10 AWS Interview Questions And Answers

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 1 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform that enables developers and organisations to use on-demand computing architecture and software. It allows access to computing resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. Many enterprises and companies are choosing AWS as their preferred cloud provider. If you are applying for a job in AWS, it can be helpful to know the typical AWS interview questions to prepare efficiently. In this article, we would look at some questions you may be asked in an AWS interview and their answers.

Related: What Is An AWS Certification? (With Types And Benefits)

What Kind Of AWS Interview Questions Can You Expect?

A typical AWS interview usually includes general questions about AWS. But, the AWS system requires a range of job specialties for its operations, such as software development, administration or networking. So, you may encounter some specific questions depending on the position you are applying for.

Still, many interviewers ask questions about the fundamentals of AWS and its operational basics. Therefore, it is a good idea to complete a course covering the fundamentals of AWS.

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Sample AWS Interview Questions With Answers

Check these sample interview questions and answers to get an idea about a typical AWS interview:

1. What is AWS?

Most employers ask this question for introductory or junior roles. It checks your basic knowledge about AWS and helps to set the flow of conversation for more technical topics. To answer this question, you can explain what the acronym means and give a brief overview of the system.

Example: "AWS is short for Amazon Web Services. It is a cloud computing provider which provides scalable, secure computing services to individuals and organisations. AWS gives access to these services on a need-to-use basis. So there is no requirement to purchase and maintain physical servers, data storage and software."

Related: 8 Popular AWS Certifications To Consider Pursuing

2. What is the alternative to cloud computing?

Some interviewers require to see if you are aware of private server hosting. Your answer is required to be straightforward and direct.

Example: "The alternative to cloud computing is private server hosting or traditional hosting. It used to be the primary way to host websites before cloud computing became mainstream."

Related: 35 Interview Questions For a Cloud Engineer (With Answers)

3. Which services does AWS offer?

Interviewers use this question to test your knowledge of different AWS cloud computing services. Then they usually branch out and ask specific questions about different services. Start by mentioning the three main types and then give one or two examples of each.

Example: "AWS offers all three types of cloud computing services. They are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

IaaS consists of core hardware and networking resources. Using IaaS, developers can build their own platforms or software services from scratch, right from installing an operating system (OS). An example would be the Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2), which allows you to run and manage virtual servers.

PaaS includes networked hardware, pre-installed operating systems with regular updates and maintenance as part of a complete development platform. It gives you the freedom to just use development software to deploy your applications or services. An example of PaaS is AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

SaaS is a complete solution for providing end-user services or applications that run on its own hardware and platform, such as an email service or a cybersecurity suite. Examples of SaaS include Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), Amazon GuardDuty and AWS Shield."

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4. What are the different AWS instances?

This question often prompts some candidates to say, "spot and on-demand instances." The actual answer is a bit more comprehensive. Interviewers check if you can differentiate between a computing instance and a purchasing choice. Start your answer with an overview of a typical Amazon EC2 instance. Provide the different configuration types and then explain the instance purchasing options.

Example: "An Amazon EC2 instance is either a dedicated computer or a shared virtual machine running on a host computer with a specific configuration of hardware, storage and networking capacity. Amazon EC2 offers different configurations for both, depending on the usage requirements of its customers. The five instance types are general purpose, compute optimised, memory optimised, storage optimised and accelerated computing.

Amazon EC2 has seven purchasing options. They are on-demand instances, savings plans, reserved instances, spot instances, dedicated hosts, dedicated instances and capacity reservations."

5. How are Windows EC2 instances different from Linux EC2 instances?

Some businesses use a combination of EC2 Windows and Linux instances. So, the employers try to judge if you know their key differences. You can start with an introductory answer with the main difference. Then you can list some features unique to each type of instance. The interviewers can then ask more detailed questions about some of these differences.

Example: "Windows instances are launched using Windows Server AMIs, whereas Linux instances are launched with the Amazon Linux 2 AMI. Windows instances have an added package called Elastic Graphics, a cost-efficient alternative to dedicated GPU-based graphics acceleration instances. Some Amazon Linux 2 AMIs come pre-configured with MATE desktop environment, which provides a GUI similar to Windows. But, Windows instances are costlier than Linux instances because they require additional Microsoft licensing."

6. Whether you require to choose spot instances or on-demand instances to work with GameLift?

Such questions are important for development companies that produce online multiplayer games. These employers like to know if you understand how to balance the use of spot instances and on-demand ones. To answer this question effectively, try to provide an explanation based on player metrics.

Example: "While working with GameLift, we are required to initially consider working only with spot instances to monitor concurrent player logins during different times of the day. When we have enough data about the patterns of active players, we can keep using cost-effective spot instances during low player activity. To handle higher player traffic, we can switch to the availability and scale of the on-demand instances. They can be scheduled in the Auto Scaling group, but AWS requires the use of a certain number of on-demand instances before we can launch both in combination."

7. How do you monitor an Amazon EC2 Linux instance?

Some employers test your knowledge about using Amazon EC2 for their specific business requirements. In such a case, make sure you explain automated and manual monitoring, which conforms to their specification. It also helps if you can mention the tools available on EC2 and CloudWatch dashboards.

Example: "We can monitor Amazon EC2 Linux instances with automated and manual monitoring tools. The automated tools such as CloudWatch Alarms and CloudWatch EventBridge allow setting up alarms and responses based on pre-configured rules. CloudWatch Logs provides monitoring, storing and accessing logs of the EC2 instances, whereas CloudWatch Agent gathers event logs from both the host and the instance.

Automatic monitoring is useful when you require AWS to fix the problems. Manual monitoring is useful to check resource usage, monitor alarm status, view overall health status, discover trends via graphs in metrics or traffic and set up notifications for alarms and events."

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8. What is the difference between vertical and horizontal scaling?

This question is a precursor to detailed questions about vertical and horizontal scaling. So, try to differentiate between the two as concisely as possible.

Example: "Vertical scaling refers to increasing the capacity of a current machine or an instance. Horizontal scaling means adding more hosts or instances to the existing ones."

9. Can you create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using AWS?

Knowledge about networking and VPNs is critical for jobs such as Network Development Engineer. Mention the features in brief and try to provide a short comparison of the VPC with EC2-Classic.

Example: "Yes. We can create a VPN using the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). It allows us to set up IP addresses, gateways, subnets and create routing tables. We can use VPC to create a separate, logical network that connects to the internet or our own databases. By default, the VPC uses IPv4 CIDR blocks, but it allows you to create an IPv6 CIDR block and assign addresses from it.

It is different from the EC2-Classic, which had a single network shared by all customers. Amazon still allows the use of EC2-Classic for AWS accounts created before 2013. But, new accounts created after that date default to VPC for launching any instance."

Related: What Is a Peer-to-Peer Network?

10. Can you tell us how you solved a problem using AWS?

You can use this question as an opportunity to show the interviewers how you used your creativity and innovative idea to solve a critical problem.

Example: "In my previous company, we had to render a complex scene with lots of raytraced effects in a limited time. Our render farm was taking longer, increasing our computational costs.

To optimise the instance distribution, I used the AWS Compute Optimiser to set Autoscaling groups for maximum capacity on complex scene data and minimum for blank areas to save both cost and time. With this initiative, we completed the project three days before the due date."

Related: What Is An AWS Solutions Architect? A Complete Guide

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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