I joined GCHQ after qualifying as an Information Specialist. I wanted to work somewhere I could make a real difference, and safeguarding the UK’s national security really appealed to me. I can’t think of many things more worthwhile that that!
On top of that, I wanted to work somewhere with really varied and challenging work. And I really liked the idea of being able to change roles and try something different every few years.
I have a really busy job and I work closely with lots of different operational teams, so the biggest challenge is managing time and prioritising work. Fortunately, I’m part of a really good team, and we work collaboratively, sharing work between us. We tackle a variety of research topics to provide deep open source research to support our customers across the business. This includes working on a mix of short, sometimes urgent pieces of research, with longer term, more in depth research, where we use a wide range of quality resources to produce detailed research reports. You have to think creatively and be prepared to get to grips with unfamiliar topics that are often quite technical. And you really have to be able to learn quickly and be open to continually developing yourself.
The Open Source team is also involved in training customers. We write training courses, including a range of e-learning modules, and provide awareness briefings to our customers so that they can find and exploit open source information effectively.
There are so many opportunities at GCHQ and the training and support available is excellent. Starting something new can feel intimidating, but my colleagues were incredibly supportive. I’ve been stretched and more challenged than I would have been if I’d worked somewhere else.