I applied to join GCHQ after I went to a roadshow and spoke to someone about the organisation and the work. I wanted to use my Physics degree in an environment where I felt as if I was making a real contribution to people’s lives.
I’d been through the vetting process before for my previous job, so I knew what to expect. First I had to complete an online assessment and then I went for an interview. I also had to have drugs test, which just involved taking a hair sample. Although it took quite a long time, the vetting interview was absolutely fine, and my vetting officer was very nice.
When I started working here I had a steep learning curve to develop my technical skills. Then it was a case of building on that by reading papers, journals and textbooks… talking to other people… day to day work… and conferences.
I’ve been on a number of training courses… I’ve visited other organisations and universities both abroad and in the UK… and I’ve taken in-house courses for both technical and soft skills.
As you‘d expect, the technologies, solutions and approaches that we see are very diverse - and sometimes unique. It’s the diversity that I enjoy the most… It’s unlikely that another job would expose you to such a range of technology. It’s also very satisfying that what I’m doing has a tangible effect on securing the country in some way.
The culture’s community based and very supportive. I’ve worked with a diverse range of people and they’ve been invaluable in helping me to develop… offering a huge amount of support and knowledge. Working with them and observing them really helped me to understand the various technologies and most importantly, how to implement them effectively.
It’s this friendly culture that I hadn’t really expected.