Is DevSecOps Certification Worth the Cost?

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What is DevSecOps everything you need to know

In the world of software development, security is a significant priority. It is no longer sufficient to simply test code prior to the point of deployment, as this can cause significant delays and additional expenses, especially if problems have been allowed to go undetected and build over time.

This is coupled with the business world’s ongoing digital migration. Both organizations and end-users are frequently exposed to potential threats, and strict compliance targets have established major financial penalties for failing to take the proper care. In short, security-related knowledge and skills have become extremely valuable, not just for specialists but also for software developers, auditors, IT managers, and others, including DevOps engineers.

For professionals with the right backgrounds, this has created new opportunities to thrive. However, it has also made the employment landscape quite competitive. For a candidate to take full advantage of the drive for more reliable software security, they need to continue developing their skills and awareness of the topic even as it evolves.

‘DevSecOps’ is a form of DevOps that emerged in response to the need for speedier, more reliable security. It implements ‘continuous security’, shifting it left to ensure it is given proper consideration even during the development stage. At the same time, DevSecOps engineers pursue extensive automation and employ frequent testing to ensure security is accomplished efficiently and reliably.

This is not a new idea, with alternatives like ‘Rugged DevOps’ having existed for a while. Still, the DevSecOps approach is becoming far more widely standardized, and there are a variety of courses available for those interested in the subject.

How valuable is DevSecOps training for potential practitioners? In this article, we look at whether DevSecOps certification is really worth the cost.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is, essentially, a version of DevOps that places security on the same level of importance as Development and Operations. It emphasizes the importance of incorporating security considerations throughout the pipeline, as well as investing in tools and automation to optimize the value and reliability of security tasks. As is the case with DevOps engineers, DevSecOps engineers will also share insight and expertise with teammates, helping to build awareness throughout the culture.

By utilizing this approach, organizations greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of security. Problems are detected and dealt with early on, and development and operations staff learn to amend any practices likely to create vulnerabilities. Automating processes also boosts their reliability, reducing the likelihood of errors and, ultimately, leading to more secure releases. This, in turn, raises the security of user-facing products and services, boosting both their value and the provider’s reputation.

The version of DevSecOps we are focusing on was standardized by the DevOps Institute, a professional organization dedicated to advancing the DevOps approach with insight from leading practitioners. It has proven to be a highly effective version, building awareness of security and offering effective processes both for adopting and optimizing DevSecOps.

The DevSecOps Certification Path

Because nobody ‘owns’ DevSecOps, so to speak, there is no one single certification path. Indeed, many old-school ‘DevSecOps engineers’ did not learn via a training course but rather picked up the skills and knowledge over time in active roles.

Of course, this is not always feasible, especially for candidates who want to build their knowledge quickly. Learning on the job also offers no guarantees of gaining a holistic view of DevSecOps, especially as cultures usually take a bespoke approach to suit their own needs and goals.

That is not to say that experienced engineers cannot also benefit from taking a DevSecOps certification exam. The DevSecOps Practitioner exam, for instance, only has recommended prerequisites, meaning that an expert can begin with Practitioner-level certification rather than having to start from scratch. This allows them to verify their expertise with a world-renowned qualification which, combined with their experience, will make them highly desirable for senior DevOps engineer positions.

The DevOps Institute’s certification path begins with DevSecOps Foundation. This introduces the key concepts and biggest benefits of the DevSecOps approach, helps candidates understand the threat landscape, and takes candidates through several key DevSecOps practices. It also goes into detail on how to first integrate DevSecOps into an organization.

DevSecOps Practitioner is a more advanced qualification. It discusses advanced technical concepts, infrastructure and architecture strengths, how to boost collaboration, which performance metrics to use, and the essential practices of a DevSecOps pipeline. As DevSecOps is an evolving discipline, the syllabus also looks at its potential for growth over the next few years and how to take advantage of it.

While none of this is mandatory for becoming a DevSecOps engineer, this certification path offers an efficient and highly effective method for developing a strong understanding of the approach and how to apply it in practice.

What is the Value of Getting Certified in DevSecOps?

As we mentioned previously, security has become a primary concern in software development. With the potential for breaches and other disasters on the rise, security is a key element for creating value and avoiding disasters.

According to Talent.com, a DevSecops Engineer can earn an average of between:

  • $120,276 and $175,000 in the US

  • £62,679 and £90,000 in the UK

Keep in mind that senior positions require a certain degree of experience utilizing DevSecOps in practice, along with a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

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