AWS interview questions

Comprehensive Guide to AWS Interview Questions: Hiring the Best Candidates

Published on May 1st, 2024


Amazon Web Services (AWS) stands as a market leader, offering a comprehensive suite of services for businesses of all sizes. As companies increasingly adopt AWS for their cloud infrastructure, the demand for skilled AWS professionals has soared. Hiring the right candidate requires a deep understanding of AWS fundamentals, intermediate skills, advanced knowledge, and practical problem-solving abilities. 


This guide provides a comprehensive list of AWS interview questions to help employers identify the best candidates for their needs.


Basic AWS Interview Questions for Freshers


1. What is AWS?

Answer: AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a comprehensive cloud computing platform provided by Amazon. It offers a variety of services, including computing power, storage, and databases, on a pay-as-you-go basis.


2. Name some core AWS services.

Answer: Core AWS services include Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service), Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), and Amazon Lambda.


3. What is Amazon EC2?

Answer: Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a web service that provides resizable computing capacity in the cloud. It allows users to run virtual servers, known as instances, on demand.


4. What is Amazon S3 used for?

Answer: Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is used for storing and retrieving any amount of data at any time, from anywhere on the web. It is designed for durability and scalability.


5. What is an AWS region?

Answer: An AWS region is a geographical area where AWS has multiple data centers. Each region is independent and isolated from other regions to ensure fault tolerance and stability.


6. What is an availability zone in AWS?

Answer: An availability zone is a distinct location within an AWS region that is engineered to be isolated from failures in other availability zones. Each region consists of multiple availability zones.


7. What is Amazon RDS?

Answer: Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) is a managed relational database service that supports several database engines, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.


8. What is AWS Lambda?

Answer: AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You only pay for the compute time you consume.


9. What is an AWS VPC?

Answer: An AWS VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) allows users to create a logically isolated network within the AWS cloud, where they can launch AWS resources in a virtual network defined by them.


10. What is IAM in AWS?

Answer: IAM (Identity and Access Management) is a service that helps you securely control access to AWS services and resources. It allows you to create and manage AWS users and groups and set permissions.


11. What is Amazon CloudFront?

Answer: Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service that distributes content globally with low latency and high transfer speeds by caching content at edge locations.


12. What are Amazon CloudWatch and its uses?

Answer: Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and management service that provides data and actionable insights for AWS, hybrid, and on-premises applications and infrastructure resources. It is used for logging, monitoring, and setting alarms.


13. What is Amazon Route 53?

Answer: Amazon Route 53 is a scalable and highly available domain name system (DNS) web service designed to route end-user requests to internet applications hosted on AWS.


14. What is the difference between Amazon S3 and Amazon EBS?

Answer: Amazon S3 is an object storage service used for storing large amounts of unstructured data, while Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store) provides block storage for use with Amazon EC2 instances.


15. What is an Elastic Load Balancer (ELB)?

Answer: An ELB (Elastic Load Balancer) automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets, such as EC2 instances, containers, and IP addresses, to improve fault tolerance and availability.


16. What is Amazon SNS?

Answer: Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service) is a fully managed messaging service that allows you to send messages to a large number of subscribers through multiple protocols, including email, SMS, and HTTP endpoints.


17. What is Amazon SQS?

Answer: Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) is a fully managed message queuing service that enables you to decouple and scale microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications.


18. How does AWS pricing work?

Answer: AWS pricing is based on a pay-as-you-go model, where users pay only for the individual services they use, without long-term contracts or complex licensing. Pricing varies by service and usage level.


19. What is AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

Answer: AWS Elastic Beanstalk is an easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications and services. It automatically handles the deployment, from capacity provisioning, load balancing, and auto-scaling to application health monitoring.


20. What is Amazon Redshift?

Answer: Amazon Redshift is a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. It allows you to run complex queries against large datasets and quickly retrieve results.


Intermediate AWS Interview Questions


21. Explain the difference between vertical and horizontal scaling in AWS.


Answer: Vertical scaling involves increasing the capacity of a single instance or resource (e.g., upgrading to a larger EC2 instance), while horizontal scaling involves adding more instances to a system to distribute the load (e.g., adding more EC2 instances to a load balancer).


22. What is AWS Auto Scaling?


Answer: AWS Auto Scaling monitors your applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. It allows you to scale multiple resources across multiple services quickly and easily.


23. How does Amazon RDS Multi-AZ work?


Answer: Amazon RDS Multi-AZ provides high availability and failover support for DB instances. It automatically replicates data to a standby instance in a different availability zone, ensuring database availability during planned maintenance and unplanned outages.


24. What is AWS CloudFormation?


Answer: AWS CloudFormation is a service that helps you model and set up your AWS resources using templates. It allows you to create, update, and manage AWS resources in a predictable and consistent manner.


25. What is Amazon EFS?


Answer: Amazon EFS (Elastic File System) is a scalable and elastic file storage system that can be mounted to multiple EC2 instances concurrently, allowing for high throughput and data sharing.


26. Explain the concept of an AWS Trusted Advisor.


Answer: AWS Trusted Advisor is an online resource that helps you reduce cost, increase performance, and improve security by providing real-time guidance and best practices based on your AWS environment.


27. What is AWS Direct Connect?


Answer: AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS, providing higher bandwidth and more consistent network performance compared to internet-based connections.


28. How do you implement security in VPC?


Answer: Security in a VPC can be implemented using security groups, network ACLs (Access Control Lists), route tables, and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). These components control inbound and outbound traffic, define access permissions, and secure data transmission.


29. What is the difference between RTO and RPO in AWS?


Answer: RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the maximum acceptable amount of time to restore a service after a failure, while RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is the maximum acceptable amount of data loss measured in time. RTO focuses on downtime, and RPO focuses on data loss.


30. What is Amazon Kinesis?


Answer: Amazon Kinesis is a platform for real-time data streaming and processing. It allows you to collect, process, and analyze real-time data to gain insights and respond quickly to new information.


Advanced AWS Interview Questions for Experienced


31. How do you design a highly available and fault-tolerant architecture in AWS?


Answer: To design a highly available and fault-tolerant architecture, use multiple availability zones and regions, implement load balancing, auto-scaling, multi-AZ deployments, and data replication across regions. Additionally, leverage services like Amazon RDS Multi-AZ, S3 cross-region replication, and CloudFront.


32. What is AWS Organizations, and how is it used?


Answer: AWS Organizations is a service that helps you centrally manage and govern your AWS accounts. It allows you to create groups of accounts, apply policies, and consolidate billing, making it easier to manage multi-account environments.


33. Explain the concept of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) with AWS.


Answer: Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a practice of managing and provisioning computing resources through machine-readable scripts and configuration files. AWS supports IaC through services like CloudFormation and the AWS CDK (Cloud Development Kit), allowing you to automate and version-control your infrastructure.


34. What is the difference between a security group and a network ACL in AWS?


Answer: A security group acts as a virtual firewall for EC2 instances to control inbound and outbound traffic at the instance level, while a network ACL (Access Control List) operates at the subnet level, controlling traffic to and from subnets within a VPC.


35. How would you handle data encryption in AWS?


Answer: Data encryption in AWS can be handled using AWS Key Management Service (KMS) for managing encryption keys, enabling encryption at rest for services like S3, EBS, and RDS, and using TLS/ SSL for encrypting data in transit. Additionally, you can implement client-side encryption for enhanced security.


36. What is AWS Lambda Layers?


Answer: AWS Lambda Layers is a feature that allows you to centrally manage code and data shared across multiple Lambda functions. It helps reduce duplication, simplifies updates, and improves code reuse.


37. Explain the difference between Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS.


Answer: Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) is a fully managed container orchestration service that supports Docker containers, while Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) is a fully managed Kubernetes service. ECS is tightly integrated with other AWS services, whereas EKS provides a managed Kubernetes control plane.


38. How do you handle cost optimization in AWS?


Answer: Cost optimization in AWS involves rightsizing instances, leveraging reserved instances or savings plans, using auto-scaling to match resources with demand, implementing tagging and cost allocation, and regularly monitoring and analyzing usage and spending.


39. What is Amazon Aurora, and how does it differ from traditional relational databases?


Answer: Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database service that offers performance, availability, and scalability similar to commercial databases at a fraction of the cost. It differs from traditional relational databases by providing high performance, fault tolerance, and automated backups and failover.


40. How do you implement high availability for an application in AWS?


Answer: To implement high availability for an application, deploy the application across multiple availability zones, use load balancers for distributing traffic, implement auto-scaling to handle fluctuations in demand, and use services like Amazon RDS Multi-AZ for database redundancy.


Scenario-Based AWS Interview Questions


41. You have a critical web application running on EC2 instances. How would you ensure high availability and fault tolerance?


Answer: I would deploy the EC2 instances across multiple availability zones and place them behind a load balancer. I would also configure auto-scaling to adjust the number of instances based on demand. Additionally, I would use Amazon RDS Multi-AZ for database redundancy and CloudFront for content delivery.


42. Your company wants to migrate its on-premises data center to AWS. What steps would you take to plan and execute the migration?


Answer: I would start by conducting a thorough assessment of the existing infrastructure and workloads to identify dependencies, compatibility issues, and migration priorities. Then, I would develop a migration plan that includes creating a VPC, setting up network connectivity, replicating data, and testing applications in the AWS cloud before final migration.


43. A customer reports slow response times for your company's web application. How would you diagnose and troubleshoot the issue using AWS services?


Answer: I would start by using Amazon CloudWatch to monitor application performance metrics, such as CPU utilization, memory usage, and network traffic. I would also check logs in Amazon S3 or CloudWatch Logs for any errors or warnings. If necessary, I would use AWS X-Ray for distributed tracing to identify performance bottlenecks and optimize the application code or infrastructure configuration accordingly.


44. Your company needs to securely store and share sensitive documents with external partners. How would you design a solution using AWS services?


Answer: I would use Amazon S3 to store the documents and enable server-side encryption to protect data at rest. I would then create pre-signed URLs or use Amazon CloudFront with signed cookies to control access and securely share the documents with external partners. Additionally, I would implement AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies to restrict access to authorized users only.


45. Your application needs to process large amounts of streaming data in real-time. How would you architect a solution using AWS services?


Answer: I would use Amazon Kinesis Data Streams to ingest and process the streaming data in real-time. I would then use AWS Lambda to analyze and transform the data, storing the results in Amazon S3 or Amazon Redshift for further analysis. Additionally, I would set up alarms and alerts in Amazon CloudWatch to monitor the data pipeline for any issues or anomalies.


46. Your company wants to implement disaster recovery for its critical applications in AWS. How would you design a cost-effective solution?


Answer: I would use AWS services like AWS Backup or AWS Storage Gateway to back up data and applications to Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier. I would also configure cross-region replication for data redundancy and leverage services like Amazon Route 53 for DNS failover and Amazon RDS Multi-AZ for database redundancy. Additionally, I would regularly test the disaster recovery plan to ensure its effectiveness.


47. You need to process a large number of batch jobs on a daily basis. How would you architect a scalable and cost-effective solution using AWS?


Answer: I would use AWS Batch to manage and execute batch computing workloads at any scale. I would configure job queues, compute environments, and job definitions based on the specific requirements of the batch jobs. Additionally, I would use auto-scaling to dynamically adjust the compute resources based on the workload demand, optimizing costs and performance.


48. Your company wants to implement a CI/CD pipeline for its applications. How would you design the pipeline using AWS services?


Answer: I would use AWS CodePipeline to automate the build, test, and deployment processes for the applications. I would integrate CodePipeline with other AWS services like AWS CodeBuild for building artifacts, AWS CodeDeploy for deploying applications, and AWS CodeCommit or GitHub for version control. Additionally, I would use AWS CloudFormation to provision and manage the infrastructure as code.


49. You are tasked with optimizing the performance of a database running on Amazon RDS. What steps would you take to improve performance?


Answer: I would start by analyzing the performance metrics and identifying any bottlenecks or inefficiencies. Then, I would optimize the database schema, query design, and indexing to improve query performance. I would also consider upgrading the instance type, enabling Multi-AZ deployment, and adjusting parameters like storage type and size based on workload requirements.


50. Your company wants to implement a data lake architecture in AWS. How would you design the architecture using AWS services?


Answer: I would use Amazon S3 as the primary storage for storing raw and processed data. I would then use AWS Glue for data cataloging, metadata management, and ETL (extract, transform, load) processes. I would also leverage services like Amazon Athena or Amazon Redshift Spectrum for querying and analyzing data directly from S3. Additionally, I would implement security and access controls using AWS IAM policies and S3 bucket policies to ensure data governance and compliance.


Hiring the right candidates for AWS roles requires a thorough understanding of AWS services, best practices, and real-world scenarios. By asking the right interview questions across different experience levels and scenarios, employers can assess candidates' technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and familiarity with AWS services effectively. Use this comprehensive guide as a resource to streamline your hiring process and identify top talent for your organization's AWS needs.




As a technical content writer and social media strategist, Soujanya develops and manages strategies at HireQuotient. With strong technical background and years of experience in content management, she looks for opportunities to flourish in the digital space. Soujanya is also a dance fanatic and believes in spreading light!

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