Eliza Pepper · 14th April 2023
So you want to be a DevOps Engineer? We'll help you prepare for your interview
The demand for DevOps engineers in the Salesforce ecosystem is increasing, and more and more Salesforce professionals are interested in furthering their career in this role or transferring to it. As Salesforce DevOps engineering differs both from DevOps engineering on other platforms and traditional Salesforce development roles, it can be hard to know what to expect from an interview for the role.
Read on for our interview tips and tricks to help you land your dream role in Salesforce DevOps engineering.
What is Salesforce DevOps Engineering?
‘Salesforce DevOps Engineer’ may be an unfamiliar role to many in the ecosystem, but with 85% of teams now reporting that they have implemented or are planning to implement DevOps in their Salesforce teams, we’re likely to see a significant increase in demand for this role.
It’s easiest to understand Salesforce DevOps engineering through comparing it against a traditional developer role. Whereas Salesforce developers work on specific features to meet a specific business requirement, often in sprints, a Salesforce DevOps engineer designs the systems that allow development and releases to run smoothly.
Salesforce DevOps engineers ultimately take a more holistic approach than developers, by examining the practices that shape day-to-day workflows. This is done to encourage harmony between development and operational work, alongside streamlining processes to meet business needs.
What are interviewers looking for in a candidate?
As a Salesforce DevOps engineer, you are expected to have both the interpersonal and technical skills needed to bridge the silos between development and operation teams. Technically, this means having a firm grasp on a variety of features in the Salesforce platform and experience of both developing Salesforce releases and monitoring them.
Soft skills are also highly valued in DevOps engineers. In order to design processes that work across the development cycle, you’ll need to effectively communicate with various individuals across the Salesforce team and in the wider company. Balancing the differing demands may be one of the hardest aspects of the job — you’ll need to create DevOps processes that are a technical and cultural fit, but know when it’s right to push your team out of their comfort zone.
What to expect from Salesforce DevOps Engineer interviews
You can expect that your interviews will be broken down into broadly three categories:
- Technical interviews that will need you to demonstrate your technical knowledge of DevOps and different Salesforce platform areas.
- Scenario-based interview questions, which assess your reaction to hypothetical situations.
- Behavioral or values-based interviews, considering soft skills and team fit.
Technical interview questions
You can expect some of the technical questions that come up in any DevOps Engineer interview. At a junior to mid level, these will likely focus on DevOps and deployment tools, alongside version control systems. For those applying for more senior DevOps Engineer roles, you may also be asked to discuss the best practices and tooling for automation or CI/CD, but it’s worth putting some thought into this even if you’re applying at a more junior level. Some example DevOps Engineer interview questions are:
- “How does DevOps differ from Agile?”
- “What’s the difference between continuous deployment, continuous delivery and continuous integration?”
- “What’s your preferred branching strategy, and why?”
You can also expect to face Salesforce-specific questions that test your understanding of various platform areas. These questions will vary between asking about the practicalities of development work through to process-based considerations. You might be asked generic development questions, such as:
- “How would you complete a refresh of a partial copy sandbox environment?”
- “What is Apex coding syntax?”
- “How do you handle merge conflicts during a deployment?”
- “What are the different types of events in Salesforce Lightning components?”
Through to questions on Salesforce workflows, like:
- “Can you explain the Salesforce development lifecycle?”
- “What automation tools have you used for a Salesforce CI/CD process?”
- “What are some technical limitations that you’ve faced when implementing DevOps practices at different organizations?”
A great way to prepare for these technical questions is to brush up on your Salesforce DevOps knowledge through learning platforms.
Scenario-based interview questions
Scenario-based interviews assess your approach to hypothetical situations that you may face in your role as a Salesforce DevOps engineer. They test both your technical knowledge and your attitude. You do not necessarily need to have previous experience of any of the scenarios. Instead, we recommend that you focus on clearly stating what your approach would be in the situation. Some example scenario-based interview questions are:
- “How would you introduce the use of version control systems?”
- “What would you do if a new release broke your production environment?”
- “How would you assess an organization’s existing release management and support system?”
There isn’t one right answer to any of these questions, so just focus on applying your technical knowledge as you walk the interviewer through the steps you would take in this scenario.
Behavioral interview questions
The behavioral interview tends to come at the end of the interview process. If you’ve made it to this stage, you’ve already proven that you have the experience and technical knowledge needed to be successful in this role. What the behavioral interview is interested in is whether you’ll fit within the company culture and embody the values of the organization. They tend to ask questions about your past experiences to assess your working style, such as:
- “Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict in the workplace and how you dealt with this.”
- “Explain a time when you had limited capacity. How did you prioritize your various projects?”
- “Tell us about a time when you solved a problem at your job that wasn't part of your job description.”
For any behavioral question, it’s best to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to clearly relay the situation and your response.
Level up to secure your dream role
If you’re preparing for a Salesforce DevOps engineer role, it’s critical to acquire and demonstrate good knowledge of Salesforce DevOps. Why not try out some of our courses to help you level up? The Salesforce DevOps Fundamentals Certificate is a great way to show that you have all the essential concepts covered, and the Salesforce DevOps Leadership Certificate would suit those aiming for more senior roles. There’s plenty available in the DevOps Launchpad library, and all our courses and certifications are completely free to access!
Keen to keep learning? Gearset’s virtual DevOps Summit is just around the corner, on March 12th. Sign up now to discover the latest trends, as DevOps Advocate Jack McCurdy presents the results from the State of Salesforce DevOps 2024!
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