Why this matters:

Today’s cloud industry is driven by a handful of major players. Whether introducing cloud technology or migrating from one service to another, cloud engineers should familiarize themselves with the technical components and scalability potential of each platform. By doing so, they can make informed decisions about the services that best meet your needs.

What to listen for:

  • Experience with leading cloud computing services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure
  • Any relevant certifications
  • A plan for keeping up with the industry’s newest technologies

Why this matters:

Within cloud computing, “designing for failure” is essential: unlike traditional IT models, cloud-based systems take on unpredictable traffic on a complex network of servers, making the occasional outage a foregone conclusion. By taking proper risk management measures, cloud engineers can provide a positive user experience with minimal disruptions. This question reveals the candidate’s approach.

What to listen for:

  • A clear strategy for implementing self-healing cloud infrastructure
  • A thorough understanding of the design and implementation processes
  • Ability to effectively break down user feedback

Why this matters:

Cloud migration presents many security challenges, including potential data loss and malware attacks. To address these vulnerabilities, cloud engineers might improve identity and access management systems, perform breach and attack simulations, and work with other teams to develop new policies and best practices.

What to listen for:

  • Strong teamwork skills
  • An in-depth understanding of today’s most pressing cloud security threats
  • Experience with major cloud security providers, such as Prisma Cloud and Forcepoint

Why this matters:

When dealing with complex security threats or system outages, cloud engineers may need to quickly absorb new knowledge to effectively address the issues at hand. On other occasions, they might need to adapt to sudden workflow changes — new software, for example — as well as embrace the industry’s latest technological developments.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to devise creative solutions to unexpected problems
  • An efficient and enthusiastic approach to learning
  • Excellent attention to detail

Why this matters:

Occasionally, cloud engineers will encounter problems that require cross-functional collaboration. As cloud computing is driven by highly technical processes, engineers should be able to simplify esoteric concepts without omitting any critical information. By doing so, they can improve communication with other teams, devise effective solutions, and drive overall productivity.

What to listen for:

  • Willingness to take initiative when working on or leading a cross-functional project
  • Ability to translate technical jargon into easily digestible terminology
  • A patient, accommodating attitude

Why this matters:

Because cloud-based systems can be unpredictable, cloud engineers should be prepared to tackle several issues at once. By breaking down the problems at hand, they can determine which require immediate attention — threats to user data or server uptime, for example — and respond decisively, requesting assistance when necessary.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to maintain composure while under pressure
  • Outstanding time management skills
  • Willingness to ask other team members for help

Why this matters:

Every now and then, cloud engineers will encounter projects they find tedious or unexciting. Because cloud-based systems involve many high-stakes components, such as security protocols and regulatory compliance requirements, engineers must devote their full attention to their assigned tasks — including some they might prefer to skip.

What to listen for:

  • A strong work ethic
  • Ability to break down complex projects into more manageable tasks
  • Accountability for any oversights

Why this matters:

Whether they involve a fellow team member or a supervisor, workplace disputes are inevitable. As many cloud projects require teamwork, cloud engineers should be prepared to smooth over any potential conflicts, compromising when necessary. By turning disagreements into learning opportunities, they can devise even stronger solutions informed by multiple perspectives.

What to listen for:

  • Excellent conflict resolution skills
  • In extreme situations, willingness to escalate the problem in a professional manner
  • Ability to remain level-headed in stressful situations

Why this matters:

Every cloud engineer defines success in their own unique way. How a candidate answers this question will provide insight into their work ethic, ambitions, and the value they can bring to your organization — as well as their long-term growth potential. Their answer may also reveal their capacity to thrive in a fast-paced environment — especially one driven by constant technological innovation.

What to listen for:

  • Personal values that align with your mission
  • A track record of achievements, or eagerness to build one
  • A long-term strategy for building expertise and sharpening skills
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