How to use pydantic to read environment variables and secret files in Python

Learn to manage your environment variables in a better way

Lynn G. Kwong
6 min readAug 15, 2021

In our Python code, we often need to specify some sensitive information such as database username, password, API keys, JWT tokens, etc. We should not store any sensitive data as plain texts in our source code repository because they can get leaked easily. A common practice is to store the credentials as environmental variables or secret files on the machine on which the application is running. The machine is a generic concept and can be a bare-metal machine, a virtual machine, a docker container, a Cloud Run service, a Cloud Function, etc.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.

For simplicity, suppose that we have set up two environment variables for database username and password.

$ export DB_USERNAME=some_username
$ export DB_PASSWORD=some_password

To read environment variables, a common way is to use the os module:



Lynn G. Kwong

I’m a Software Developer ( keen on sharing thoughts, tutorials, and solutions for the best practice of software development.