Hiring guide for PowerShell Engineers

PowerShell Developer Hiring Guide

PowerShell is a task automation and configuration management framework developed by Microsoft. It includes a command-line shell and a scripting language. Initially a Windows component only, PowerShell has been made open-source and cross-platform, with versions available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. PowerShell is built on the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) and accepts and returns .NET objects. It is designed specifically for system administrators and power-users to rapidly automate the administration of multiple operating systems and the processes related to the applications that run on those operating systems.

Ask the right questions secure the right PowerShell talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General PowerShell app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in PowerShell application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you define a variable in PowerShell?
You can define a variable in PowerShell by using the '$' symbol followed by the variable name. For example, $myVariable = 'Hello, World!'
What are cmdlets in PowerShell?
Cmdlets are lightweight commands used in the PowerShell environment. They are .NET Framework class instances and are particular to PowerShell.
How would you run a PowerShell script from the command line?
You can run a PowerShell script from the command line by typing 'powershell -File script.ps1', where 'script.ps1' is the name of your script.
What is the difference between the -eq and -is operators in PowerShell?
-eq is used for equality comparison between two values, while -is is used to check the type of an object.
How would you handle errors in PowerShell?
You can handle errors in PowerShell using try-catch-finally blocks. The 'try' block contains the code that may throw an error, the 'catch' block contains the code to handle the error, and the 'finally' block contains the code that will always be executed, whether an error occurred or not.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of PowerShell scripting language?
Can the candidate demonstrate problem-solving skills?
Has the candidate worked on any projects or tasks that required them to use PowerShell?
Is the candidate familiar with other scripting languages and technologies that complement PowerShell?

Next 20 minutes

Specific PowerShell development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

What are the different types of loops in PowerShell?
PowerShell supports several types of loops, including 'for', 'foreach', 'while', and 'do-while' loops.
Describe the difference between a function and a cmdlet in PowerShell.
A function is a list of PowerShell commands that has been given a name and saved in memory, while a cmdlet is a compiled command that is loaded into memory and executed.
How would you create a custom cmdlet in PowerShell?
You can create a custom cmdlet in PowerShell by creating a .NET class that derives from the Cmdlet or PSCmdlet base classes, and then implementing the methods of the base class in your derived class.
What are the different scopes in PowerShell?
PowerShell has several scopes, including 'Global', 'Local', 'Script', and 'Private'. Each scope determines the visibility and accessibility of variables and functions.
Describe the difference between the Export-Csv and ConvertTo-Csv cmdlets in PowerShell.
Export-Csv cmdlet in PowerShell creates a CSV file from the output, while ConvertTo-Csv cmdlet converts the output into a series of comma-separated value (CSV) strings.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the PowerShell engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled PowerShell engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in PowerShell programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with PowerShell.

What does the following PowerShell command do: Get-Process | Where-Object {$_.CPU -gt 1000}?
Get-Process | Where-Object {$_.CPU -gt 1000}
This command lists all the processes on the system that are using more than 1000 CPU time units.
What will be the output of the following PowerShell command: $a = 5; $b = 10; $a -gt $b?
$a = 5; $b = 10; $a -gt $b
The output will be 'False'. The command checks if the value of variable 'a' is greater than the value of variable 'b'. Since 5 is not greater than 10, the output is 'False'.
What does the following PowerShell command do: $array = 1..10; $array | ForEach-Object {$_ * 2}?
$array = 1..10; $array | ForEach-Object {$_ * 2}
This command creates an array of numbers from 1 to 10, then multiplies each number in the array by 2.
What does the following PowerShell command do: Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process}?
Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process}
This command starts a background job that gets the list of all processes on the system.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for PowerShell Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle PowerShell application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you use PowerShell to interact with an API?
You can use the Invoke-RestMethod or Invoke-WebRequest cmdlets in PowerShell to send HTTP requests to an API and process the response.
What are PowerShell DSC resources?
PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) resources are modules that describe a specific aspect of a system's configuration, such as a specific service or application.
Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous execution in PowerShell.
In synchronous execution, PowerShell waits for each command to complete before moving on to the next one. In asynchronous execution, PowerShell does not wait for a command to complete before moving on to the next one.

PowerShell application related

Product Perfect's PowerShell development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your PowerShell engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in PowerShell projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.