10 Terraform Interview Questions And Answers (With Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 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.

Terraform is an infrastructure as code (IaC) solution that enables secure and effective infrastructure construction, editing and versioning. If you are preparing for the Terraform interview, you can expect a range of questions from fundamentals to its components and relation with other technologies. Learning about potential interview questions may make it easier for you to advance to the next round of the hiring process. In this article, we list ten Terraform interview questions and answers, explain why the hiring managers ask them and share tips to help you prepare for interviews.

10 Terraform Interview Questions And Answers

Consider the following ten Terraform interview questions and answers to prepare for your next interview:

1. What is Terraform?

Hiring managers may ask such questions early in the interview to evaluate your general understanding of Terraform along with its significance. Explain what Terraform is and then elaborate by illustrating how useful Terraform is in a real-world application.

Example: ‘Terraform is one of the most widely used IaC tools that every cloud engineer uses. It enables me to describe cloud and on-premise resources in configuration files that are readable by humans and to make provision for these resources automatically. Compared to the vast majority of IaC technologies available, Terraform works with various cloud providers. I can use it to run applications across multiple cloud platforms simultaneously efficiently.'

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2. Tell us about the most useful Terraform commands?

The interviewer may ask how you choose to eliminate technical doubts early in the technical phase. To impress the interviewer, use your response to show that you can group various concepts into different classes and explain each group.

Example:Some of the most useful Terraform commands include "terraform refresh" to refresh the state file, the "terraform init" to initialise the current directory and "terraform apply" to apply the Terraform code and builds. Some other important commands are "terraform output" to view Terraform outputs, "terraform graph" to create a dot-formatted graph, "terraform plan" to dry run to find what Terraform does and lastly, "terraform destroy" to destroy or erase what Terraform has built.'

3. What does Terraform cloud mean?

The hiring manager may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the Terraform cloud by responding to this question. Include some instances in your explanation of the Terraform cloud's nature and the importance of Terraform when answering this question.

Example: 'Terraform cloud is a system that provides teams to utilise Terraform collaboratively, often on-demand or in reaction to events. Unlike a generic continuous integration system, the Terraform cloud efficiently connects with the operations and data of Terraform. It provides various crucial features like easy access to shared state and confidential information, full policy controls for modifying infrastructure and managing Terraform content and a private registry for exchanging Terraform modules.'

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4. What do you understand from the resource graph?

The interviewer may ask such questions to evaluate your comprehension of Terraform's resource graph and logical thinking skills. In your response, explain Terraform's resource graph and its application and describe when you use them.

Example:The resources graphs help me represent resource utilisation visually. It allows real-time modification and the creation of separate resources. Terraform generates a configuration plan graph to create plans and update the state. It provides an efficient and effective structure to assist me in understanding the server resource limitations.'

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5. Tell us about the modules available in Terraform.

The interviewer often asks such fundamental questions to gauge your theoretical knowledge. You can demonstrate your deep understanding through your response by including the key details, like the way they work and their file extension.

Example: ‘A Terraform module is a collection of resources utilised collectively. It is a single directory holding configuration files for Terraform. A module is a simple structure comprising a single directory containing one or more files. We refer to the directory as the root module when we execute Terraform commands directly and the file has .tf extension. A configuration's child module is a module that is invoked by another configuration.'

6. How can you store sensitive data in Terraform?

During a Terraform interview, this is one of the most fundamental questions an interviewer may ask. While answering, you can mention the benefits of the technologies like encryption and the utility of tools like Terrahelp.

Example:Terraform requires credentials to interact with the application programming interface (API) of the cloud providers. To protect these sensitive data, I can use the Terrahelp tool, which is a command line and provides encryption for Terraform variables and state files. When I deploy the Terraform, it creates a state file which stores the information in plain text. To maintain the safety of the files, I prefer to use the cloud storage, which offers encryptions.'

7. Define tainted resources.

Hiring managers may enquire about basic terminologies to determine your understanding of Terraform and its features and functions. With your answer, you can demonstrate your understanding of such terms and their importance.

Example answer:A tainted resource is a damaged resource that Terraform destroys and recreates on the next apply command. When a resource becomes tainted, the state files updates, but nothing changes in infrastructure. We can manually make any resource tainted by using the terraform taint command.'

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8. What is the process to upgrade plugins on Terraform?

The interviewer can evaluate your level of research about Terraform by asking you this question. In your answer, mention the steps with the exact commands to demonstrate your depth of knowledge.

Example answer:We start by executing "terraform init" with "-upgrade" option. This command examines "releases.hashicorp.com" to locate updated provider versions. It also downloads the latest provider versions. By default, it downloads to “.terraform/plugins/_” directory.'

9. What procedures do you take to manage rollbacks if something goes wrong?

The interviewer often uses situation-based questions to find your problem-solving abilities. You can demonstrate your skill through your response. You can also consider citing a specific instance from a previous position.

Example answer:To make the previous code version of the new and up-to-date version in my version control system (VCS), I recommit it. Terraform run then runs the old code, which starts the rollback process. I then make sure that everything in the code rolls back to the previous version and test if everything is working fine. If the state file became corrupt, I roll back to the most recent state using Terraform enterprise's state rollback feature.'

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10. Define state file locking?

Such questions help the interviewer gauge your knowledge about file systems. A simple explanation of what state file locking is and how they operate is an excellent method for responding to such questions.

Example answer:Terraform uses state file locking as a method to prevent conflicts when many users are trying to execute the same procedure at once. The other user can control a state only if a user releases the lock. By doing this, it reduces state file corruption.'

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Tips For Preparing For The Terraform Interview

Alongside preparing for the Terraform interview questions and answers, you may consider the following tips to increase your chances of securing the job:

Know what to study

You may already know the related programming and software knowledge the job requires. Research and find which features are most important for the position. Various organisations may have different skill requirements for a specific role. Some businesses may place greater emphasis on specific cloud providers than others. Review the job description and the company website to understand the expectations of the potential employer.

Related: How To Manage Interview Fatigue In 5 Steps (Plus Tips)

Create a plan

It is crucial to prepare for an interview in an organised manner. Systematic planning ensures that you cover all necessary topics and stay motivated. For instance, a roadmap may begin with a review of the Terraform fundamentals, then go through the cloud server setup and finally go through more advanced concepts.

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Practice interviewing

Try to practice common answers a few times before your interview. It is often helpful to prepare the words and phrases you wish to use in the interview to ensure you highlight your credibility and add value to your candidature. You can also ask a friend or a colleague to set up a demo interview and request feedback to identify areas of improvement and work on them accordingly.

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Prepare questions to ask

The interview is also an opportunity for you to get answers to job or organisation-related questions. It is often helpful to come prepared with pertinent questions to ask at the end. You may bring a printed sheet or a notepad containing your questions for the interviewer. This demonstrates your proactive nature and interest in the role.

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

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