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Lead Software Engineer Ref. 1297

IT, Science & Technical
Cheltenham, Manchester
Competitive package based on qualifications and experience
GCHQ is offering you an exciting opportunity to join our Software Engineering team as a Lead Software Engineer.


As one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, we unlock the complex world of communications to keep our nation safe. We work closely with MI5 and MI6, our partners in the intelligence community, to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats. Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find anywhere else.


Do you want to do things that most people cannot? Do you like to grapple with complex and unusual problems? Our teams of Software Engineers find innovative and clever solutions to support the whole range of GCHQ’s technical capabilities. You may be developing capabilities to access the computers of a terrorist group, or carrying out operations to retrieve vital online clues about the location and identity of members of an organised crime ring. Alternatively, you may be carrying out vulnerability research in support of national security objectives for network defence purposes, or by supporting military operations across the full spectrum of cyber activities.

While the role is challenging, our flexible working policy ensures a healthy work-life balance. Wherever possible, we look to accommodate reduced hours or job share options balanced against business needs.


We’re looking for people with demonstrable development experience who keep up with changing technologies and want to make a real difference to the UK.

Competent Practitioner Roles
You are likely to be joining from a relevant job elsewhere or have recently obtained a relevant degree. You expect to take responsibility for reasonably big and complex pieces of work having done some degree of autonomy in how you tackle them.

Senior Practitioner and Team Leader Roles
You will have the responsibility for complex and significant tasks and be a leader in your field, operating without the need for much supervision. This may include financial or team management responsibilities, but not always; your strengths may lie in your technical skills and knowledge rather than your leadership ability. You will have demonstrated similar experience elsewhere or have strong evidence that you are capable of this level responsibility.

Principal Practitioner and Manager Roles
Often with chartered status, you will be responsible for leading significant and important work, often in complex and uncertain areas. This may include significant financial, project or team responsibilities. You will engage at all levels of the organisation and lead in areas of high business impact, including national and international level. Alternatively, you may be a deep expert of world leading calibre, capable of solving the hardest problems possible and advancing your field into new unchartered areas.

You have either a 2:2 degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant STEM subject (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Science, Technology, and Engineering), or alternatively, you have demonstrable work experience at the level required for the role.

You also have knowledge or experience in some of the following areas:

•    Design and development in the C family of languages, Python, Java or assembly
•    Performance analysis and optimisation of software;
•    Design and development using distributed big data technologies such as Hadoop;
•    Application and data Processing development, including web application frameworks, user interfaces and automated testing;
•    Ability to work in self organising agile teams


At GCHQ we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. With comprehensive training and development opportunities, tailored to your needs and the requirements of your work, we’ll enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities. We encourage professional development to help you reach Chartered Engineer or Chartered IP Professional. You could also have the opportunity to run internal schemes, in collaboration with the IET.


Competitive package based on qualifications and experience




To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements. You’ll find more details here:

As users of the disability confident scheme, we also guarantee to interview all disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for our roles.

Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes to completing your application. We’re conscious this might be more time than you expected, so our system will allow you to save your application at any time and come back to it later. But remember to submit your full application before the closing date.

Once we’ve established that you meet our eligibility criteria, the next steps of this selection process are:

- Personal interview*
- Drug test

*Interviews will be held in Cheltenham and Manchester.
If you successfully complete these stages, you’ll receive a job offer, conditional upon you completing our developed vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to perform this vital role.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.