Choosing the Best DevOps Test and Technical Screening Tool

Choosing the Best DevOps Test and Technical Screening Tool

From HackerRank Tests to CodeSignal and Codility Assessments

Selecting the most suitable DevOps assessment tool can be a daunting task, given the array of options available. From live interviews and paid assessment platforms to pair coding exercises, each method comes with its own unique format and set of advantages and drawbacks.

To help you make an informed choice, we've listed the most common DevOps tests and have provided insights from our DevOps expert, Maksym Lushpenko.

The Importance of Technical Assessments in DevOps Hiring

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of engineering, the quality of a DevOps hire can make all the difference in the successful operation of your systems.

What is DevOps Testing?

Skills-based DevOps testing or assessments refer to the assessment and validation of an individual's skills and proficiency in various aspects of DevOps, including automation, continuous integration, and delivery, infrastructure as code, and collaboration, to ensure they possess the necessary competencies for DevOps roles.

DevOps and System engineers handle complex tasks, meaning the main goals of DevOps assessments are to efficiently filter out candidates who lack essential skills and ensure a fair and transparent hiring process.

Insights from a Senior DevOps Engineer

As a Senior DevOps Engineer with deep experience in hiring, I've had to give and take a DevOps technical interview or two (actually dozens!). Since I’ve been in charge of hiring DevOps and Cloud System engineers, I deeply understand the advantages and disadvantages of many types of assessments.

Assessments That Your Company Can Offer

person wearing black coat close-up photography
Certifications help assess if a candidate meets the bare minimum

Screening Based on Certifications or Resumes

Screening based on certifications or resumes is a common method to evaluate candidates' qualifications and DevOps required skills. Screening allows employers to quickly identify potential candidates who meet minimum qualifications, possess relevant certifications or work experiences, and have some level of DevOps engineer skills.

Pros of Screening Based on Certifications or Resumes:

  • Time-Saving
  • Minimum Qualification Check
  • Credential Validation

Cons of Screening Based on Certifications or Resumes:

  • Limited Scope
  • Lack of Context
  • Credential Relevance
Take-home tests can add a burden for hiring teams to score

Take-Home Tests

Take-home tests are a DevOps quiz given to candidates as part of the hiring process. Candidates complete these tests in their own time and environment, addressing DevOps assessment questions and showcasing their DevOps engineer skills.

These tests allow candidates to showcase their skills without time pressure, providing employers with a deeper understanding of their abilities and problem-solving approach.

However, take-home tests can be frustrating and time-consuming for the hiring team, as creating and scoring tests can increase your overall DevOps hiring costs. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to ensure test authenticity since Chat-GPT or even another person can help a candidate cheat on their test.

Pros of Take-Home Tests:

  • Flexibility and Convenience
  • Realistic Evaluation
  • Reduced Performance Pressure

Cons of Take-Home Tests:

  • Potential for Plagiarism
  • Time-Consuming Evaluation
  • Limited Interactivity

Knowledge-Based DevOps Interviews

Knowledge tests or interviews for DevOps are your standard, real-time, question-and-answer format where the candidate reveals their knowledge about cloud platforms, technology, and coding, such as AWS DevOps interview questions. This allows the interviewer to assess whether they have the skills needed for DevOps roles.

Pros of Knowledge Tests or Interviews:

  • Real-time Interaction
  • Problem-solving Evaluation
  • Personalized Assessment

Cons of Knowledge Tests or Interviews:

  • Lacks a Real-World Element
  • Adaptability
  • Subjectivity
  • Nervousness
Live coding or whiteboard interviews can help see if an engineer can think on-the-spot

Whiteboard Interviews or Live Coding

Whiteboarding or live coding is a dynamic evaluation method to assess candidates' problem-solving, coding, and algorithmic skills for DevOps roles. It helps evaluate whether a candidate can answer DevOps coding interview questions on-the-spot and if they have the skills required to become a DevOps engineer.

While live coding can be a quick way to see if an engineer generally knows what they’re doing, it can be insufficent to dig deep into an engineer’s day-to-day skills without a massive time commitment from both parties.

Pros of Whiteboard Interviews or Live Coding:

  • Direct Evaluation
  • Technical Clarity

Cons of Whiteboard Interviews or Live Coding:

  • Performance Pressure
  • Limited Context
  • Subjectivity
  • Resource Intensive

Assessments Other Companies Can Provide

Screenshot from a Brokee Live-Environment Test

Performance-Based or Practical Assessments

Performance-based testing is an evaluation approach that assesses candidates' practical skills and abilities in real-world scenarios.

Unlike traditional theoretical tests, performance-based assessments require candidates to demonstrate their expertise through hands-on tasks and projects directly related to the DevOps field - from understanding DevOps architecture to proving the use of various tools.

This approach is well-loved by hiring teams because it offers a more authentic and accurate evaluation of candidates' capabilities and suitability for the role.

Pros of Performance-Based or Live Testing:

  • Authentic Assessment
  • Skill Validation
  • Engaging for Candidates
  • Format Prevents Cheating

Cons of Performance-Based or Live Testing:

  • Resource-Intensive
  • Time Constraints
  • Format is Less Open
Multiple choice tests work well for theory but are limited in testing hands-on skills

Multiple Choice Tests

Multiple-choice tests for DevOps are standardized assessments that evaluate candidates' knowledge of key concepts and principles in the field.

While these tests efficiently assess theoretical knowledge and cover various topics, they usually do not capture practical abilities or problem-solving skills and can allow for guessing or Googling answers.

Pros of Multiple Choice Tests:

  • Efficient Evaluation
  • Broad Coverage
  • Objective Grading

Cons of Multiple Choice Tests:

  • Limited Practical Assessment
  • Guessing Potential
  • Lack of Depth
  • Potential for Plagiarism
Pair coding allows for live feedback sharing and provides an evaluation of teamwork skills

Pair Programming or Collaborative Coding

Pair programming or collaborative coding is an interactive approach to evaluate candidates' technical skills and collaboration abilities for DevOps roles. It involves candidates working with an interviewer or team member on coding or problem-solving tasks.

Advantages include comprehensive evaluation of technical skills and teamwork, real-world simulation of DevOps work, and immediate feedback. Challenges include potential subjective assessment, resource intensity, and candidate nervousness impacting performance.

Pros of Pair Programming:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation
  • Real-world Simulation
  • Immediate Feedback

Cons of Pair Programming:

  • Subjective Assessment
  • Resource & Time Intensive
  • Performance Pressure
Brokee offers more features for assessing DevOps than our competitors, at a better price

Q&A with a DevOps Expert

Now, for the fun part. We sat down with Maksym Lushpenko, Senior DevOps Engineer, former hiring team member, and the founder of Brokee, the first-of-its-kind testing platform with broken live environments for candidates to fix. Here are his thoughts about DevOps Assessments.

What is the Best Method of Assessing DevOps Engineer Skills?

As a long-term DevOps hiring veteran, I highly prefer and recommend the technique of Performance-Based and Live Testing.

Why Performance-Based, Live Testing?

I find that this is the best method because it offers a comprehensive evaluation of candidates' practical skills and problem-solving capabilities in real-world scenarios, making it the preferred choice for hiring managers who care about the quality of their engineers. Plus, Brokee streamlines hiring - both in terms of cost and time for companies.

Thoughts on In-House Assessments, like Pair Coding and Take-Home Tests?

I appreciate pair programming in some ways because you can share live feedback on a candidate’s coding style and see if they are open to feedback, however, it can be stressful for some candidates. For example, I’ve met some engineers who are extremely talented when working individually but struggle in a pair programming environment.
Take-home tests, in my experience, are usually frustrating and time-consuming for the hiring team, as creating and scoring tests can take many hours of valuable work time. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to ensure test authenticity since Chat-GPT or even another person can help a candidate cheat on their test.

What Makes Brokee Different from the Competition?

As the CEO and Founder of Brokee, I’ve created a Performance-Based Live Testing Platform to take this method of assessment to the next level. Brokee stands apart from competitors, like HackerRank assessments and DevSkiller tests, by offering automated, affordable, and easy-to-use live broken environments that are Chat-GPT and Google-Proof.

Why Choose Brokee?

What are Other People Saying About Brokee?

Brokee is way better than using coding challenges or multiple choice questions for infrastructure oriented roles - Milton Torasso, DevOps Engineer at Kiwibot.
We are a performance-based remote hiring platform, and by seeing how candidates perform on Brokee's hands-on real-work, real-environment tests, we can predict their on-the-job performance. Brokee's support and communication have been amazing since day one. - Co-Founder of Flatworld.
Brokee's test evaluates your hands-on experience with issues that could occur in a real production application in k8s. Luis Nuñez, Senior Software Engineer at GitHub.
The test is interesting; while taking it, I discovered new problems that I wasn't yet familiar with. Brokee's tests are not just a knowledge check but serve as independent training. Yulia Krasikova Senior DevOps Engineer at Accenture.

Final Word

The success of the hiring process hinges on understanding the unique goals and requirements of each organization.

Whether it's Maksym, our DevOps pro's favorite - Performance-Based testing - or other methods like pair coding or knowledge tests, choosing the right assessment method should be based on the specific demands of the position and company culture.

By choosing the right DevOps assessment technique, you can ensure that the best talent possible joins your ranks, which will drive innovation, efficiency, and success in your company.