Preparing for the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams

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The DevOps methodology is a giant in the world of business and IT. Unlike set frameworks such as ITIL 4, DevOps is more of an idea: a set of organic practices that organizations follow to varying degrees in order to optimize the value of their software development and operations pipelines. Its booming popularity has created a steady demand for certified and experienced DevOps engineers, who can often enjoy significant career opportunities all over the world.

For those unfamiliar with the methodology, studying DevOps via an accredited course can offer an excellent introduction. Others study for DevOps certification in order to verify their knowledge and prove themselves capable of fulfilling the roles of senior DevOps engineers or DevOps leaders. There are also no prerequisites for getting started with most DevOps training courses, simply because of the sheer variety of skills and backgrounds that go into a traditional DevOps team.

Other popular options for prospective DevOps students are ‘DevSecOps’ and ‘Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).’ The former integrates security considerations into the DevOps methodology, prioritizing it in a way that not only guarantees protection for businesses and their clients, but also ensures compliance with key regulations. Similarly, SRE applies modern software development techniques to operations, optimizing the ‘reliability’ of services to create a superior experience for end-users. Needless to say, DevSecOps engineers and site reliability engineers are also highly sought after by businesses that rely on IT-powered services.

The DevOps Institute is a global organization that works to “advance the human elements of DevOps…” In addition to networking opportunities, it also offers a variety of certifications built around DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE.

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Interested in becoming certified in DevOps, DevSecOps, or SRE? Here’s everything you need to know about passing the DevOps Institute exams!

  • DevOps Foundation (DFOD) – This exam covers the basics of the DevOps methodology, including its core principles and practices, DevOps cultures, the importance of automation, and more. There are no prerequisites for sitting the DevOps Foundation certification exam.
  • DevOps Leader (DOL) – This exam looks at DevOps from the perspective of a senior DevOps engineer or DevOps leader. Students require a firm grasp of elements such as transformational leadership, continuous learning and improvement, ‘unlearning’ behaviors, maintaining the energy and momentum of a DevOps pipeline, and establishing a DevOps organization. While there are no prerequisites for sitting the DevOps Leader certification exam, the course is generally intended for more knowledgeable and experienced candidates.
  • DevSecOps Engineering (DSOE) Foundation – This exam covers the relationship between development, operations, and security teams. Students must understand several key elements, including culture and management, strategic and security considerations, application and operational security, and identity and access management. There are no prerequisites for sitting the DevSecOps Engineering certification exam.
  • Site Reliability Engineering Foundation (SREF) – This exam covers the basics of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). Students must have a clear understanding of the principles and practices of the methodology, along with service level objectives (SLOs) and error budgets, how to reduce toil, monitoring and service level indicators (SLIs), using SRE tools, driving automation, and more. There are no prerequisites for sitting the Site Reliability Engineering Foundation certification exam.

Becoming certified in DevOps, DevSecOps, or SRE verifies a candidate’s knowledge of their chosen methodology, how to apply it, and how it can create value. Studying a set syllabus also equips candidates to collaborate with other practitioners using shared terminology and practices.

DevOps Certification Exams: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I qualify for the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams?

None of the exams covered above have prerequisites. This is largely because there are several potential paths to becoming a DevOps, DevSecOps, or site reliability engineer

However, it is recommended that candidates choose an exam that corresponds with their current level of knowledge. A newcomer would start with a Foundation course, while a more experienced practitioner may choose a course such as DevOps Leader, and so on.

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How do you become a DevOps engineer?

There is no set path to becoming a DevOps engineer, with many practitioners openly stating that they do not approve of the term. What really matters is having skills that are relevant to a DevOps team. 

These can include:

  • Virtualization
  • Coding and scripting
  • Automation
  • Security assessments
  • Sysadmin work
  • Cloud and infrastructure management
  • Storage and network optimization
  • Support
  • Soft skills

How do you become a DevSecOps engineer?

The route to becoming a DevSecOps engineer can vary. Generally speaking, there are no set requirements, aside from an understanding of the DevOps methodology and how to apply it to security considerations. Most DevSecOps engineers will start out as IT security professionals and gain experience with automated security checks, inter-team collaboration, providing support, and so on.

How do I become a site reliability engineer?

Like DevOps and DevSecOps, SRE is more of an organic and cultural methodology than a set framework. The best route to becoming a site reliability engineer is to have a firm understanding of the skills involved, such as chaos engineering, coding, testing, and so on. Knowledge of how to collaborate with other teams and departments is also essential, as SRE relies on applying the logic and tools of software development to operational issues.

How long does it take to study for the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams?

How long it will take to study for the DevOps Institute certification exams depends on the individual and their schedule. Good e-Learning’s certification courses on each topic come with between 14 and 16 hours’ worth of course materials, as well as six months of access following the point of purchase.

Students are advised to take as long as they require to gain a firm understanding of each individual course module. Good e-Learning offers regular knowledge checks to help with this, as well as tutor support and practice exam simulators.

How difficult are the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams?

The exams themselves are not unreasonably difficult; they simply require a firm understanding of the subject matter. 

That being said, the DevOps Leader course is more geared towards senior DevOps engineers rather than newcomers. As such, candidates are expected to be able to approach DevOps from a more managerial perspective. This includes how to first establish a DevOps culture within an organization.

How do I prepare for the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams?

Good e-Learning offers a variety of assets to help students prepare for their exams. These include instructor-led videos, knowledge checks, and downloadable assets for studying offline. Students are advised to revisit each module in their course after getting to the end, rather than immediately booking an exam. Taking practice exams will also be essential for getting used to the conditions of the official certification exams.

It is worth keeping in mind that DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE each have global communities of practitioners. There is no shortage of materials such as case studies and whitepapers on each methodology, and students can also join online forums and other groups to develop a more organic understanding of each methodology.

How do I take the DevOps, DevSecOps, and SRE exams?

All DevOps Institute certification exams can be taken via the DevOps Institute website. Users are advised to test the compatibility of their devices in advance of booking an exam. 

Good e-Learning also offers free vouchers for each certification exam, as well as free resits via Exam Pledge.

What do I need to know about the DevOps Foundation exam?

  • This is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 40 questions
  • There is a time limit of 60 minutes to complete the exam
  • The exam is open-book, with only the provided materials being permitted for use
  • The pass mark for the exam is 65%: you must score at least 26 out of 40 questions correct
  • In countries where English is a second language, the time allocated for the exam is extended to 75 minutes
  • Candidates can take the exam online or in-person with an invigilator

What do I need to know about the DevOps Leader exam?

  • This is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 40 questions
  • There is a time limit of 60 minutes to complete the exam
  • The exam is open-book, with only the provided materials being permitted for use
  • The pass mark for the exam is 65%: you must score at least 26 out of 40 questions correct
  • Students who do not have English as a native language will be given an additional 25 minutes
  • Candidates can take the exam online or in-person with an invigilator

What do I need to know about the DevSecOps Foundation exam?

  • This is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 40 questions
  • There is a time limit of 60 minutes to complete the exam
  • The exam is open-book, with only the provided materials being permitted for use
  • The pass mark for the exam is 65%: you must score at least 26 out of 40 questions correct
  • Students who do not have English as a native language will be given an additional 25 minutes
  • Candidates can take the exam online or in-person with an invigilator

What do I need to know about the Site Reliability Engineering Foundation (SREF) exam?

  • This is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 40 questions
  • There is a time limit of 60 minutes to complete the exam
  • The exam is open-book, with only the provided materials being permitted for use
  • The pass mark for the exam is 65%: you must score at least 26 out of 40 questions correct
  • Students who do not have English as a native language will be given an additional 25 minutes
  • Candidates can take the exam online or in-person with an invigilator

Why study for the DevOps Institute exams with Good e-Learning?

Good e-Learning is an award-winning online training provider and a Trusted Education Partner for the DevOps Institute. We work with subject matter experts to deliver courses that teach students how to apply their training in practice while also preparing them to sit and pass their certification exams. Along with downloadable assets like whitepapers and blogs, we also offer instructor-led videos, knowledge checks, and practice exams. Students can access courses via the free Go.Learn app, and our support team is fully qualified to answer questions on course content. Once a student is ready, they can also contact us to receive a FREE exam voucher – as well as FREE resits via Exam Pledge.

Visit the Good e-Learning website or contact a member of our team to find out more!

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Philip is a content writer with experience across multiple industries, including gaming, home improvement, and now e-learning. He graduated from the London School of Economics with a BA in History before taking on various odd jobs and volunteer writing positions, but soon broke into professional writing as a retail journalist. Now focusing on content writing, Philip is a tireless enemy of cliched corporate jargon. He believes that marketing content should be clear, concise and relevant to readers. Rather than assuming that customers know all about your solution, it is up to you to identify with their problem and offer something that will really get their attention. As such, he strives to understand the real-world applications of Good e-Learning’s product portfolio so that it can be explained in a way that is both coherent and down to earth. If you cannot understand what you are selling, you won’t get far! In his spare time, Philip enjoys watching movies, gaming and writing with friends.