Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

Lead Data Scientist / Lead Machine Learning Engine...

Job description

About Us
We are GCHQ, 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.

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, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.

The Role
We’re looking for enthusiastic and highly organised individuals to support key aspects of our work, dependant on experience we have positions for technical specialists and technical managers across the organisation.
You’ll work closely with specialists and use your knowledge and experience to contribute to the creation of scalable artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science capabilities operating on mission-critical systems. It’s rewarding challenging work, that you just won’t find anywhere else. You’ll assess communications, collaborate in research, and pioneer the next generation of such capabilities. Some positions will involve leading teams, by delivering consistent and relevant messages to all and informing strategy. It’s expected you’ll give back to the community, by building understanding through mentoring and supporting junior colleagues.

You’ll work closely with other agencies, organisations, and commercial partners; as well as working with organisations that contribute to our corporate social responsibility agenda which may include the environment and inspiring future generations.
A positive team player, you’ll be supportive and active in creating an environment that embraces difference and capitalises on that advantage.

Requirements
  • Knowledge of and experience working in both data science and software engineering and talking to experts in both fields
  • Deep knowledge of machine learning training, deployment, and maintenance.
  • A thorough understanding of exploratory data analysis, statistical reasoning, communicating about data, and data-driven decision making.
  • Familiarity with modern software engineering best practices (e.g., agile) and know how they can be applied to data science projects.
  • The technical knowledge to take a prototype ML capability (e.g., in a Jupyter notebook) and build it into a functional system component
  • Proficiency with essential technologies including but not limited to – Python, R, Kubernetes, Docker, JavaScript, Java
  • Familiarity with other useful technologies- ELK, AWS (essential in 2+ years)

We require a candidate with sound technical knowledge and experience and will consider all relevant experience so long as the technical skills are demonstrated.

Training and Development
At GCHQ, we’re care hugely about learning and develop and are proud to offer an inclusive and supportive working environment that encourages open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we are committed to helping you fulfil your potential.

You’ll receive a starting salary of £44,000 - £63,000, 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
  • Personal Learning Budget.
  • Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business needs
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Excellent pension scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Facilities such as a subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars
  • 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. For example:

  • Ethnic Minority and gender equality networks
  • Groups supporting wellbeing, mental health, neurodiversity, and disability
  • Faith/No Faith communities for staff to come together
  • 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.

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:

  • A minimum of 5 Years' experience working in either ML or Data Science roles.
  • A consistent and clear commitment to CPD through formal accreditation and learning
  • Proficiency with essential technologies including but not limited to – Python, R, Kubernetes, Docker, JavaScript, Java

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 (for more info link to website / JD). If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. (For more info link to website / JD). 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 and 6 months, 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:
  • Application and initial sift
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply your knowledge, through a concise presentation (audio/video), slide deck or written report. (You will be given further details regarding topic, closer to interview). This should demonstrate the breadth of your skill.
  • Final Interview. This interview will explore your technical knowledge and influence, as well our core competency framework. Of the latter, specifically we will be looking at your experience in working with and leading others, contribution to delivery, and communication and knowledge sharing.

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Your application may take around 6 - 9 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 this role, you will need the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community must 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.

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.

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