' experience structuring infrastructure and building it into templates using tools such as AWS CloudFormation so it can be easily replicated for similar projects in the future. This automation reduces manual infrastructure, which can save a business time and reduce the risk of errors. With the automated infrastructure in place, the development team can also spend less time on maintenance and more time on revenue-generating projects, so this skill makes me a real asset'.
7. What are snapshots?
This question tests your understanding of a feature of Amazon Lightsail. A knowledgeable answer explains what the feature does. Try to detail the benefits of using snapshots.
Example answer: ‘Snapshots are a feature of Amazon Lightsail, which creates point-in-time backups. Snapshots can be backups of EC2 instances, databases or block storage drives. You can also create them automatically or manually at any time. You can use snapshots to restore your resources, so they're a useful way to safeguard against accidental data loss or damage from breaches. Restored resources function in the same way as the original resources used to create the snapshots'.
8. Why did you decide to become AWS certified?
The interviewer may ask this question after reviewing your resume to learn what motivated you to complete the certification. It can help an interviewer understand what motivates you and how you benefited from the certification program. Explain what you learned and how the certification helped you do your job better. You can also mention any additional certifications you're pursuing.
Example answer: ‘When applying for my last job, I noticed many employers wanted developers proficient in cloud-based applications. As this technology was new to me, I enrolled to become an AWS Certified Developer Associate. The course gave me an overview of the core AWS functions, when to use them and AWS architecture best practices. The foundational knowledge it provided helped me get a job and start developing, deploying and debugging cloud-based applications. As I've been enjoying developing and running deep learning workloads in the AWS cloud recently, I'm planning on securing the machine learning speciality certification in a year's time'.
9. Can you tell me about a time when you used an AWS feature to resolve an issue?
This question aims to assess your problem-solving skills and experience using different AWS features. An answer shows you can identify the right AWS service for your needs. The STAR method can help you clearly explain the situation, task, actions you took and results.
Example answer: ‘My last job involved developing the website of a major ticketing agency. It had extremely high levels of traffic between 8:30 and 9:30am when tickets typically went on sale. During these times, users often experienced outages and slow loading times. Autoscaling helped me configure the website to support more users and reduce common challenges. Users were much happier with the agency's service, and its sales improved by 15%'.
10. What are the pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework?
This question tests your technical AWS knowledge and understanding. Name all six pillars and explain why paying attention to them matters. Sustainability is a relatively recent addition to the AWS Well-Architected Framework's pillars. If the interviewer asks you to name five pillars, you might politely note that there are now six pillars, including sustainability.
Example answer: 'The six pillars are operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimisation and sustainability. These pillars form the foundation of any successful AWS project. Considering all six pillars helps teams build a stable, efficient cloud-based system that meets specifications and expectations'.
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