Junior Software Engineers and Software Engineers Ref. 2581

Black History MonthMind Silver AwardThe Times Top 100Disability confident leaderThe Prince's Responsible BusinessStonewall Diversity Champion 2021The Guardian UK 300 logoSocial Mobility Foundation Award

Technology Roles
Cheltenham, Manchester
Junior Software Engineer £30,831 Software Engineer £35,081 - £38,105 dependent on skills and experience (package includes basic salary, concessionary payment and skills payment), you will also receive an additional one-off recruitment bonus.

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.

Available Roles

Our engineering requirements are wide-ranging and often unique. We’re looking for engineers with skillsets across a wide spectrum of areas including:

Multi-skilled Software Engineering, Cloud Engineering, UX, Site Reliability Engineering, Front-End design, Agile, Solution Architecture, Data Engineering, and Machine Learning Operations.

Your work is at the core of everything we build. We offer a strong work-life balance and benefits, training and certifications and are remote-working friendly. Our culture is centred on embracing a growth mindset, equality, and encouraging teams and leaders to bring their best each day.

Junior Software Engineer

A typical day in the role could involve spending time on placement in an Agile team, tackling real-world mission 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 being moved to different teams to further your knowledge. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to develop your technical skillset, with up to 30% of your time spent on personal development and even gaining certifications. You’ll contribute to larger-scale projects to deploy into different environments like on-prem and Cloud, and will also learn and contribute to the wider engineering community. And, with clear progression from Junior all the way up to Lead Software Engineer in as little as five years, there’s opportunities to progress your own career.

Software Engineer

Similar to the Junior Software Engineer role, a typical day could include working 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, .NET). You’ll also deliver your work in collaboration with others and use various approaches such as pairing/mobbing, and individual programming. You’ll be ensuring best practice and continual improvement by reviewing pull requests, ready for integration into production systems. Your contribution to larger scale projects will form part of your day-to-day activities, as will your influence and contribution to the engineering community.

About You

Whilst 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 value your engineering mindset, tenacity and perseverance with problems that seem unsolvable.  

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...why not just give it a go!   

As a Junior Software Engineer, you’re not expected to come to us with a wealth of knowledge or skills on day one – full training is provided. You’ll ideally have a passion for technology and be keen to grow a career in software engineering. This will be supported by experience with coding a programme (via a simple web app or API), either self-taught or as part of a bootcamp or training initiative. Self-motivated, supportive and collaborative, you’ll be open to learning about Agile ways of working and stay up to date with new and emerging technologies.

We’re looking for Software Engineers with potential. We’re looking for people who are comfortable developing software features and have experience with at least one modern language/framework such as C++, GoLang, Java, JavaScript, .NET, Node, Python or Rust. Ideally, you’ll have previously worked as part of an Agile team but if not, you’ll be open to learning and adapting to an Agile way of working. Knowledge of Cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP) is desirable.

Training and Development

At GCHQ, we’re proud to offer an inclusive and supportive working environment. Junior Software Engineers will join a Cohort and attend a software training programme for the first few months in their new roles with dedicated support throughout the training. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, in whatever role you join us in, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. 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.

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 can cover 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. Examples of potential training for a Software Engineer include:


  • AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification
  • AWS Developer Certification
  • Java Fundamentals (object orientated programming)
  • Database Fundamentals / Patterns
  • Linux & CLI Essentials
  • Cloud Academy / Pluralsight / O'Reilly Subscription

Rewards and Benefits

As a Junior Software Engineer, you’ll receive a starting salary of £30,831 (package includes basic salary and concessionary payment) you will also receive an additional one-off recruitment bonus.

As a Software Engineer, you’ll receive a salary from £35,081 - £38,105 dependent on skills and experience (package includes basic salary, concessionary payment and skills payment), you will also receive an additional one-off recruitment bonus. Specialist Skills Bonuses are based on assessment at interview and reviewed every 3 years. Our other benefits also include:


  • 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
  • Opportunities to work flexibly, including hybrid working, subject to business needs
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • 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


Culture and Working Environment 

As part of our team, you’ll discover an inclusive workplace that’s welcoming, supportive and encouraging. You’ll be part of an organisation where people want to support one another and make a difference. Aside from fostering an open culture, we've got a range of growing affinity groups including: 


  • Ethnic Minority and gender equality networks
  • Groups supporting wellbeing, mental health, neurodiversity and disability
  • Faith/No Faith communities
  • LGBTQ+ support networks


You’ll also find a variety of sports, activity, interest and social groups to help you settle in and connect with people with similar interests. 

Before You Apply

To work at GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen. We do have a 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.

Honesty and integrity are really important if you want to work at GCHQ. Take some time to read about the vetting process and make sure you meet the criteria in the vetting pages of the ‘How to Apply’ section. The process can take some time, but this is just because it’s thorough. Giving misleading information and omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously.

The roles are based in Greater Manchester or 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.

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, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, 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.

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 ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview where practicable; this is known as ‘Offer of an Interview’. To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are:

Junior Software Engineer Role: 

  • Ability to code programmes (e.g. simple web app, a simple API)
  • Ability to work within a software engineering team
  • Ability to demonstrate full knowledge of at least one modern language/framework, such as C++, GoLang, Java, JavaScript, .Net, Node, Python, Rust.


Software Engineer Role:

  • Demonstration of an ability to learn/adapt to Agile ways of working
  • Ability to develop software features
  • Ability to demonstrate full knowledge of at least one modern language/framework, such as C++, GoLang, Java, JavaScript, .Net, Node, Python, Rust.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have the nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries (further information on our eligibility criteria can be found here. If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You can apply at the age of 17 years, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. 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 of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section. 

What to Expect

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

  • Expectation telephone call
  • CV Sift
  • Competency-based interview, including a technical section

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.

Our Vetting

To work in these roles you will need the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community has to go through and it can take some time. As part of the DV process you will be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire and attend an interview with a vetting officer. In your interview the vetting officer will have a thorough, compassionate and honest discussion with you about you as a person and your life experiences, to ensure holding a DV clearance is right for you. You don’t need to do any preparation for your vetting interview, just be honest and be yourself. All applicants for DV are treated impartially and consistently, irrespective of gender, race, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.

Please return to the main job page to apply for this role. Click 'Submit' at the bottom of the page where you will be taken to complete the application form. Within the application you will be prompted to select which role you are applying for.


Right to Withdraw Statement:

Please be aware that we withhold 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.