Continuous integration is a practice in software development that combines all copies of a software engineer’s work into a shared file that each professional can access. Because many software developers work in teams, this is an important practice for these professionals to understand how to perform. If you are interviewing for a position in this field, the hiring manager may likely ask questions to confirm your understanding of this topic. In this article, we share examples of interview questions involving continuous integration, including sample answers and tips to help you prepare for your interview.
8 sample continuous integration interview questions and answers
Practicing your answers to interview questions aloud can help you feel more comfortable and prepared for an interview. To help you prepare for interview questions regarding continuous integration, consider these example questions and answers:
1. Do you have experience with continuous integration?
Interviewers ask this basic question to ensure that candidates have the proper understanding of this practice, as it’s an important part of working on a software development team. When explaining your experience, try to express your familiarity with continuous integration by providing context for times you’ve used continuous integration and how much experience you have with it.
Example: “In my previous role, I used this principle in the early stages of my projects because it often helped my team identify any issues in our code and design. This allowed us to create solutions for any errors and helped us complete our projects more quickly.”
2. Can you explain the differences between continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment?
Interviewers ask this question to ensure you have knowledge about topics related to continuous integration and understand how to successfully use continuous integration in a work environment. When answering this question, be sure to establish that you understand the differences in these terms’ uses and definitions. If possible, consider briefly sharing your experience with using these practices to assure the interviewer that you understand these software development practices completely.
Example: “Continuous integration, delivery, and deployment each have different purposes, and I use them at different project stages. In my last position, I used continuous integration to work on code and store it. With the use of continuous delivery, I could share this information with internal personnel for collaboration and quality control. Finally, continuous deployment allows my team to share our work with clients and create updates when needed.”
3. What tools would you use to create the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline?
Software developers can use several tools to create a continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline, most of which are DevOps applications. Some companies may prefer certain applications over others, so it’s beneficial to research which ones the company often uses. In your answer, be sure to explain which tools you have experience using and consider adding that you’re happy to learn how to use other tools if the position requires it.
Example: “I have experience using a few different DevOps tools because of the resources of the companies in which I previously worked and because of my advancing skill level. I use Jenkins and Microsoft VSTS most frequently, but in the past, I’ve also used Bamboo to create the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline.”
4. Tell me about a challenge you faced with continuous integration in your last role.
An interviewer may ask this question to determine which aspects of continuous integration you find difficult. It also allows insight into your approach to problem-solving, which is an important skill for software developers and engineers. In your answer, try to be honest and explain the situation in brief detail. It’s also important to share how you overcame this issue.
Example: “Once, my team and I noticed that the tests we were running during continuous integration weren’t effective in catching bugs in the code. To remedy this, I developed new tests unique to the project that could examine our code better. This helped us catch mistakes or glitches in our code and started a new practice on our team of choosing a specific type of test for each project instead of running the same tests each time.”
5. What are the success factors for continuous integration?
Understanding the success factors for continuous integration can help convince interviewers you understand the entire process and how to ensure its efficacy. In your answer, try to include some of the common overall goals of continuous integration, such as making it easy to access project deliverables, as well as more specific benefits and targets of continuous integration, such as automating deployment and building.
Example: “The success factors of continuous integration are to keep the project updated on small code changes and to make software development projects function more efficiently. In order for continuous integration to be successful, the development and engineering team must maintain a code repository and create a self-testing build.”
6. What are the benefits of continuous integration?
Interviewers may ask this question to test your knowledge of the effects of continuous integration. Asking about the benefits of this practice allows you the chance to demonstrate your understanding of the process and establish its importance in software engineering. When answering this question, consider discussing the benefits of the practice that you’ve witnessed in previous roles. This allows you to provide more context to your answer and impress the interviewer with your experience as well as your knowledge.
Example: “As a software engineer, I find continuous integration to be helpful in making the development process quicker and allow us to test code changes easily. In my previous roles, the testing during continuous integration has also helped my team detect issues in our code, which allows us to fix them quickly.”
7. What methods would you take to ensure that the continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline are secure?
Hiring managers may ask this question in your interview to test your ability to keep the continuous integration pipeline stable. If the pipeline isn’t secure, it may compromise the developing team’s data. When answering this question, be specific in the steps you’d take to ensure the pipeline’s security and consider explaining why you’d take that approach.
Example: “In order to secure the continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline, I typically use a variety of testing, including unit, static analysis, and dynamic analysis testing, in order to scan for vulnerabilities in the pipeline and code repository. In my previous roles, these methods ensured the security of the pipeline and quality of the code.”
8. How would you manage classified information in the continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline?
Depending on the role you’re interviewing for, the hiring manager may ask you this question to ensure you value privacy and understand information security. Because some professionals on a team of software engineers may have a higher rank than others, it may be a security risk for all professionals to be able to have access to all the information in the continuous integration and delivery pipeline. To answer this question, share software security methods and explain your approach.
Example: “In my experience, the best way to manage classified information in the pipeline is to establish role-based access control. This protects certain data with a password that only managers and other professionals in supervising positions can use. Role-based access control ensures that each professional knows what they need to know without compromising classified data.”
Tips for answering continuous integration interview questions
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview:
Practice answering questions. Practicing your answers aloud can help you feel more comfortable during your interview and allow you to consider your answers ahead of time.
Be concise. When answering questions, it’s important to consider the length of your answer. Try to give complete answers that span from one or two minutes.
Refresh your knowledge of continuous integration. Even though you likely use continuous integration in your day-to-day work activities, you may want to revisit its definition in order to form a clear and concise way to define the practice.
Share your experience. While many interview questions about continuous integration may not ask for it, it’s important to establish your experience with the practice. This provides the interviewer with a better understanding of your skill level.
Ask questions. If given the opportunity, consider asking questions about the way the company uses continuous integration. For example, you may ask which tools they commonly use or what role you may be responsible for in the process if you earn the open position.
I hope you find this article helpful.