8 common Azure interview questions & how to answer them
By Lina Arshad
The time and effort put into creating the perfect resume for your dream Azure job has landed you an interview, and while you’ll no doubt already have done some prep, it’s worth knowing what to expect when you get into the interview room (or Zoom!).
Interviews are a chance for employers to get to know you personally, so it only makes sense that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the questions you could be asked. Everything from your answers, to your experience and hobbies could dictate where the conversation goes. That being said, when applying for an Azure job, it’s to be expected that there will be some set questions for your employer to ask, to determine your knowledge and understanding of cloud architecture, integrations, and migrations.
Although it’s never guaranteed, you can almost always bet you’ll be asked some competency-style questions that you won’t find the answers to in a book or with a quick Google search. These questions demand that you explore your own personal experiences and abilities within the Azure landscape, including how and why you made the decisions you did in certain situations.
Despite these all being based on your own experiences, doing some prep ahead of your interview to know which examples you should use to demonstrate which soft skill e.g., problem-solving, teamwork etc., will cut out the stress of having to think of an example on the spot. Just make sure you don’t sound too rehearsed and robotic when sharing these—you want your personality to shine throughout the interview!
If you’ve recently bagged yourself an interview for your dream role, we’ve got you covered! Here, we share some common Microsoft Azure interview questions that could come up…
How would you describe cloud computing to someone completely new to the industry?
This might seem like a simple question for someone of your experience in the industry, but the answer you give will be a great indication of the depth of knowledge you have. It’s all too easy to have memorized a definition you learned a couple of years ago stored in your mind, but by asking you to explain it in layman’s terms, the interviewer will be looking to see just how much you understand the technologies involved. Your response also shows how effectively you can communicate—a key skill needed when working with such complex products and services.
Be prepared to answer follow-up questions or for interjections where the interviewer might want further clarification on something you’ve said to mimic how the conversation could go in real life with someone new to the technology. Be sure to stay patient and have a couple of different ways of explaining and examples to back up what you mean, so your answer is crystal clear, and your knowledge is undisputed.
For bonus points (and to potentially answer their next questions), it might be worth mentioning how Azure is a cloud computing service itself and briefly explain how it offers everything from data storage, to service hosting and management.
What are the main cloud models in Azure, and when would you use each?
Understanding the options Azure has to offer in the deployment of cloud resources is key knowledge for any Azure professional to possess, so it would be unsurprising for this question to come up in your interview.
Not only will you be expected to know that the main models are private, public and hybrid cloud, but you’ll also need to demonstrate your understanding of when these would need to be deployed. Of course, simply explaining with a definition is the most basic way of answering, so for some added brownie points, think of a real-life example of when you’ve implemented any (or all) of these models and why they were best suited given the circumstances at hand. Describing any challenges you ran into and how you overcame these will add some extra depth to your answer.
Describe the main features of X
Your interviewer will want to be assured that you keep up with the latest industry news and updates, and this includes knowing about new product launches and what these newbies will add to the landscape.
Although it might seem like an easy question considering you work with these sorts of features day in and day out, it’s all too easy for you to draw a complete blank when you’re under the pressure of an interview. No matter how confident you feel about answering this question, it’ll be well worth doing some prep beforehand—even if it’s as simple as making a mind map to help you visualize and recall the main features of products you expect will be mentioned in your Azure interview.
What are your strengths and weaknesses with using Azure?
Identifying your own successes and pitfalls is a typical, universal interview question with an aim to encourage self-reflection. While it can be all too tempting to avoid placing much emphasis on the things you can’t do, it’s important that you are honest about what aspects of Azure you’re not as confident with. It’s highly unlikely that this will be the deciding factor on whether you’ve got the job or not given you’ve been offered an interview already, but it gives the interviewer time to put a training plan in place to get you up to speed, if they did want to hire you. When asked or volunteering information about the things you’re not as confident or clued up with, it’ll be important to showcase your willingness to learn and develop on your skills – particularly as cloud tech moves so fast so there is likely always going to be something new to learn.
When it comes to discussing to your strengths, don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet! That’s exactly what this sort of question is designed for; to give you an opportunity to showcase your skills and really sell yourself to the interviewer. Plus, if you’re feeling a little uneasy about listing your weaknesses, following up by telling them about all the complex and demanding tasks you can do is sure to mediate any feelings of nervousness.
Explain the projects in your Azure portfolio
It’s all well and good being able to rattle off a list of implementations or migrations you’ve worked on, but interviewers will want to see how deeply you can explain these to assess your level of ability with Azure. If you’ve completed a lot of Azure projects, think about picking a range of different types to explain. Whether that means selecting a handful of different product implementations you’ve carried out, or covering a range of deployment models, it’s important to talk about a variety when asked this Azure interview question.
The interviewers will also be looking for examples of intuitive thinking when things have gone awry. Even if the issue you encountered was as a result of you doing something incorrectly, honestly explaining this and describing how you went about your next steps will demonstrate your desirable skills like problem-solving that are key for a job in the Azure ecosystem.
What skills do you possess that you think are key for learning Azure?
Acknowledging the skills you have and showing how these have either been transferable to learning Azure or been learnt specifically to help with implementations will be important. Working with a cloud platform is demanding and requires a lot of focus and knowledge so be sure to highlight this in your answer.
Although there are a probably a number of skills you’ve painstakingly perfected in your journey to Azure success, interviewers are most likely looking for you to mention the following three skills at some point in your answer:
- Cloud computing: Azure is much easier to learn once you’ve had experience with another cloud platform such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- Programming: Some Azure projects will involve developing applications, so having some knowledge of open-source frameworks like SQL server and similar products will give you a steppingstone to success.
- Knowledge of other Microsoft products: Having a good grasp on how other Microsoft products, like Office 365, work will give you an advantage when learning how to integrate these services with Azure.
What area(s) of Azure would you say you are most skilled in?
The beauty of the Azure cloud platform is that there is so much you can do with it. With that being said, it’s more than likely that those interviewing you will want to know which of these products you’re most confident and comfortable with.
Whether you’ve got a knack for working with Azure Database, or you’re a dab-hand with Kubernetes, this is your time to truly shine. No employer will expect you to know everything about Azure, but this is a good opportunity to point out what aspects of the cloud platform you’re confident in, and to what extent. Should you not be that clued up on other aspects they ask you about, or that are in the job description, make sure you’re honest about this.
Employers will never resent openness, but they might feel pretty irked if you’ve told them you can do certain tasks when you can’t, as this can disrupt the smooth running of things. Any company that is keen to hire you will offer training to bridge skills gaps you might have, so you needn’t worry about not having all of the desirable skills and experience if you’re already at interview stage.
What do you think the future of Azure looks like?
Azure is among Microsoft’s largest and fastest growing products, and there is certainly plenty of potential for it to experience massive adoption in the coming years. Your answer is completely up to you, so focus on where you truly feel Azure is moving according to your own knowledge and experience using it.
However you choose to answer the question, make sure you acknowledge the unlimited potential of Azure from a current perspective. It’s more than just a cloud platform; it’s now become critical infrastructure for the connected world and as a result, is likely to play a big part in the next technology wave and advancements.
Best of luck for your interview! Hopefully with our list of common Microsoft Azure interview questions, you feel more prepared for what’s behind that interview door or meeting link.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to make yourself stand out against your competition, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of our career advice. We cover tips on everything from resume optimization, to salary negotiation, and even round-ups of the best Azure training you should undertake to develop your knowledge even further!