Agile methodology is an excellent option for every clever tester, developer and project manager, living in these difficult fast-paced times.
Employers from every corner of the world realize the advantages of agile, in comparison to other project management and software development methodologies. Therefor, they try to hire developers, testers pr project managers who understand agile and can practically use it in any sort of project. After all, applying agile methodology has delivered lot of positive results in various areas of business…
Either you understand it, or not
To be honest, agile development is not the most difficult method out there. I believe that once a decent developer with some experience read about it on Wikipedia – Agile development, he should get a good grasp of it and be able to apply it in a project.
However, to understand the methodology and to know the answers to interview questions related to it are two different things… If you have no previous experience with agile development, I suggest you to try it out on a small personal project before an interview (you can do it with a friend), or search for some case studies, to see how it really works in practice.
What questions to expect in an interview?
Before the tough technical questions, interviewer will start with few typical interview questions. To such belong:
- Why did you decide for career in software development?
- What motivates you to do this job well?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What computer do you use (describe the configuration)?
- What programs have you developed so far?
- What was your latest project and how was it useful for the society?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
As you can see, some of these questions have nothing to do with software testing or agile methodology. However, interviewers ask it in order to understand your true level of motivation to do the job, as well as to assess your communication skills. Agile working environment is all about communication. Members of a team need to have good communication skills and understanding for each other, in order to make the most of the benefits agile approach brings to the project.
They will also ask you about your former projects. When I lead an interview coaching lesson for applicants for any kind of IT job, one of the things I always stress them is to prepare the portfolio of their work, especially of projects related to the job they apply for.
You know, one thing is to talk about doing the job and another to show on the actual results of your work that you can do it. If you demonstrate the agile application on some of your projects, it can help you to avoid difficult technical questions in later interview stages.
Technical questions will test your brain-cells deeply in the second stage of your job interview. You will need to deal with both practical and theoretical questions related to agile. It is not so easy, I know. But once you have some experience with it and spend some time preparing for your interview, you should be able to handle every question. Let’s have a look at some:
- In what does the agile development methodology differ from the other development (testing) methodologies?
- Can agile methodology be applied also in other than software testing and development projects? What projects would you suggest it for and why?
- Name as many characteristics of agile development as you can. Focus specifically on characteristics that make it different to other methodologies.
- When did you use agile methodology for the first time? Describe the project, benefits and problems it brought to the team.
- Here is a simple program, beta version. Please, have a look at the code. Imagine that you should test it using agile testing. You can choose three other team members. How would you choose the members? How would you allocate the work? How would you progress?
Warning: Little competition does not always results in a simple interview!
If you knew something about agile testing back in 2005, you would be most likely the only one in a job interview. However, times have changed. You can not expect many competitors, but bet that they will all have a pretty good knowledge and experience with agile methodology.
Therefor, you should not underestimate other aspects of your preparation. In many cases, it is an ability to sell yourself in an interview, an ability to win the hearts of the recruiters that decides who gets the job at the end. Think about it… Everyone is good in terms of agile. But many IT guys struggle with their communication skills and are completely lost when it comes to selling their skills and knowledge in an interview.
If you feel it can be your case too, have a look at our I Will Get a Job! recording, ultimate audio guide on how to sell yourself to the recruiters and get a job. It will teach you what to say and do in every moment of your interview. And maybe that’s the part of the puzzle you are missing… Think about it.