10 Solution Architect Interview Questions With Answers

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Hiring

Infographic showing text bubbles ask three solution architect questions.

AWS Solutions Architect interview questions should include a mix of general knowledge, situational, and technical questions. For technical questions, it’s best to collaborate with a colleague like a senior software engineer, but here are some ideas for other interview questions to ask, complete with answers.

Need help hiring AWS engineers? Download our free AWS Engineer Recruitment Guide for quick access to the questions in this post as well as other tips and insights. We cover everything from which AWS certifications to look for, salary ranges by role, and where to source diverse talent.

General knowledge

Q1: Explain AWS to me.

A: AWS is Amazon’s cloud computing business. It delivers a number of different services like compute, data storage, development, analytics, and security over the internet using a reliable, scalable, and affordable cloud infrastructure.

Q2: What are some of the main AWS compute services?

A: Listen for any of the following:

  • EC2
  • Lambda
  • Fargate
  • Lightsail
  • Outposts
  • Batch

Q3: Explain the difference between a public and private subnet.

A: The main difference between public and private subnets is that a public subnet is attached to an internet gateway while a private subnet is not.

> Read more: Microservices Interview Questions for AWS Candidates

Q4: What are some best practices for managing servers in Lambda?

A: Lambda is a serverless compute service, so the best practice is to let AWS take care of managing the servers.

Q5: When would you need to use an AMI?

A: You would use an AMI to launch an instance on Amazon EC2, a compute service from AWS that lets you manage virtual instances.

Situational and developer strategy

Q1: How do you architect with a design for failure approach?

A: “I take a defensive approach, architecting for failure on the server, application, data center, and architectural levels.”

Q2: If our website or application saw a sudden traffic spike, how would you maintain uptime?

A: “I try to incorporate elasticity into architecture wherever possible. This helps to meet demand with appropriate capacity, whether it’s low or off the charts.”

Q3: Tell me about a time when you improved page load time. What approach did you take?

A: Be on the lookout for answers that include compression and caching, but especially caching. Ideally, a candidate will have experience with a content distribution network (CDN) like Amazon CloudFront and can speak to using such a tool for caching.

Q4: Is it better to lean more towards vertical or horizontal scaling?

A: “Horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling is easy, but at some point you’ll reach a performance limit, or the cost will become prohibitive.”

Q5: What’s the difference between scalability and elasticity?

A: “Scalability has to do with software, and elasticity has to do with hardware. Scalability is the ability of a software system to handle a heavier workload by either scaling up (adding more storage or processing power to a hardware resource) or by scaling out (bringing more hardware resources online). Elasticity is the ability of the cloud infrastructure hardware to increase or decrease the number of hardware resources available to the software system.”

How to conduct technical interviews

Many solution architect hiring processes include a technical interview. This is usually an advanced stage of the hiring process after a phone interview and first in-person interview but before a final interview with senior leadership.

Not all companies conduct technical interviews the same way, but many will have candidates complete a remote coding assessment or perform a coding task during an interview. Coding tasks can be done on a computer you set up for the interview, but some companies choose to have candidates complete the tasks on a whiteboard in front of interviewers (whiteboard challenge).

Depending on how you choose to conduct this interview, the actual “interview” part of the technical interview might be a chance for you to review a remote coding assessment with the candidate or a more traditional interview that uses coding tasks combined with questions. However you decide to conduct the interview, it’s crucial that you involve the development team to make sure you’re asking the right questions and providing the right coding assessments.

Solution architect interview questions are just the start

Asking good interview questions is just one part of recruiting cloud talent. If you’re new to recruiting this type of candidate, don’t get discouraged. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of cloud talent, where to find them, what they look for in an employer, and how to discern qualified candidates. It might take some time, but solid preparation will pay off.

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Hourly, contract, contract-to-hire, full-time—we've got you covered. Explore our cloud talent solutions today to get the help you need.

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About Forrest Brown
Forrest Brown is the Content Manager at NerdRabbit. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two cats.

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