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DevSecOps Engineer Skills And Responsibilities

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

What is a DevSecOps Engineer?

DevSecOps Engineers are responsible for designing, testing, and deploying software from a security-focused perspective.

DevSecOps Engineer Skills And Responsibilities 2023

The aim of DevSecOps is to make sure that security measures are not an afterthought but are embedded throughout the software development life cycle.


DevSecOps Engineer Skills:

Knowledge of DevOps tools:

Even though you’re a DevSecOps Engineer, you’re expected to pretty much know all the important DevOps tools, given that your role is essentially DevOps + Security.


Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, for example, are fundamental aspects of DevOps that you should be familiar with.


They allow for efficient code integration and deployment, helping to speed up release times and ensure reliability.


Containerization tools such as Docker and Kubernetes are also vital, as they help create, deploy, and manage applications in an isolated, scalable, and reproducible environment, which in turn contributes to security.


Also, you should know how to build a Dockerfile, create and manage Docker images and containers, and use Kubernetes for orchestrating and scaling these containers.


Programming languages:

This is one of the most basic requirements for DevSecOps Engineers. You have to be proficient in a few important programming languages. Python, Bash, Ruby — these are the most important.


These languages not only help you automate tasks and reduce human error but also assist in building security checks and processes into your CI/CD pipeline.


For example, you can script automatic code scans or implement specific security tests to run during the development phase.


Knowing IaC (Infrastructure as Code) tools is also quite important. The favorites here are Terraform, Puppet, and Ansible. They allow for rapid, reliable, and secure setups of computing environments.


Understanding of cloud platforms:

Knowledge about AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure is non-negotiable. Of course, you don’t have to know each one of them in their entirety but you should certainly be more than competent in at least one of them.


The cloud enables scalability, flexibility, and speed in software development, but it also introduces new security challenges.


You need to understand how to secure cloud environments, including the use of virtual private clouds (VPCs), security groups, network access control lists (NACLs), and Identity and Access Management (IAM).


You should also understand how to implement, manage, and troubleshoot cloud-based services and tools, and how to leverage the cloud's scalability while mitigating its potential security risks.


Knowledge of security frameworks and protocols:

This is where you have to shine. Security is where you have to specialize. A thorough understanding of frameworks like the NIST cybersecurity framework, ISO 27001, or the OWASP Top 10 is absolutely critical.


You should also know secure coding practices, common security threats, and how to mitigate them. Proficiency in security protocols like SSL/TLS and HTTPS for securing data in transit is also important.


Familiarity with automation tools and technologies:

Automation is at the heart of DevSecOps. Tools like Jenkins for CI/CD, Ansible for configuration management, or Selenium for automated testing, help streamline the development process, making it more efficient and less prone to errors.


Automating security processes, such as threat modeling and vulnerability scanning, can make these procedures consistent and less susceptible to human error.


You should be capable of automating repetitive tasks, developing and managing CI/CD pipelines, and ensuring automated security checks are carried out at all stages of the software lifecycle.


Understanding of network architecture and system administration:

You need to understand the principles of designing and implementing secure network architectures, both for on-premise and cloud environments.


This includes knowledge of network protocols, firewall configurations, and securing networks through virtual private networks (VPNs) and intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS).


Understanding the architecture also means knowing how data flows within the network, how to segment networks to contain potential breaches, and how to monitor network activity for potential security threats.


On the system administration side, you need to be proficient with operating systems, particularly Linux and Windows.


This includes the ability to manage users and permissions, configure systems in accordance with security best practices, patch and update systems, and monitor system logs for potential security issues.


Finally, you should have familiarity with implementing security controls at the operating system level and understand how operating systems interact with applications and networks.


Communication:

As a DevSecOps Engineer, you’re going to have to collaborate with other teams, from developers to system administrators to business stakeholders, each of whom essentially speaks a different language and has a different perspective.


Communicating clearly and effectively is a huge part of the job description. Also, writing clear documentation is important as well.

Team collaboration:

DevSecOps Engineers are rarely confined to one team. In fact, a measure of success for a DevSecOps Engineer is how well they can break silos that traditionally exist between different security, development, and operations teams.


The ability to move fluidly between these teams and be effective in each one is a very important skill for any DevSecOps Engineer.


Problem-solving:

This is at the heart of a DevSecOps Engineer role. From identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities to integrating security protocols into CI/CD pipelines, you will have to solve a lot of technical challenges.


Also, when security incidents do occur, you should be able to formulate a plan, communicate it to all stakeholders, implement it, and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. This means that you have to be able to think on your feet and solve problems effectively.


Project Management:

Just like you won’t often find yourself in one team, you’ll also usually not be limited to a single project. You’ll often find yourself managing various tasks and projects simultaneously, all with different deadlines and levels of priority.


You should be good at planning, organizing, and executing tasks effectively and efficiently.


Finally, you’ll also need to have a good idea of project management methodologies like Agile or Scrum. This is because they align well with the DevSecOps philosophy of rapid, iterative progress.


Ability to Work Under Pressure and Multitask:

The final, and perhaps, the most important skill of them all — you need to be able to handle pressure and multitask. Ask any DevSecOps Engineer and they’ll perhaps say that this is the most important skill for the role.


The very nature of the role requires you to deal with emerging situations and emergencies.


The ability to stay calm and focused while working on multiple projects, dealing with different teams, and coordinating communications with all the stakeholders is very, very important.



DevSecOps Engineer Responsibilities:

Incorporating Security Throughout the Development Lifecycle:

This one’s the most obvious, of course. As a DevSecOps Engineer, your most important responsibility is to ensure that security is integrated throughout the entire software development lifecycle.


This means that you’ll have to work closely with development teams to encourage security practices right from the initial design and planning stages up to deployment and maintenance.


This involves implementing security checks and controls within your company’s CI/CD pipelines, ensuring that code is regularly scanned for vulnerabilities and that security policies are enforced at every single step of the development lifecycle.


Conducting Security Assessments and Audits:

One key responsibility of DevSecOps engineers is to conduct regular security assessments and audits. This can involve performing automated and manual security testing, threat modeling, and risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in your applications or infrastructure.


The objective here is not only to find and fix vulnerabilities but also to validate the effectiveness of the existing security measures.


They also carry out security audits to ensure compliance with security policies, standards, and regulatory requirements. This means, there’ll be checking for proper encryption of sensitive data, verifying the implementation of access controls, or reviewing incident response plans.


The results from these audits will inform updates to security policies and practices, ensuring that your organization's security posture remains robust and up-to-date.


Developing and Implementing Security Policies and Procedures:

As a DevSecOps Engineer, you will also have a role in developing and implementing security policies and procedures.


You’ll have to create guidelines that define how software should be developed and maintained securely, how data should be handled, and how security incidents should be managed.


You’ll also have to work with various stakeholders to ensure that these policies are understood and followed, and you will review and update them as necessary to adapt to new threats, technologies, or business requirements.


In addition, you will help establish procedures for common tasks such as patch management, access control, or incident response, ensuring that these tasks are carried out consistently and effectively.


Incident Response and Recovery:

This is where your input and work will be the most effective. Most of your work is trying to avoid incidents from happening in the first place. But incidents do happen and what you do then will have a huge impact on how successful you are as a DevSecOps Engineer.


The main aim of incident response is to determine the source of the breach, the extent of the breach, mitigate the impact, and implement systems and processes in place to prevent things from going wrong again.


Your responsibilities here can range from analyzing security logs to coordinating with other teams to remediate the issue, to communicating with the management about the incident’s status.


You will also be involved in developing and refining your company’s incident response plan.


Collaborating with different teams:

By definition, DevSecOps Engineers have to be part of, at least three teams — development, security, and operations. That’s just the start. Software developers, IT operations, Quality Assurance (QA), management teams, non-technical stakeholders — the list goes on.


One of the most important duties of a DevSecOps Engineer is to be a bridge between these teams and ensure that each team is incorporating security measures wherever they have to.



The Career Path of a DevSecOps Engineer:

Education:

Starting a career as a DevSecOps Engineer often begins with a bachelor's degree in a field related to computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity.


This formal education provides a strong foundation in the principles of computing, programming, networks, and information security.


While you’re studying, it’s also a good idea to see if you can do a few courses on software development, databases, operating systems, or information systems. The idea is to just give yourself a bit of an advantage.


Of course, these days, there are Bachelor programs that are cyber-security specific. These are obviously more relevant, given that they have a more in-depth focus on important topics like cryptography, ethical hacking, and computer forensics.


Entry-level jobs:

Courses and education are important but practical experience matters even more. DevSecOps isn’t an entry-level job, at least, not usually.

Most DevSecOps Engineers start off as developers, Security Analysts, or as Junior DevOps Engineers.


These roles provide the skills and experiences that you’ll eventually need as a DevSecOps Engineer.


Certifications:

Certificates are all about validation. A globally accepted, industry-standard certificate tells the company that you have what it takes to be a DevSecOps Engineer. Here are some important ones:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): This globally recognized certification validates your ability to design, implement, and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): This certification verifies your knowledge of how to think and act like a hacker to identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks.

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): This management-focused certification validates your understanding of the relationship between an information security program and broader business goals and objectives.

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP): This certification demonstrates your knowledge and skills in designing, managing, and securing data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud.

  • Docker Certified Associate: This certification shows your proficiency in using Docker, a popular platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of applications.

  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer: This certification validates your technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

DevSecOps role and beyond:

Add a few years of experience, relevant skills, and important certifications — you’re looking at the role of a DevSecOps Engineer.


So, what do you do after that?


It usually comes down to your preference, really. You could choose to continue in the field, in which case, you’ll either move on to Senior DevSecOps Engineer roles and so on. Or you can choose to specialize more, at this point.


You can choose cloud security, threat intelligence, application security, etc. These will require further learning, certificates, and so on.


Or you can pivot to the management side of things. So, you could look at roles like DevSecOps Architect or Manager, or even a Chief Information Security Office (CISO). Obviously, these are technical roles, too. But there’s a heavy element of management with these designations.


Essentially, once you’re done being a DevSecOps engineer, there are a ton of options. It’s simply a question of deciding what path you want to take.



Conclusion:

DevSecOps Engineer is a very unique tech role. Instead of focussing a lot on just one aspect, the goal is to have someone who understands and is able to work within multiple teams in a company. It’s a hugely rewarding job that also happens to pay really well.


On that front, if you’re looking for a DevSecOps Engineer role, check out Simple Job Listings. We only list verified, fully-remote jobs that pay well. What’s more, a significant number of jobs that we post aren’t listed anywhere else.


Visit Simple Job Listings and find amazing remote tech jobs. Good luck!


Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the difference between DevSecOps and DevOps?

DevOps is an approach to software development that integrates development and operations to streamline the software development lifecycle, focusing on continuous integration, delivery, and deployment.

DevSecOps goes one step ahead. With DevSecOps, the idea is to incorporate security into every stage of the process.


While DevOps is all about speed and efficiency, DevSecOps is about ensuring that there’s no compromise on security.


Is DevSecOps the same as product security?

They aren’t vastly different. The main goal of product security is to ensure that a specific product or service is secure from design through deployment.


DevSecOps is an approach, a methodology where you integrate security into the entire DevOps process.


Essentially, product security focuses on one product or service whereas DevSecOps is about embedding security into the culture and practices of software development


Is Splunk a DevSecOps tool?

Yes and no. Splunk is, technically speaking, a data analytics tool. It’s used for log management and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).


But Splunk is hugely important to DevSecOps because it provides real-time monitoring, helps detect anomalies, and generates alerts about potential security threats.


What is the difference between cybersecurity engineer and DevSecOps?

A Cybersecurity Engineer usually focuses on designing and implementing secure network solutions to protect against threats and attacks. The role is mainly about identifying threats and responding when there are attacks.


DevSecOps Engineers, however, are concerned about the entire process. By definition, DevSecOps is about integrating security into every single stage of a software development process.


The difference isn’t so much in the work as it is in the approach to the concept of security.


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