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Are there any docker and kubernetes questions asked in tech interviews for Software Engineer role?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon2 months ago

One of the disadvantages of working at Amazon is that I don’t have enough experience working with Docker and Kubernetes anymore and frequently asked during recruiter calls if I know the technologies. I wrote a few Dockerfiles couple of years ago and I am pretty confident I will be able to pick it up if I have to use it on daily basis again.

  1. Should I be expected to know basics for tech interviews?
  2. What level of expertise should I have to say that I know docker and kubernetes to a hiring manager or recruiter?
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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Should I be expected to know basics for tech interviews?

    If you're more on the cloud / deployment / SRE side of back-end, then yes. Otherwise, I doubt it. But it is impossible to predict what tech companies ask in interviews as they are random and not standardized. A bigger company like Amazon will be more tech-agnostic of candidates, but smaller companies (especially startups), will obviously want you to be fluent with their specific stack to hit the ground running.

    What level of expertise should I have to say that I know docker and kubernetes to a hiring manager or recruiter?

    They're looking for work experience. If you don't have it, then there's not too much you can do in the short-term (1-2 months), at least in this market. Longer-term, I recommend trying to get practical experience on the side to master these technologies if you find that a huge portion of interviews are falling through for you due to your current lack of expertise.

    If you really want to deepen your expertise here (at least with Docker), there is an awesome website called CodeCrafters where you can literally build your own Docker from scratch. As a Taro Premium member, you get a big discount here: https://www.jointaro.com/perks/

  • 2
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    Software Engineer @ Wikimedia Foundation
    2 months ago

    I’ve definitely been asked super basic questions in more than one interview. In my case, it seemed like they wanted to know my familiarity/experience around it, and even if I liked it. If it helps, I was applying to mid-level SWE roles (2023). As basic as,

    • Why did you guys decide to Dockerize your service? What did you think/how did you find it useful?

    • What role did Argo play for your Kubernetes workflow? In what ways did you find Kubernetes improve deployments, process, etc?

    I think I’d feel safer anticipating it if it’s mentioned as part of the job description.

  • 2
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    Software Engineer @ Wikimedia Foundation
    2 months ago

    I came back to say that it would be cool to befriend some Cloud/DevOps people that your team works closely with (or in regular communication with? Actually, idk how it works at Amazon) and see if you could 'shadow' them every now and again. I snooped in on some of ours, with good excuse because they were deploying stuff for our team, and I learned a ton; I was lucky with some super friendly people who were happy to explain what was going on.

  • 2
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    Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon
    2 months ago

    Anecdotal but there was an interview I had with a startup where I needed to write a program and host it on a docker image/container to call a given free public API.

    Software engineering interviews will not typically ask containerization questions but infra/platform positions likely will.

    Remember, not all platform/infrastructure-based positions exclusively use Docker so try to understand the different ways software is hosted on AWS/GCP/Azure (for example Serverless vs Container-based architectures)