Mathematician – GCHQ

I really wanted to join the organisation because I saw it as a great opportunity to have a job working on pure maths. I actually studied Mathematics at University and pure maths really interested me. But I’ve been able to learn a lot of new things that we didn’t cover when I was studying, and I now view maths as more of a tool to solve difficult real-world operational problems and make an impact… all in real time.

So it’s a lot more applied than I thought it would be – and collaborative… we often work together to find a solution. Because of that, there’s a huge variety of mathematical topics that you can work on. When I first joined, I’d never done any programming but that didn’t turn out to be a problem at all. I’m actually comfortable enough to call myself a competent programmer now because I went through lot of training and programming practice. Initially, when I first applied, I didn’t think I’d be good enough for the job but the recruitment team reassured me throughout the process.

Even though I came to do pure mathematics, I was still surprised by the range of jobs available here for mathematicians. It’s important that you’re willing to learn, and be very persistent, because I’ve found that the more maths you know, the more tools you have at your disposal. And the more tools you have, the more problems you can solve.

Find out more about working at GCHQ