Learn the Most Important AWS Interview Questions

aws interview questionsSome of the biggest companies around the world use AWS to grow their businesses and scale their profits. As time goes on, more and smaller, lesser-known companies follow in their example. Naturally, all of these businesses need professional, certified AWS developers who could maximize the efficiency and usefulness of the program. In this tutorial, we’ll cover some of the most popular, well-known and most-often-asked AWS interview questions. This will help you learn AWS and prepare for the job interview - two birds with one stone!

We’ll cover the basics, the advanced stuff and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for a simple AWS developer’s job or you’re ready to integrate yourself into a DevOps-based team - you’ll find all of the essential questions and answer in this tutorial!

Basic Amazon Web Service Questions

These are great examples of questions that you might get asked once you and your potential employers sit down at the table and start chatting. You can look at these questions as a good warm-up before the more advanced AWS DevOps interview questions.

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Basic AWS interview questions will help your employers understand your skill level and check your critical thinking skills. That’s why it’s important that you focus on trying to answer the questions thoroughly and concisely - don’t just blurt out single statements and wait for the next question. The basic interview questions on AWS are a great way to show your level of knowledge to the employer - don’t miss your chance!

Question 1: What is AWS?

As you’ve probably expected, nine times out of ten this is going to be the very first question you’re going to get asked in your job interview. It makes perfect sense, to be honest - this way, your interviewers can both check if you know what you’re talking about, and how well you’re able to formulate your answers. This being one of the definition-based AWS interview questions, there’s little room for creativity - you either know the answer, or you don’t.

However, the way that you answer will be a great indicator for your employers of what to expect out of the remainder of the interview. If they see that you simply mindlessly memorized an answer off of Google, chances are that you won’t leave a lasting first impression. However, if you demonstrate that you know the answer AND are capable of explaining it in your own words, your potential employers will see that you truly do know what you’re talking about, and might transition to the more advanced AWS interview questions faster.

Now, with that being said, back to the question - what is AWS?

AWS stands for “Amazon Web Services”. To put it into very simple terms, it is a cloud-based computing service that is designed to host various companies. Host for what purposes, you might ask? Well, everything from data storage to content delivery - AWS is a multifunctional platform and offers a huge variety of services to its customers.

Question 2: What’s the difference between stopping an instance and terminating it?

If you’ve only now decided to learn AWS, this is going to be one of the first topics that you encounter.

When you stop an instance, the process shuts down in a normal manner and then remains inactive. If the instance is terminated, however, it will again shut down normally but will delete itself afterward, unless specified otherwise.

Question 3: What’s ‘S3’?

If you’re looking for AWS interview questions, you’ll encounter this one quite frequently. S3 stands for “Simple Storage Service” (S3 because all of the three words start with an “s”. Get it? Clever, I know.). It is an interface that allows you to store and transfer unlimited amounts of data anywhere, anytime. Although it might sound surreal, it is widely used and accepted - especially when it comes to DevOps.

Question 4: Name one method of accessing the EBS.

EBS abbreviates as the “Elastic Block Storage”. It is a storage area that can be easily reached and accessed at any given time. There are a couple of methods of how you can access it, but the most obvious one is to simply access the area directly.

This might be seen as one of the “trick” AWS interview questions. If you’re not sure about the answer, you might think that there’s some sort of a difficult method of reaching EBS. So, to avoid that, try to memorize this!

Question 5: The default scaling of AWS is horizontal. Can you scale an instance vertically?

Yes, yes you can. All that you need to do is restart the instance after you change the scaling - if you don’t, it won’t work.

Question 6: What’s AMI?

AMI stands for “Amazon Machine Image”. It is a template that developers use to run AWS instances - this template holds all of the vital information and data required for the instance to work properly.

Question 7: What’s ‘EC2’?

The Amazon EC2 is an “Elastic Compute Cloud”. AWS developers use it to launch virtual servers. It’s great in that it’s scalable and allows an unlimited amount of servers to be launched - perfect for huge companies and enterprises!

Question 8: Can EC2 instances use S3?

This can honestly be classified as one of the more difficult AWS interview questions since you have to have a thorough understanding and at least some experience with both EC2 and S3 to be able to answer.

Yes, EC2 instances do support S3. The only condition is that the instances with which S3 is used have to be backed up locally (in local storage).

Question 9: How can you secure the data on the cloud while transferring it?

Cloud offers special security keys that you can use to secure your data during the transferring procedures. Additionally, you could take some more original approaches to the whole process and try splitting your data up into different sections, and transferring them separately (with security keys enforced on every one of them, of course).

Question 10: Is it normal that a backed AMI has a ten minute boot time?

No, it’s not normal. The normal booting time for an AMI is around five minutes, which means that ten minutes is quite too much.

With that, we conclude the first part of our AWS interview questions and answers tutorials. Up to this point, we’ve covered some of the more popular examples of the interview questions on AWS that you might receive during your job interview. At this point, you should have at least a general idea of the challenges that you’re going to face in your interview.

Question 11: What are the key components of AWS?

The key components that are used by AWS are:

  • CloudWatch. It allows the monitoring of AWS resources and customer applications running on the Amazon infrastructure.
  • Route 53: A Domain Name Structure web service. It allows registering a name for your website.
  • AWS Simple E-mail Service. It is a highly-scalable email sending and receiving service. It is mostly used by developers and business organizations. It provides enhanced security and identity management for the AWS account. Amazon SES is cloud-based.
  • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It provides computing services. EC2’s simple web service interface to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction.
  • Elastic Block Store (EBS). It is block-level storage used with the EC2 service to store persistent data.

Question 12: What are AWS S3 buckets?

It's easy to get lost among AWS interview questions all the terms. An Amazon S3 bucket is a public cloud storage resource that is provided by AWS. S3 Buckets are similar to file folders, it is used to store objects, that consist of data and its descriptive metadata.

Question 13: How many 'buckets' can you have per AWS account?

By default, you can create up to 100 'buckets' per account.

Question 14: What are the T2 instances?

AWS T2 instances are designed to provide moderate baseline performance and the capability to burst to higher performance. It can sustain high CPU performance for as long as the workload needs it. T2 Unlimited instances can provide ample performance without any additional charges.

Question 15: What are the different types of instances?

The main instances are general-purpose, computer-optimized, memory-optimized, storage optimized, accelerated-computing.

Advanced Amazon Web Services Questions and Answers

Now, let’s just say that you completely aced you AWS interview questions and answers, and your potential employers are already signing the papers of accepting you as their new employee - all that’s left to do is answer a few more advanced questions! Below you’ll find some of the more notable AWS DevOps interview questions that do require some more experience than just a simple read-through of online tutorials and video guides.

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Yes, quite closely - AMIs are used to run various types of instances. Different types of instances offer different types of functions that they can perform. However, you should also pay attention to the system that you (as a developer) have - hardware has a big part to play when it comes to the different variations of instances.

Question 2: We tried connecting to an instance and got an error. Give a few examples of the possible errors that we might have received in this situation.

Now, this is one of the more original AWS interview questions. It is entirely possible that you interviewers provide an example of a situation and ask you to elaborate on it.

When it comes to the actual question, however, there are plenty of reasons for this could have happened. If the interviewers don’t give you any additional information together with the example, you are free to choose from the wide variety of errors that there are.

To give you examples of a few of the more popular errors that may occur, you could say that their connection has timed out (this is an obvious one), that their browser or even OS has issued the error, that their user key wasn't properly recognized, etc. The possibilities are truly endless - choose the ones that suit you the most!

Question 3: What do you know about DynamoSB?

If your initial reaction to reading this question was confusion, then don’t worry - that’s normal! You’re probably thinking - “what is this question doing in the advanced section of AWS interview questions? It was super basic!”. While your confusion is completely understandable, let me explain.

You would probably think that, by the nature of the question, it belongs together with the basic ones. However, you would be surprised how many people don’t even know what DynamoSB is! There is a very simple reason for why that is - everybody uses SQL.

DynamoSB is a “NoSQL” database. It’s very flexible and has an amazingly reliable performance - and is AWS integrated!

Question 4: Name the main differences between ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ scaling.

Since this is a very extensive topic altogether, many different follow-up AWS interview questions might arise from this one. However, if you know and understand the main general differences between the two types of scaling, you should be good to go.

The very fundamental difference between the two types of scaling is the methods by which you add additional computing power to your infrastructure. If you’re using horizontal scaling, new resources are come up with the addition of new hardware devices to support the infrastructure. Vertical scaling, however, works oppositely - you would increase the power resources by updating the existing machine. Naturally, with this being such a core difference, both of the types of scaling have different pros and cons.

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Question 5: What’s Amazon Kinesis Firehose?

One of those interview questions and AWS where you either know it or you don’t - AKF is a data live streaming service that provides different forms of information to places like S3, RedShift and so on.

These were just a few of the more noteworthy examples of the advanced AWS interview questions and answers. If you managed to answer the question instantly right after reading them and without even taking a peek at the answers - congratulations! You shouldn’t face any problems with your job interview! However, if these questions did seem a bit too difficult for you - worry not! Look at them as examples of what you still need to study a bit further. Give it some time, work hard and soon you’ll see that there isn’t a single AWS question that you couldn’t answer!


AWS developers have some of the best career opportunities ahead of them - the platform is being more and more widely used, thus requiring more experienced professionals in the field. If you’re determined to boost the quality of your life and seek future career paths - AWS is the way to go.

AWS interview questions are a great way to further your knowledge and check specific topics that you’ve already mastered. Don’t ever neglect the basics, though - even if you’ve been working in the field of AWS development for the past five years, there might still be quite a few details that you’ve missed and that would be worth learning.

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