AWS CDK Interview Questions and Answers


Welcome to your go-to guide for acing an AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) interview. Whether you’re a seasoned cloud developer or someone who’s just stepped into the world of AWS, this article will help you answer a wide array of AWS CDK-related interview questions along with some insightful information.

In this guide, we’ve meticulously compiled 30+ CDK interview questions, categorized into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Alongside each question, you’ll find insightful answers and key points to remember when formulating your responses.

For a detailed comparison of AWS CDK with another popular Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool, Terraform, refer to our comprehensive CDK vs. Terraform guide here.

Beginner Level AWS CDK Interview Questions

1. Why AWS CDK?

AWS CDK stands out among Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools because it allows developers to define their infrastructure using familiar, general-purpose programming languages. This reduces the learning curve associated with mastering domain-specific languages or large JSON/YAML templates used in other IaC tools. AWS CDK also provides a higher level of abstraction to model and provision cloud application resources, leading to improved productivity and organizational efficiency.

2. What is an AWS Construct in AWS CDK?

In AWS CDK, a construct is a building block for AWS cloud applications. It is a reusable piece of cloud infrastructure, encapsulated in an AWS CDK module. Constructs can represent a single AWS resource or a combination of resources working together. They provide a way to encapsulate AWS best practices and to create and share custom abstractions.

3. How does AWS CDK differ from AWS CloudFormation?

While AWS CloudFormation allows you to model and provision AWS resources using JSON or YAML files, AWS CDK provides a way to define these resources using a general-purpose programming language. This allows developers to use language features they are familiar with, such as loops and conditionals, resulting in more expressive and maintainable infrastructure definitions. The AWS CDK also offers higher-level, pre-configured constructs, saving time and reducing potential errors compared to manually defining every resource property.

Above: Table explaining AWS CDK vs CloudFormation

Related Reading: AWS CDK vs CloudFormation: A Pragmatic Comparison

4. Which programming languages are supported by AWS CDK?

AWS CDK supports TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, Java, and C#.

5. Can you explain the concept of Stacks in AWS CDK?

In AWS CDK, a Stack is a unit of deployment. Each stack maps one-to-one with AWS CloudFormation stacks. A stack is a container for AWS resources that you want to manage together. You might have a stack for your network resources, another stack for your application resources, etc. All AWS resources defined within a stack are provisioned and managed as a single unit, enabling easier management and updating of related resources.

6. How does AWS CDK handle dependencies?

AWS CDK automatically determines the dependencies between resources during the synthesis phase. For instance, if you create an AWS Lambda function and an S3 bucket and then set the bucket as an event source for the Lambda function, the CDK knows to create the bucket before the Lambda function. However, in more complex scenarios, you can manually set dependencies using the addDependency method.

const bucket = new s3.Bucket(this, 'MyBucket');
const function = new lambda.Function(this, 'MyFunction', { ... });

7. What are some benefits of using AWS CDK over traditional Infrastructure as Code tools?

  • Familiar Programming Languages: AWS CDK allows developers to define cloud infrastructure using familiar programming languages like TypeScript, Python, Java, and C#.
  • Higher Level Abstractions: AWS CDK provides high-level components that preconfigure cloud resources with default settings, making it faster to set up.
  • Flexibility: While AWS CDK provides high-level abstractions, developers also have the flexibility to customize and drop down to the raw AWS CloudFormation when needed.
  • Integrated with AWS Services: Being an AWS product, CDK is closely integrated with AWS services, enabling easy and efficient provisioning.
  • Reusability: Constructs in CDK can be reused across projects, promoting best practices and reducing duplicated efforts.

8. How do you initialize a new AWS CDK project?

To initialize a new AWS CDK project, you can use the cdk init command followed by the template type and the language of your choice:

cdk init app --language=typescript

This initializes a new CDK app in TypeScript. You can replace “typescript” with “python”, “java”, or “csharp” depending on your preference.

9. Can you mention a few commonly used AWS CDK modules and their purposes?

  • @aws-cdk/aws-s3: This module provides constructs to define Amazon S3 buckets.
  • @aws-cdk/aws-lambda: This module is used to define AWS Lambda functions.
  • @aws-cdk/aws-ec2: Used for defining Amazon EC2 instances, VPCs, and related components.
  • @aws-cdk/aws-dynamodb: This module provides constructs for Amazon DynamoDB tables.
  • @aws-cdk/aws-apigateway: Used for defining Amazon API Gateway APIs.

These modules provide high-level constructs, enabling developers to set up these AWS services with minimal configuration.

10. What does the cdk deploy command do in AWS CDK?

The cdk deploy command is used to deploy a CDK app’s stack(s) to an AWS environment. When you run this command, the CDK:

  1. Synthesizes the application, converting your CDK code into AWS CloudFormation templates.
  2. Compares the generated CloudFormation templates with any previously deployed templates to identify differences.
  3. If changes are detected, it updates the AWS resources to match the state defined in the new templates.

By default, cdk deploy will deploy all stacks in an application, but you can specify a particular stack if you only want to deploy that one.

Intermediate Level AWS CDK Interview Questions

11. What is the purpose of the cdk.json file in AWS CDK?

The cdk.json file in AWS CDK serves as the configuration file for a CDK application. It specifies settings such as which command to run to execute your application, the language you’re using, and the AWS region and account configurations. Essentially, it provides the AWS CDK Toolkit (the command-line utility) with the information it needs to synthesize your application into an AWS CloudFormation template.

12. Can you explain the cdk synth command?

The cdk synth command is used to synthesize an AWS CDK app into a CloudFormation template. This is a crucial step as AWS CDK uses general-purpose programming languages to define the application’s resources, but AWS CloudFormation requires a JSON or YAML format to create and manage those resources. The cdk synth command translates your AWS CDK code into a format that AWS CloudFormation can understand.

13. How would you debug a stack in AWS CDK?

To debug a stack in AWS CDK, you can use standard debugging techniques of the language you’re using, as well as leveraging CloudFormation events and AWS CloudWatch logs. For example, you can include print statements in your code or use a language-specific debugger. For AWS-specific debugging, you can check the AWS CloudFormation console for stack events that might indicate what went wrong during stack creation or updates. You can also use AWS CloudWatch to check the logs of your AWS resources, such as AWS Lambda functions.

14. How do you use environment variables in AWS CDK?

In AWS CDK, you can use environment variables similar to how you would in any other application written in the language you’re using. For example, in a JavaScript AWS CDK app, you could use process.env.MY_ENV_VARIABLE to access an environment variable named MY_ENV_VARIABLE. You could also use the AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store or AWS Secrets Manager to securely store and retrieve environment variables, and access those in your AWS CDK code using the appropriate AWS SDK calls.

15. What steps are involved in deploying a stack using AWS CDK?

Deploying a stack in AWS CDK generally involves three steps:

  1. Synthesize the application: Using the cdk synth command, AWS CDK transforms your code into a CloudFormation-compatible template.
  2. Review the synthesized application: Look over the synthesized CloudFormation template to make sure everything looks as expected. This can help you catch any errors or oversights in your AWS CDK code before deployment.
  3. Deploy the application: The cdk deploy command is used to create or update the CloudFormation stack defined by your application. The AWS CDK Toolkit automatically handles the process of creating or updating the stack, including uploading any local assets to S3, if necessary.

Related Reading: Automating AWS Lambda Deployments with AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK)

16. How can you share a resource between stacks in AWS CDK?

In AWS CDK, sharing resources between different stacks is achieved using outputs and parameters. One stack exports a particular resource as an output, and another stack can then import this output as a parameter. This approach promotes decoupling and modular architecture.

Here’s a simplified example:

// Stack A
const bucket = new s3.Bucket(this, 'MySharedBucket');
new cdk.CfnOutput(this, 'BucketArnOutput', {
  value: bucket.bucketArn,
  exportName: 'SharedBucketArn'

Then, in another stack:

// Stack B
const importedBucketArn = cdk.Fn.importValue('SharedBucketArn');

17. How can you specify resource properties in AWS CDK?

In AWS CDK, when you instantiate AWS resources, you can specify their properties through a properties object passed as an argument. These properties correspond to the resource’s CloudFormation properties.

For instance, if you’re creating an S3 bucket and want to set its versioning configuration:

const bucket = new s3.Bucket(this, 'MyBucket', {
  versioned: true

18. How does AWS CDK handle rollback in case of deployment failure?

AWS CDK provisions resources using AWS CloudFormation under the hood. If a deployment fails, CloudFormation automatically rolls back to the previously known stable state. This behavior ensures that resources are not left in an inconsistent or error-prone state. This rollback functionality is one of the benefits of using infrastructure as code tools like AWS CDK, ensuring safety during deployments.

19. Can you describe how you’d migrate an existing CloudFormation stack to AWS CDK? (Migration/Implementation)

Migrating from CloudFormation to AWS CDK involves several steps:

  1. Assessment: Understand the resources and configurations in the existing CloudFormation template.
  2. Initial Setup: Create a new CDK app and initialize a new stack.
  3. Resource Migration: For each resource in the CloudFormation template, create an equivalent in the CDK stack using CDK constructs.
  4. Parameter & Output Migration: Transfer any parameters or outputs from the CloudFormation template to the CDK stack.
  5. Deployment: Use cdk synth to synthesize the CDK stack into a CloudFormation template and review it for correctness. Then, deploy the CDK stack.
  6. Validation: Ensure that the new stack correctly replicates the original CloudFormation stack’s behavior.
  7. Cleanup: Once confident in the migration, you can choose to remove or archive the old CloudFormation stack.

20. How can you integrate AWS CDK with a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline? (DevOps/Operations)

Integration of AWS CDK with a CI/CD pipeline typically involves:

  1. Source Control: Store your AWS CDK code in a version control system like Git.
  2. Build Stage: As part of the CI process, use tools like Jenkins, GitHub Actions, or AWS CodeBuild to run cdk synth to generate the CloudFormation template from your CDK code.
  3. Automated Testing: Before deployment, run automated tests against the synthesized CloudFormation template or against the deployed resources in a staging environment.
  4. Deployment: As part of the CD process, automate the deployment of the CloudFormation stack using cdk deploy.
  5. Monitoring & Feedback: Monitor the deployment using tools like AWS CloudWatch. If any deployment fails, use the CI/CD pipeline’s feedback mechanisms to notify developers or ops teams.

By integrating AWS CDK into your CI/CD pipeline, you ensure that infrastructure changes are automatically tested and deployed, maintaining a high standard of quality and consistency.

Advanced Level AWS CDK Interview Questions for Experts

21. How does AWS CDK handle security and access control for resources?

AWS CDK leverages IAM roles and policies to manage access control for AWS resources. You can define and attach IAM roles and policies directly in your AWS CDK code. AWS CDK also automatically creates IAM roles and manages permissions for some higher-level AWS CDK constructs, reducing the amount of manual IAM configuration you need to do.

22. Can you explain how context in AWS CDK works and why it’s important?

Context in AWS CDK provides a way to supply configuration values to your CDK apps from outside the app itself. This can be useful for specifying environment-specific settings, such as region or account-specific values. Context values can be set in the cdk.json file or passed on the command line when running cdk commands. The use of context makes CDK apps more flexible and easier to manage across different environments.

23. How can you create and use custom constructs in AWS CDK?

Custom constructs in AWS CDK can be created by extending the Construct class of the CDK library. In the construct’s constructor, you can define AWS resources and other configuration details. Once the custom construct is defined, it can be used like any other construct in your CDK app. Creating custom constructs allows you to encapsulate and reuse sets of related AWS resources and configurations across your CDK apps.

24. What are AWS CDK patterns, and when would you use them?

AWS CDK patterns are pre-configured, reusable AWS CDK constructs that implement common architectural patterns, such as a serverless website or a Lambda cron construct. They are designed to provide best-practice configurations of AWS resources, speeding up development time and reducing the risk of misconfiguration. AWS CDK patterns can be a valuable tool when you need to implement common architectural patterns or when you want to follow AWS best practices without having to manually configure each resource.

25. Can you explain how AWS CDK integrates with AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store?

AWS CDK integrates with AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store by providing constructs that represent parameters. These constructs can be used to create, read, or update parameters in your CDK apps. For instance, you might create a StringParameter construct that represents a string parameter in Parameter Store. You can then use this parameter as part of your AWS resource configuration in your CDK app, such as for passing configuration values to a Lambda function. This integration allows your CDK apps to leverage the centralized, secure configuration management features of Parameter Store.

26. How do you handle state management across multiple environments in AWS CDK?

State management across different environments (e.g., development, staging, production) in AWS CDK is often managed using environments. An environment in CDK is a combination of an AWS account and region. You can define separate CDK app stacks for each environment or use context values and parameters to customize the behavior of a single stack for multiple environments.

Using CDK’s environment-specific context values or deploying the same CDK app with different parameters for each environment ensures consistent infrastructure setup across all environments.

const devStack = new MyStack(app, 'devStack', { env: { account: '123456789012', region: 'us-west-1' } });
const prodStack = new MyStack(app, 'prodStack', { env: { account: '098765432109', region: 'us-east-1' } });

27. How would you manage complex dependencies between resources in AWS CDK?

Dependencies between AWS resources in CDK can be managed using the dependsOn attribute and CDK’s built-in constructs for resource dependency management. You can use addDependency to explicitly specify that one resource depends on another, ensuring the correct order of creation.

const bucket = new s3.Bucket(this, 'MyBucket');
const function = new lambda.Function(this, 'MyFunction', { ... });

In most cases, CDK can automatically detect and handle dependencies, but explicit dependency management can be crucial in more complex setups.

28. How would you test your AWS CDK code before deploying it?

Testing AWS CDK code can be approached in several ways:

  • Unit Testing: Write unit tests for your infrastructure code using frameworks like Jest. CDK provides tools such as @aws-cdk/assert to make assertions on synthesized stacks.
  • Synthesize to CloudFormation: Use cdk synth to generate the CloudFormation template and review it to ensure it matches your expectations.
  • Deploy in a Test Environment: Before deploying to a production environment, always deploy your stack to a development or staging environment first.
  • Use CDK’s Diff Command: cdk diff allows you to see the differences between your current stack and the newly synthesized one, providing insights into what changes will be made upon deployment.

29. What strategies can you use to manage large and complex AWS CDK projects?

For managing extensive AWS CDK projects:

  • Modularize Your Code: Break down your infrastructure into smaller, reusable constructs or stacks.
  • Use Nested Stacks: CDK supports nested stacks, which can help break apart large templates into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Maintain Consistent Naming Conventions: This ensures clarity when reviewing or modifying resources.
  • Implement Version Control: Use systems like Git to manage changes, collaborate with peers, and maintain a history of infrastructure modifications.
  • Documentation: Regularly document complex sections of your codebase and maintain an updated README for your project.

30. How does AWS CDK handle cross-account or cross-region deployments?

AWS CDK supports cross-account and cross-region deployments using the env property when defining a stack. The env property can be provided with account and region details:

new MyStack(app, 'CrossAccountStack', {
  env: {
    account: '123456789012',
    region: 'eu-west-1'

For cross-account deployments, ensure that appropriate permissions are set up, usually through roles that the CDK can assume in the target account. For cross-region deployments, be aware of resources that are global or region-specific. Additionally, for deploying assets (like Lambda code or Docker images), the CDK toolkit stack (CDKToolkit) in the target region/account is utilized. Always check resource availability and service limits when deploying across regions or accounts.

Preparing for AWS CDK Questions in an AWS Interview: Practical Tips

When preparing for an AWS interview with CDK questions, there are several strategies and resources you must consider to ensure you’re fully prepared.

  1. Understand the Basics: Make sure you have a good understanding of the basic concepts of AWS CDK, including constructs, stacks, and AWS resources. If you’re just starting out with AWS CDK, the official AWS CDK Developer Guide is an excellent resource.
  2. Hands-On Practice: Nothing beats hands-on experience when it comes to understanding AWS CDK. Try creating and deploying various resources using AWS CDK, such as EC2 instances, S3 buckets, or Lambda functions. This will give you a practical understanding of how CDK works, and help you gain familiarity with the AWS CDK command-line interface.
  3. Understand Best Practices: AWS CDK comes with many best practices and architectural patterns. Spend time understanding these practices and how to implement them. For a more comprehensive guide on best practices for cloud architecture, check out our detailed article.
  4. Explore Advanced Features: Once you’re comfortable with the basics, go deep into more advanced AWS CDK features, such as context, environment-specific configurations, and custom constructs.
  5. Stay Updated: AWS continuously adds new features and services to AWS CDK. Subscribe to the AWS Developer Blog or relevant forums to stay updated.

Remember, an interview is not just about answering questions correctly — it is also an opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm for cloud development and your understanding of how to effectively leverage modern tools such as AWS CDK in real-world scenarios. Good luck!


1. What is AWS CDK?

AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is a software development framework provided by AWS that allows developers to define their cloud infrastructure in code and provision it through AWS CloudFormation.

2. Why is AWS CDK important for modern cloud development?

AWS CDK enables a truly DevOps approach to cloud infrastructure management, supporting general-purpose programming languages and providing a higher level of abstraction, which improves productivity and flexibility. (Related Reading: AWS DevOps Interview Questions)

3. How can I prepare for an AWS CDK interview?

Preparation should include understanding the basics of AWS CDK, hands-on practice, understanding AWS CDK best practices, exploring advanced features, and staying updated with new AWS CDK features and services.

4. What resources can help me prepare for an AWS CDK interview?

Resources for preparation include the official AWS CDK Developer Guide, AWS Developer Blog, relevant forums, and practicing through hands-on deployment of AWS resources using AWS CDK.

5. How does AWS CDK compare to other Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Terraform?

AWS CDK supports general-purpose programming languages, provides higher-level abstractions, and is fully integrated with AWS services. For a detailed comparison, refer to our guide on Terraform vs. CDK.

Related Reading