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5 DevSecOps interview questions employers are likely to ask

To land that DevSecOps dream job, prepare to answer questions not only about specific IT and security tools, but about DevOps team culture as a whole.

As enterprises look to infuse security into all aspects of a DevOps workflow -- a practice known as DevSecOps -- they need to make sure their staff can keep up.

Any DevOps interview is likely to focus on a candidate's knowledge of coding languages, practices, tools and frameworks. But when the interview turns to security -- or is focused on a DevSecOps role, specifically -- IT professionals need to be prepared.

Check out some sample DevSecOps interview questions below to know what to expect.

Editor's note: DevSecOps has gained traction as a way to minimize security risks that span code creation to application deployment. Learn more about how to apply security best practices to each step of the DevOps workflow before heading into an interview.

What role has security played in your DevOps experience?

Interviewers ask this intentionally broad question to lead job candidates into the DevOps security discussion and to gauge the importance of security in their prior DevOps work. There is no wrong answer, but be sure to discuss your involvement in security goals along the pipeline. This can include code design best practices, code evaluation and testing for known vulnerabilities and intrusion scanning in the production environment. This question, and your response, sets the stage for additional or more specific questions.

DevOps security process

How do you test and fix vulnerabilities or security flaws?

This DevSecOps interview question is intended to gauge a candidate's hands-on involvement in security issues. Respond in a way that reinforces your basic knowledge of security in DevOps processes and provides more detail about your adherence to sound security practices throughout the workflow, including how you developed those practices through team discussions and reporting. How exactly you test and fix flaws isn't nearly as important as the fact that you've been directly involved in software development security.

What tools have you used for DevSecOps?

Again, this question gauges the candidate's hands-on experience, particularly with the security tools the prospective employer uses, such as those for vulnerability checks, testing, systems and change management, and intrusion detection and prevention. Typically, it's not necessary for a candidate to be an expert in every tool, but it's helpful to at least be familiar with tools the employer uses to expedite training. However, if the employer lists specific tools in the job requirements, be sure to learn more about them before the interview.

What was the biggest security issue you faced, and how did you resolve it?

Here's the nitty gritty: An anecdotal question that examines a candidate's direct involvement in a genuine security issue. That issue, whether a simple buffer overflow or a malicious hack, doesn't matter. Instead, discuss your experience with a security issue in a DevOps environment, and tell the interviewer about your specific involvement in the discovery and resolution of that issue. Be sure to include the follow-up steps you took, the lessons you learned and how you adjusted processes to avoid a similar issue in the future.

How do developers and operations teams work together to protect security?

This DevSecOps interview question is meant to examine a candidate's communication and collaboration skills -- which are critical in a DevOps environment -- rather than security knowledge. Discuss situations where you helped share information between teams or team members to enhance security across the DevOps pipeline in a collaborative way.

This was last published in July 2019

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