Trainee Software Engineers Ref. 2816

Mind Achieving Impact AwardSocial Mobility Foundation AwardThe Times Top 100Disability confident leaderThe Prince's Responsible Business

Technology Roles
Cheltenham, Manchester
£32,092 - you’ll also receive an additional one-off recruitment bonus of £2,000

Flexible Working

Full-time and part-time opportunities (flexible working hours available) based in Manchester or Cheltenham with a mix of office and remote working dependent on business needs. 

About Us

We’re GCHQ, and we unlock the complex world of communications to make a real difference to the safety of the nation. We work closely with our partners in the intelligence community to safeguard Britain's people, interests, and businesses from threats such as serious organised crime, people and drugs trafficking, terrorism and cyber-attacks.

GCHQ is offering you an exciting opportunity to join our organisation as a Trainee Software Engineer.

You’re not expected to come to GCHQ with a wealth of knowledge or skills on day one. If you have a passion for technology and are keen to grow a career in software engineering, this is the role for you.    

We offer a strong work-life balance and benefits, training and certifications and are remote-working friendly.

About the role

A typical day in the role of Trainee Software Engineer could involve placement in an Agile team, tackling real-world problems via a variety of software engineering methods, languages and frameworks such as JavaScript, Java, C++, Node, Python, Rust, Go, and .NET. But first, you’ll be trained in the essential skills before exploring different teams to further your knowledge. You’ll contribute to large-scale projects and be deployed into different environments like on-prem and Cloud always learning from and contributing to the wider engineering community.  You’ll be empowered to work autonomously to achieve the desired outcome, whilst growing your skills in the process.


About You

While the languages we use most at the moment are Javascript, C++, Java and Python, it’s far more important that you’re able to learn new languages and libraries and keep yourself up to date. We’ll value your tenacity and perseverance with problems that seem unsolvable.  

You might have just left college or university. Or maybe you’re looking for a career change. This is an entry-level role, so full training is provided. Above all, you’ll be someone who enjoys collaborating, sharing insights, and learning every day.  Your passion for technology  will be supported by experience in coding a programme (via a simple web app or API), either self-taught or as part of a bootcamp or training initiative. What’s more, you’ll be self-motivated, supportive and open to learning about Agile ways of working and new and emerging technologies.

Diverse teams really are the best teams. So, if you are excited about working with us and think you can do much of what we are looking for but aren’t sure if you are 100% there yet, we’d still love to hear from you.

Our culture is centred on embracing a growth mindset, equality, and encouraging teams and leaders to bring their best self to work each day. 


Training and Development

At GCHQ we’re proud to offer an inclusive and supportive working environment. As a Trainee Software Engineer, you’ll receive dedicated support and training.  As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, no matter what the role, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. And we value your ability to learn and adapt to new challenges. So we’ll invest in your skills and the way you like to learn, from books, study, courses, and conferences to stretching work with the support of the team.

Training and career development is encouraged with a minimum of 10% of your work time ­– and bursaries – being dedicated to this. We’re keen for everyone to have the chance to study towards what matters to them. This could be Certifications (Cloud, framework specific methodologies etc) or continued academic learning like MSc/PHD and also an opportunity to work towards chartered engineer status (CCENG/ENG).

You’ll be encouraged to drive and shape your own personal development and you’ll have access to learning and development opportunities tailored to your role. You’ll be supported to gain professional qualifications and certifications. Our training covers a multitude of software disciplines including front end design, site reliability engineering, data engineering, solutions architecture, machine learning operations, UX, Agile and Cloud engineering. 

We’ll help you to master the art of software and become part of our world-class engineering team, including seeking out opportunities to continually learn and develop – for example, through mentoring or spending time with other teams.


Rewards and Benefits

As a Trainee Software Engineer you’ll receive a starting salary of £32,092 plus an additional one-off recruitment bonus of £2,000, plus other benefits including:

  • 25 days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays
  • Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
  • Interest-free season ticket loan (parking and travel)
  • Excellent pension scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Facilities such as a gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
  • Paid parental and adoption leave.


Equal Opportunities

At GCHQ diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website here.


We’re Disability Confident

GCHQ  are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme. This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident, we aim to offer a person-to-person interview to any candidate that self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role.  This is our “Offer of Interview” (OOI). To secure an interview for this vacancy, the essential criteria (in order of application process) are:

  • Evidence of formal software training (i.e. development programme, bootcamp etc)
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of at least one modern language/framework, such as C++, Golang, Java, JavaScript, Net, Node, Python, Rust.


What to Expect

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

  • Application sift
  • Technical and competency based interview including a presentation.

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process in order to progress to the next. Your application may take around six to nine months to process including vetting, so we advise you continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer.

Before You Apply

Please be advised you may only apply to one of the Software Engineer roles, however, we can advise that you may be considered for one of the other roles should you be suitable.

To work at GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality.  You can read our full eligibility criteria here

The role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV).  It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes.  You can find out more about the vetting process here.

Please note we have strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.

The roles are based in Manchester/Greater Manchester and Cheltenham, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application.


Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.  You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.


Right to Withdraw Statement:

Please be aware that we reserve the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment


This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.