Lead Software Engineer Ref. 1969

IT, Science & Technical
Central London
Full Time
£63,097 - £69,630

MI5 is responsible for protecting the UK from threats to our National Security. Our teams work tirelessly to ensure the safety and prosperity of our country, countering threats from terrorism and espionage. Whatever your role, you will contribute to our mission in keeping the country safe. We can’t tell you much about how we use technology, but we can tell you plenty about what it’s like to work with us.

Who we are

Engineering is the beating heart of MI5, developing and maintaining capabilities that support all aspects of our business. We use agile methodology to deliver products that are core to MI5’s operation, working to the full spectrum of investigative, analytical and corporate areas of the organisation. Our products are built across a variety of different tech stacks, giving engineers access to a career where they can move between teams to build experience in a wide number of technologies or develop a deep specialism in their preferred area.

Embracing a DevOps mind set, our teams run what we build. Whether it’s building a platform to enable the analysis of data, systems to track the progress of our investigations, compliance services to ensure we are operating legally or tooling to improve our developer experience, the nature of our work presents unique and fascinating engineering challenges, the likes of which you will never have seen before.

Our teams

We build products that provide capability aligned to the full range of MI5 business areas. Our multi-disciplinary product teams are made up of engineers who work alongside product owners, business analysts and agile delivery colleagues to ensure MI5 gets what it needs. The majority work in Scrum or Kanban. We have strong graduate and apprentice programmes that place our more junior staff alongside experienced engineers to support their development.

Our tech stacks vary between product, but most back end systems are built in Java or C#. We use technologies such as Oracle, Mongo, Elastic Search and Hadoop for data storage. On the front end we’re mostly JavaScript focussed, employing frameworks such as React.js.

Who you are

We are looking for Software Engineers who have experience of working with a broad range of technologies, leading engineering teams and taking responsibility for making technical decisions. We’re interested in people who:

  • Possess a strong understanding of Java, C#, Python or JavaScript
  • Act as a technical leader within engineering teams, confident in using their experience to set technical direction and make sound engineering decisions
  • Understand agile methodology and can help to embed its principles into a team
  • Have good knowledge of design patterns and are able to implement them appropriately
  • Can provide technical coaching to junior colleagues, developing their engineering skills
  • Constantly want to improve themselves and learn new things
  • Enjoy communicating with technical and non-technical colleagues

What you’ll do

You’ll share our collective responsibility to keep the country safe and be keen to constantly improve yourself and your team. Our teams work closely with each other and with mission customers, so it’s important that you’re prepared to communicate and share your knowledge. As a Lead Engineer, you’ll be expected to:

  • Lead the development across a small number of teams or take responsibility for a particular technical specialism where you will act as a subject matter expert
  • Support decision making and risk taking within teams using your experience and technical knowledge
  • Coach and mentor junior colleagues to help develop their skills, bringing on their engineering thinking
  • Promote best practice and help to set standards across the organisation
  • Participate in guilds and cross-organisation initiatives to build our community of engineers

Learning and development is central to our engineering ethos and we invest heavily in our staff. As part of your MI5 career we will support you in broadening and deepening your technical and non-technical skills. We have access to a wide variety of classroom and online learning, as well as our own development programmes and schemes.

We work with external bodies such as the Institute for Engineering and Technology and the British Computing Society to support and fund accreditation for our staff, which could be in a specific technical area or more broadly, such as becoming a Chartered Engineer.


  • Pension
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Financial support for learning and development
  • Subsidised Gym

Recruitment Process

You will be invited to upload your CV and complete an online application form. If successful, you will be invited to a face to face interview at MI5, which will include competency based and job specific questions. This will also explore your motivation to work for MI5. The final stage is a security interview with one of our vetting team. For more information, please visit: Interview Preparation.

You should read about the vetting process and satisfy yourself that you meet the criteria outlined in the vetting pages of the How to Apply section prior to submitting an application.
Giving misleading information or omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously. You should ensure that you follow our guidance from when you apply.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to the “Disability Confident” scheme we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the job vacancy that they are applying for. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

Along with the standard eligibility requirements for this post, your application will be assessed on how far you meet the job requirements. Your application must score the minimum amount of points set. On successful completion of this stage, you will be invited to interview. This will normally be a telephone interview and is our guaranteed interview.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must meet our residency criteria. You must be a born or naturalised British citizen and one of your parents must be a British citizen or have substantial ties to the UK.

Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for nine out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. However, we will still consider you if you’ve served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, studied abroad, or lived overseas with your parents.

You can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday.

Owing to the sensitivity of our work, we do not publicly disclose the identities of our staff. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

The Security Service is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect. We particularly welcome applications from women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates.