We live in a complicated fast-paced era, full of complex procedures and methodologies. Agile methodology came as a refreshment for every clever tester, developer and even manager. It helps all the people who do not want to get lost in a big project, or in an unknown territory of business.
Employers realize more and more the advantages of agile methodology, in comparison to other project management and software development methodologies. Therefor, they try to hire new people who understand it and can practically use it in any sort of project. After all, the positive results agile methodology has delivered over the recent ten years speaks for itself…
Either you understand it, or you don’t
To be honest, agile development is not the most difficult software development, or if you want project management, method out there. I believe that once a decent coder with some sort of experience read about it on Wikipedia – Agile development, he should get some grasp of it and be able to talk about it and apply it in a project. However, to understand the methodology itself and to know the answers to interview questions related to it are two different things… If you have no real previous experience with agile development, I suggest you to try it out at least on a small personal project (you can do it with a friend), or to search for some detailed case studies online, to see how it really works in practice, what benefits and threats it brings.
What questions can you expect to get in an interview?
Even such a specific interview as the one for agile developer/tester starts with few typical interview questions. To such questions 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 reveal your true level of motivation to do the job, as well as to test your communication skills in an interview. Agile working environment is all about communication. Members of a team need to have good communication skills and understanding of each other, in order to make the most of the benefits agile approach brings to the team and the company as a whole.
As you can see from the other questions, they will also ask you about your former projects, your computer, and so on. When applicants for an IT job consult me prior to the interview, one of the things I always tell 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 the actual results of your work. If you can demonstrate the agile methodology on some of your projects, it is even better and it can win you a job contract without even answering the technical questions.
Once the ice is broken, technical questions will test your brain-cells in an interview. You will need to deal with both practical and theoretical questions related to agile methodology and show that you really understand how to use it. It is not so easy, I know. But once you have some experience with agile and spend some time preparing for your interview, you should be able to handle it. Let’s have a look at the questions.
- 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 makes it different to other methodologies.
- When did you use agile methodology for the first time? Describe the project, benefits and problems this methodology brought to you and the rest of 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?
Little competition does not always mean a simple interview
If you knew something about agile testing in 2005, you were most likely the only one, in any software testing or development interview. However, the times have changed. You can not expect many competitors in your interview, but you can bet that they will all have a pretty good knowledge and experience with agile development. Therefor, you should not underestimate your preparation, as well as personal interview questions. I wish you all the best in your efforts!