What's the purpose of MI5?
Our mission is to protect the UK from threats to our national security. Every day we work tirelessly to counter threats from terrorism, espionage and cyber-attacks. We also provide protective security advice to the critical national infrastructure.
What does the covert technical operations specialist (CTOS) role involve?
The role involves the collection, processing and analysis of intelligence collected from digital devices used by individuals and groups that pose a serious threat to our nation. To do this, our officers collaborate with a range of intelligence collection, analyst and investigative teams to understand the importance of the intelligence and assess the risk posed.
What does it take to become a CTOS?
Self-motivated and able to adapt to a constantly evolving and fast-paced working environment. Therefore the ability to remain calm under pressure and prioritise effectively is essential. Our officers work at the cutting edge of technology and possess a willingness and passion to stay up to date with new developments and develop new skills and knowledge continuously.
What skills and experience does a CTOS need?
Computer security is advancing at a rapid pace and it's essential that we stay ahead of the game. You'll either have relevant experience within the industry or a degree in a technology related field. Ideally applicants will have experience in two or more of the following technical areas - networking, computer/digital forensics, computer security and software development. It goes without saying that you'll have a passion for technology and drive to stay up-to date with new innovations.
Why would someone want to do this role?
It unique, it's challenging and critical to MI5's success. You will get an unrivaled opportunity to utilise and develop your technical skillset in order to keep the country safe. You will work closely with and learn from world leading experts in this field, not just from MI5 but also other government, law enforcement and private industry specialists.
What exciting projects are you working on?
We can't go into the specifics but our officers are continually involved in the development of new capabilities to improve the way we gather technical intelligence. Day-to-day they deliver and then ensure the ongoing success of our collection operations.
What does it take to have a successful career at MI5?
If you're passionate about using your skills to keep the country safe, you'll get all the support you need for a highly rewarding career at the forefront of computer security. By having an open mind, you'll learn new skills and find more effective, innovative ways of working. Whether you want to progress through promotion or by becoming a technical expert in a specific area, the qualities we look for are commitment and a willingness to learn from your experiences.
What opportunities are there for training and development?
We're committed to supporting your continuous professional development through our excellent training programme. This will include attendance at industry leading training courses, internal training courses, job shadowing and by giving you personal development projects.
What tips would you offer applicants?
Firstly, make sure you do your research. Our website is a great place to start – it will tell you all about our history and go into more detail about the work we do and contain information about the role itself, including a video.
You'll be set a challenge prior to attending an interview. Be willing to discuss how you approached the task and your reasoning behind this. Familiarise yourself with competency-based questions, but also ensure that you're ready to be evaluated on your technical ability. As you progress, be sure to read up on any knowledge gaps in between recruitment stages as this will show your willingness to learn and commitment to the process.
And finally, explain to us why you want to work here. It's your chance to convey your passion and show that you want to make a real contribution to what we do.
In a nutshell, what is it like to work for MI5?
Rewarding, exciting and challenging. It's a bit of a cliché but I can honestly say there's nothing more rewarding than knowing that the work we're doing is helping to keep our country safe.