Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview Process

Cyber Security is the cornerstone of Google’s products and services. At Google, teams like “Project Zero” focus on finding and fixing vulnerabilities to make the web a safe space for all users. One can imagine the catastrophic effects a cyber attack can have on a platform like Google, which has millions of users worldwide.

This makes the role of a Security Engineer at Google critical, bearing a very high degree of responsibility and accountability. So when Google sets out to hire Cyber Security Engineers, you can be sure they only take on the sharpest and brightest minds in the field. This is why the Cyber Security interview at Google is challenging to get through.

If you’re preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Google? and How to Get Software Engineering Jobs at Google for specific insights and guidance on Google tech interviews.  

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In this article, we’ll take you through the Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview process to help you get started:

  • Google Cyber Security Engineer Role Requirements
  • Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview Process
  • How to Prepare for the Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview
  • Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview Questions
  • How to Prepare for Your Next Google Interview
  • Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview FAQs

Google Cyber Security Engineer Role Requirements

To qualify for the role of Cyber Security Software Engineer at Google, you will have to meet the following minimum requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related technical field or equivalent practical experience.
  • At least 5 years of industry experience in the field of security.
  • Coding experience in one or more languages.
  • Experience handling attacks and mitigation methods.
  • Experience working on at least two of the following: 
  • Web Application and Browser Security 
  • Network Protocols and Secure Network Design
  • Security Assessments and Penetration Testing
  • Operating System Internals and Hardening
  • Authentication and Access Control
  • Security Monitoring and Intrusion Detection 
  • Applied Cryptography and Security Protocols
  • Incident Response and Forensics
  • Development of Security Tools, Automation, or Frameworks

Preferred qualifications:

  • A master's degree in Computer Science or a related field.

In addition, Google seeks software engineers who have the ability to:

  • Incorporate security aspects during the conceptualization stage of system design.
  • Build systems that can be scaled up to serve billions of users.
  • Build software solutions to real-life problems. 
  • Be leaders; manage projects and prioritize requirements, tasks, deadlines, and deliverables.
  • Bring in new ideas about:
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Distributed Computing
  • Information Retrieval 
  • Large-scale System Design
  • Networking and Data Storage
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Security
  • UI Design and Mobile

Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview Process

Google’s Cyber Security Engineer Interview process is similar to the Google Software Engineer interview process, but with a special focus on Network Security skills and experience.

There are three main stages to the Google Cyber Security interview process: 

  1. Application Process 
  1. Phone Screen and Technical Screen
  2. Onsite Interviews

The interview process can last for 6-8 weeks, on average, from the time your application is accepted.

1. Application Process

You can apply to Google directly or through a recruiter. Ensure your resume is up-to-date and your cover letter is tailored to the position of Cyber Security Engineer at Google. An employee referral can help ensure your application gets noticed by a recruiter.

Recommended Reading: Leverage LinkedIn to Unlock FAANG Interviews

2. Phone Screen

If your application is shortlisted, you’ll receive a call from a recruiter who will try to get to know you better and assess which team will be the best fit for you.

Once you get past the HR or phone screen, the recruiter will schedule your next interview, which will involve a coding assessment. 

3. Technical Screen/Coding Interview

At the coding interview, you’ll be asked questions on data structures and algorithms. You’ll be required to solve problems using a remote collaborative editor. 

Questions asked at the technical screen are usually similar to questions asked at the Google Software Engineer interview

Check out this coding assessment cheat sheet to save time when preparing for the coding interview.

4. Onsite Interviews

Onsite interviews are typically held on-campus at the Google office. The onsite stage of the interview process comprises up to 6 rounds of face-to-face interviews.

Each interview round lasts for about 45-60 minutes.  

The onsite stage of the Google Cyber Security hiring process comprises the following interviews:

  • Coding Interview
    The Google Cyber Security Coding interview will feature questions on algorithms and data structures (similar to those asked at the Google Software Engineer interview). The coding interview for Cyber Security roles is easier than it is for SDE roles.
  • System Design Interview
    At the Google Cyber Security System Design interview, you will be required to design a high-level modern technology system, e.g., a Google product or service, focusing on its security features. For Cyber Security roles, Google may conduct more than one system design interview.
  • Cyber Security Design Interview

In this interview, you’ll be asked to design a system focusing on security risk evaluation and assessment. Here, you’ll be evaluated on your problem-solving approach.

These interviews are designed to elicit detailed information about your work experience and your motivation for the prospective role. Interviewers will also assess how well your values align with company values.

Behavioral questions are commonly asked at all interviews, irrespective of your prospective role or company.

Check out this behavioral interview guide to master the art of answering behavioral questions effectively.

Topics to Prepare for Google’s Cyber Security Engineer Interview

The first step of your Cyber Security tech interview prep should be to make a study plan. If you don’t know where to start, you can avail the expert guidance of FAANG hiring managers at Interview Kickstart

Following are the Important Topics for Your Google Cyber Security Interview Prep:

1. Coding Topics:

2. System Design

  • Designing complex architecture systems and platforms
  • Designing product features focusing on system security

3. Behavioral:

4. Cyber Security:

  • Basic Security Concepts 
  • Application Security / Source Code Analysis
  • XSS Types
  • Web Vulnerabilities
  • OS Internals
  • Malware / Exploits
  • SQL Injections
  • Ethical Hacking

Google Cyber Security Mock Interviews 

To sharpen your interview skills and calm your nerves, you should practice at least 30 mock interviews before appearing for your cyber security interview at Google. 

You can practice mock interviews for your Google Cyber Security interview with peers, or even better, with hiring managers and experts from Google itself at Interview Kickstart.

Whether you wish to become a FAANG+ Cyber Security Engineer, a Software Developer, or an Engineering Manager, our mentors and coaches at IK are here to guide you through your preparation for the interview process. Interview Kickstart is where you’ll find everything you need to know about cracking Google’s tech interview process.

Pro Tip: Consider completing the Google Cyber Security course for an added advantage.

Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview Questions

Given below are sample questions you can expect at Google’s Cyber Security interview.

  • Find all palindromic decompositions of a given string ‘s.’ (Solution)
  • Given K sorted arrays arr, of size N each, merge them into a new sorted array res. (Solution)
  • Given an array of integers, find any non-empty subarray whose elements sum up to zero. (Solution)
  • Given an array of n non-negative integers, find the maximum difference between 2 consecutive numbers in the sorted array of the given integers. (Solution)
  • Given a binary tree, return all paths from root to leaf. (Solution)
  • Given the root node of a binary tree T, modify the tree in place and transform it into the mirror image of the initial tree T. (Solution)
  • Given a binary tree, check if it’s a binary search tree. A valid BST does not have to be complete or balanced. (Solution)
  • Given a network of servers where each server is connected to every other server directly or indirectly through the bidirectional connections in the network, find all the critical connections. (Solution)
  • Given a set of key-value pairs, for each unique key find: 1) The number of values and 2)The greatest value, lexicographically. (Solution)
  • Predict the probability of a user selecting a clickbait result of a Google Search.
  • Design a social network that is safe for school students to use. 
  • How would you respond to a security incident that takes place with X and Y characteristics? 
  • Assess the security risk of a given app, service, or network with X and Y characteristics and make recommendations.
  • Find the vulnerability in this (given) code snippet.
  • Reverse engineer this (given) code.
  • Given an attacker technique, X, how would you detect it?
  • How would you test for SQL injections?
  • How would you test for XSS?
  • How would you respond to an email disclosing a bug in an application?
  • How would you design security for Gmail from scratch?
  • Where are passwords stored on the disk in Linux?
  • How would you assess an application with X and Y characteristics? 

Check out our complete list of system design questions and technical questions with solutions to nail your Google Cyber Security Engineer interview prep.

Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview FAQs

1. How much do Cyber Security engineers make at Google?

In the United States, the average salary for a Cyber Security Engineer is $100,182 per year, along with a host of benefits, including stock options, bonuses, healthcare, paid vacations, and 401k plans.

2. How can I become a Security Engineer at Google?

To become a Security Engineer at Google, you must first meet the minimum requirements, as outlined below, to qualify for the role: 

  • A bachelor's degree in Computer Science, a related technical field, or equivalent practical experience.
  • At least 5 years of industry experience in the field of security.
  • Coding experience in one or more languages.
  • Experience handling system security issues.

You can apply for a Security Engineer position at Google directly or through a recruiter.

3. How many times can I apply for a job at Google?

At Google, you can apply for a maximum of three positions within a 30-day window. However, you’ll have to wait 90 days before re-applying for the same job. It has been observed at Google that candidates who reapply for technical roles are more likely to succeed if they do so after gaining additional experience of 12 - 18 months.

Prepare for Your Next Cyber Security Engineer Interview

If you want to get started with your interview prep and wish to give it your best shot, register for Interview Kickstart’s FREE webinar to understand the best way to prepare for tech interviews at the biggest companies. 

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