Hiring guide for Windows PowerShell Engineers

Windows PowerShell Developer Hiring Guide

Windows PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language developed by Microsoft. It is built on the .NET Framework and designed specifically for system administration. Unlike most shells, which accept and return text, Windows PowerShell uses the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) and accepts and returns .NET objects. This fundamental change brings entirely new tools to manage Windows environments. PowerShell provides full access to COM, WMI, enabling administrators to perform administrative tasks on both local and remote Windows systems as well as WS-Management and CIM enabling management of remote Linux systems. In addition, it includes a scripting language that can help automate complex tasks. It also allows users to navigate through their file system in a manner similar to Unix shells. The user interface of PowerShell is console-based allowing it to support applications that do not have graphical interfaces. Since its release in 2006 with Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has been integrating Powershell into almost all its products like SQL Server or Exchange server making it an essential tool for managing these services efficiently.

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

First 20 minutes

General Windows PowerShell app knowledge and experience

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

What are cmdlets in PowerShell?
Cmdlets are lightweight commands used in the PowerShell environment. They are built-in commands, written in .NET language like C# or VB, that perform a specific function.
How would you define a variable in PowerShell?
In PowerShell, you define a variable by using the $ symbol followed by the variable name. For example, $myVariable = 'Hello, World!' would define a variable named 'myVariable' with the value 'Hello, World!'.
What is the use of the Get-Command in PowerShell?
The Get-Command is used to fetch all the cmdlets that are installed in your system along with their syntax, parameters and script location.
Describe the difference between the -eq and -is operators in PowerShell.
-eq is the equality operator, used to check if two values are equal. -is is the type operator, used to check if a value is of a certain type.
How would you handle errors in PowerShell?
PowerShell provides several ways to handle errors, such as the Try-Catch-Finally blocks, the -ErrorAction parameter, and the $Error variable.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of Windows PowerShell?
Can the candidate demonstrate experience with scripting and automation?
Has the candidate shown problem-solving skills?
Does the candidate have experience with Windows system administration?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Windows 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 is the use of the pipeline in PowerShell?
The pipeline in PowerShell is used to pass the output of one cmdlet as the input to another cmdlet. It allows for powerful command chaining and data processing.
Describe the difference between a function and a script in PowerShell.
A function is a named block of code designed to perform a specific task and can return a value. A script is a file with a .ps1 extension that contains PowerShell commands.
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', replacing 'script.ps1' with the path to your script.
What are the different types of loops available in PowerShell?
PowerShell supports several types of loops, including 'for', 'foreach', 'while', and 'do-while' loops.
Describe the difference between the Export-Csv and ConvertTo-Csv cmdlets in PowerShell.
Export-Csv will write the output to a file. ConvertTo-Csv will return the output as a string, which can be useful for further manipulation within PowerShell.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

At this point, a skilled Windows PowerShell engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Windows 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 Windows PowerShell.

What does the following PowerShell code do?
Get-Service | Where-Object { $_.Status -eq 'Running' }
This code lists all running services on the current system.
What will be the output of the following PowerShell code?
1..10 | ForEach-Object { $_ * 2 }
This code will output the numbers 2, 4, 6, ..., 20. It multiplies each number from 1 to 10 by 2.
What does the following PowerShell code do?
$array = 1..10; $array -gt 5
This code creates an array of numbers from 1 to 10 and then filters out numbers greater than 5. The output will be 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
What does the following PowerShell code do?
Start-Job -ScriptBlock { 1..10 | ForEach-Object { Start-Sleep -Seconds 1; $_ } }
This code starts a background job that outputs numbers from 1 to 10, with a delay of 1 second between each number.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Windows 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 Windows PowerShell application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you schedule a PowerShell script to run at specific intervals?
You can use the Task Scheduler in Windows to run a PowerShell script at specific intervals. You would create a new task, set the trigger to the desired interval, and set the action to start a program with 'powershell.exe' as the program and the path to your script as the argument.
What is the use of the -WhatIf parameter in PowerShell?
The -WhatIf parameter allows you to see what would happen if you ran a cmdlet without actually executing it. It's a safety feature that helps prevent potentially destructive actions.
Describe the difference between the Select-Object and Where-Object cmdlets in PowerShell.
Select-Object is used to select specific properties of an object to display or to create a new custom object. Where-Object is used to filter objects based on their property values.

Windows PowerShell application related

Product Perfect's Windows PowerShell development capabilities

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