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Altera Senior Information Security Analyst Interview Questions & Reviews

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Senior Information Security Analyst Interview

Senior Information Security Analyst
San Jose, CA

I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Altera in August 2012.

Interview Details – I was contacted bu an agency (headhunter) that had talked to me a few months ago about a different role, thinking I would be a good fit for this Senior InfoSec Analyst role. Always up for investigating a new opportunity, I went along for the ride.

The headhunter quickly set up a telephone interview with the hiring manager, which focused on buzzword bingo – APT, DLP, and the like. Nothing specific or technical, more of a review of my background and how it matched with their needs. Seems this is a new department, he had only two direct reports and was looking for an experienced, senior person to help grow and mentor the team. The conversation went well, and was scheduled for an onsite.

The four hour scheduled onsite was a mix of individual and panel interviews, including one via telephone with a remote worker. Plenty of opportunities for a bathroom break, and for a bottle of water. The HR staffing person and I had a short conversation, and then a short tour of the facility. It was really cool to see the fab testing rooms (from the picture windows of course), helped pull the picture together of the organization and my research prior. The HR staffing person specifically pointed out they painted many of the walls different colors due to previous interviewees commenting on how drab the office environment looked. No mention of how the drab cube farms still gave the office environment the typical drone feel.

The technical interviews were average overall, some did not give an opportunity to ask questions where others provided ample opportunities. Though I did note that multiple times individuals mentioned how much of a challenge it was working with & for their engineers – the chip makers and designers. Gave the impression that the design engineers ruled the roost around this place.

Up until meeting the two other analysts, I could assume the day was going well. Quickly it was evident they were green and inexperienced – both in their interviewing and as analysts. One barely asked any questions, the other asking on topics that was buzzword bingo or on topics that were barely relevant to the role. When my answers were not meeting her satisfaction, she started getting visibly frustrated – seems my answers were above and beyond what they were used to is my only guess. When leaving, her snarky 'Good Luck' clued me in that there was no chance in hell – and if I was hired, she would be a HR complaint waiting to happen.

Finally meeting with the hiring manager in person in closing the afternoon, I tried to address some of the issues and concerns his young analysts brought forth. Seems the company does not have a CISO, he reports to the CIO (good luck getting priorities and funding). The company had some major InfoSec incidents last year, so in response they hired him and are starting to put a team together. They are investing in some tools, he just hired the two new analysts, and is putting together a strategy on how to head forward. The meager training budget per employee for the year restricts what they can improve upon, but

My impression was that they are another company with little to no InfoSec program, throwing some finding at a small team and a bunch of tools to “solve their problems.” Let me quote Bruce Schneier: "If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology." They are looking for InfoSec engineers/sysadmins, not analysts. This organization has a long way to grow in their InfoSec posture; and after my experience talking with them for an afternoon I have no interest in helping them find their way. I would also caution anyone interviewing for these roles to do the same.

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