You have finally achieved your AWS certification and your job application has secured you an interview. Congratulations! Now, you have all reasons to smile because opportunities abound to take your career to the next level. Organizations around the world need your services, and you’re all set for a rewarding and lucrative career.
However, job interviews can be quite intimidating. How do you nail them when you’re feeling nervous?
The most important thing is to prepare for the questions you will be asked in an AWS job interview.
Preparing well for an AWS interview is a great way to gain confidence and gain an edge over your competition. AWS interview questions can be tricky and cover more than just the technical aspects of the AWS Cloud. You need to ensure you have practiced your responses in advance. In this article, we will look at what to expect in an AWS interview and how to go about the preparation.
But first…Why AWS?
Before looking at some interview preparation tips, below are a few key facts you need to know about AWS:
- AWS certification is considered the highest paying level of credentials in the modern market. This is enough reason to start looking for a digital cloud training expert and start your AWS certification course if you haven’t already!
- According to ZipRecruiter, the average monthly salary of an AWS solutions architect is $128,858 per year. This is pretty impressive, huh?
- AWS has a 47.8% market share, making it the king of cloud computing service providers.
The points above are not meant to market AWS in any way, but they are a clear message that there are many job prospects and strong demand for cloud practitioners who can manage AWS applications and processes.
How to Prepare for AWS Interview Questions
If you have applied for a job as an AWS cloud practitioner or AWS solutions architect, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to believe you are an expert and don’t need to prepare. As the well known quote from Benjamin Franklin goes: “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”. To beat other candidates in a highly competitive job market and secure the job you have been yearning for, you need to be fully prepared. Below are some tips you need to remember:
Research the Company
Before going to any interview, AWS included, make sure you research the company. Interviewers can tell if you have done thorough research about the place you want to work in, and they love it when you know a lot already about the company.
If you haven’t done enough research about the company, your competitors might get ahead of you since you might fail basic questions like:
- What do you know about us?
- Why did you choose to apply for this job in this company?
- Why did you apply for this position?
The start of an interview is your time to shine! It’s time to make an impression. Therefore, don’t walk in with zero knowledge of the business since this could be the fastest way to shoot yourself in the foot and fail to get the job! Arm yourself with adequate knowledge about the business, who they are, how they make money, who their typical clients are, and more. Of course, you don’t have to be an expert on their business, but at least learn some basics.
Prepare to Talk about Specific Accomplishments
The reasons why many AWS job candidates fail to get well-paying jobs despite acing their AWS certification exams is because they make general statements and talk in general terms when explaining their accomplishments. To set yourself apart, make sure you prepare specific facts and speak about details. Ensure you have facts and numbers to show what you accomplished in your previous jobs.
However, it is worth noting that interviewers are less interested in what you did in your previous role than in how you did it. Due to the scope of work of an AWS cloud practitioner, they may not be interested in how you rose to become a team leader in your other job, but they may want to know how you handled doubt, rejection, adversity, and not being supported.
Therefore, don’t spend too much time speaking about your accomplishments. Instead, spend more time talking about how you solved problems and overcame various handles to achieve success!
Train yourself to Handle Adversity
Be prepared for the fact that AWS interview questions won’t necessarily be a walk in the park. You will be asked basic questions at the beginning, but as the interview progresses, be ready to answer technical questions regarding the position you have applied for.
As they say, when things get tough, only the tough get going! When asked a challenging question, don’t bury yourself in the sand. Role play how you handled the challenging situations in your past experience. See — there is no universal way of answering these types of questions. As long as you can apply how you solved problems in the past, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t impress the interviewers! Remember, interviewers are people like you, and they face challenges in their roles every day. If you demonstrate that you can solve everyday problems, you are undoubtedly the perfect candidate they are looking for.
Keep in mind that Interviewers are Writing Everything Down. Don’t be too Fast!
An AWS interview is a data point-driven interview. As you speak, interviewers must write everything down. The information collected will then be used for evaluation. Therefore, when preparing for the interview, make sure you comprehend the main points that you will talk about. During the interview, compose yourself and answer all questions in an accurate and concise manner. Don’t be distracted when you see them typing as you give responses. Talk at a speed they can document, and don’t be esoteric.
Don’t Skip Fundamental Questions
One critical thing you should remember as you prepare for the AWS interview is that you should not skip questions. If you do, you cannot come back to them later. In case you do, the interviewers will have the perception that you are trying to make things up, or avoid answering, which might not be the case. When you are asked a fundamental question, make an effort to give the best answer even if you aren’t sure. It is better to die trying than not try at all!
Be Honest and Tell them if you don’t Know
As you just learned, you shouldn’t skip questions. But note that we were discussing fundamental questions. If you are asked about non-core stuff that you don’t know about, don’t waste time giving answers to what you don’t know. Tell them you don’t know. It’s better to be transparent than appear to be making things up.
Get as Detailed as you can
Most questions are open-ended questions. For you to stick out from the crowd, be as detailed as you can. If there are some aspects of the questions you don’t understand, ask clarifying questions. Even if you are asked a question whose answer seems to be a definition of something like: “what is AWS and how does it work?” put your answer in some context whenever you can. This will give you data points that might increase your chances of getting the job!
Demonstrate the Ability to Clearly Communicate Technical Concepts
Employers really value employees who can effectively communicate technical concepts. Communication is a massively important skill and even if you’re a technical wizard, if you can’t communicate well to others, especially those without such a deep technical background, this is going to be a major disadvantage. Many AWS interview questions will ask you to explain a technical concept and you should attempt to communicate it as clearly and effectively as you can. Imagine you are explaining the concept to someone with far less knowledge than you and you will come across more clearly.
Prepare to Answer Questions on a Broad Selection of Topics
AWS interview questions will usually be broader in nature rather than deeper. This means you need to ensure you have an understanding of a broad selection of services that may come up in questions. Make sure you fully understand how the following services and features work and how businesses can benefit from them.
- AWS Cloud Benefits: Make sure you read the 6 advantages of cloud computing by AWS and be able to explain these concepts and how they are advantageous to companies.
- Compute services: Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing and AWS LightSail.
- Storage services: Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, Amazon EFS, AWS Storage Gateway, Amazon S3 Glacier.
- Networking: Amazon VPC, route tables, security groups, network ACLs, AWS Direct Connect, Amazon VPN, AWS Transit Gateway.
- Content delivery and acceleration: AWS CloudFront and AWS Global Accelerator — make sure you’re clear on the differences and use cases.
- Databases: Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon EMR.
- AWS Global Infrastructure: Make sure you can easily explain the differences between AWS Regions, Availability Zones, Edge Locations, Regional Edge Caches and AWS Local Zones.
- Migrating to the cloud: Be able to explain hybrid cloud scenarios and the AWS tools companies can use to migrate servers, storage and databases into AWS.
- AWS Well Architected Framework: Make sure you understand the 5 pillars of the well architected framework ahead of your interview.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but these topics are highly likely to come up and are essential knowledge for anyone who works with Amazon Web Services.
You can do all the preparation you like but lack confidence on the big day! This might result in missing out on the job you have been dreaming about all your life. There are a few ways that can help boost your confidence before and during the interview. They include:
- Use breathing techniques: By taking a deep breath, you will calm your nerves and gain some confidence.
- Be kind to yourself before the interview: Dispel negative thoughts that come your way, and don’t be afraid to sell yourself.
Imagine yourself succeeding: This will not only improve your self-confidence but also boost your self-esteem.
- Prepare and rehearse answers out loud: Research possible AWS interview questions and rehearse the answers aloud. You can even do so in front of your friends, and this will go a long way in boosting your confidence.
- Make friends with your anxiety and smile: This might sound a bit silly, but it is a fantastic way to smile at anxiety and gain confidence.
With these tips in mind, devise a strong resume, attend your AWS interview, ace it, and get your dream job. Good luck!
For more information, check out this interview on How to best position yourself for an AWS job in 2021 on our youtube channel.
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