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Software Engineer

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ
£25,052 - £47,047
Closing date
21 Nov 2022

Job Details

We are Dstl, we are UNIQUE, we’re recruiting Software Engineers.

The Threat Evaluation Group (TEG) within the Platform Systems Division of Dstl is responsible for understanding and countering threats to the UK armed forces. As a software engineer you will work on a diverse range of software projects that support cutting-edge research in this domain. If you have an interest in applying your software development skills to solve problems we want to hear from you.

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution.

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Dstl who?

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science, technology and engineering arm of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

At Dstl, we harness science and technology to protect our nation – bringing together the best people with the best ideas, and applying them in unexpected ways. Because we provide the UK government with specialist science and technology research, advice and analysis, what we do is often sensitive, classified and internationally collaborative. Much of our work is operationally critical and has the potential to save many lives.

Job description

We are looking for people to help develop software in tandem with research and engineering teams. You will be responsible for working with these teams to build tools and frameworks that deliver new approaches to threat evaluation. To do this you will need to have experience of software development, good communication skills and an aptitude for working across technical disciplines. People with the enthusiasm and ability to solve challenging problems are what we value most – if this sounds like you we can offer you an exciting and varied career with a wide range of benefits.

Person specification

This role is being advertised at multiple experience levels. For each level we are looking for someone with:

Software engineer (Level 4):

  • A strong drive for solving challenging problems, particularly in a research-oriented environment.
  • Experience in software development and engineering.
  • Strong written and verbal presentation skills.

Senior software engineer (Level 5):

  • Leadership or collaboration experience.
  • Strong software engineering experience, and a good understanding of best practices.
  • Experience of mentoring or leading other software developers or engineers.

Principal software engineer (Level 6):

  • Experience of leading large-scale software projects.
  • Experience of building and implementing a strategy for software development
  • Strong networking and influencing ability; particularly in working with external organisations or contractors.
  • Experience of implementing new workflows or processes to improve organisational or project-level efficiency.



A degree in computer science, mathematics, physics or in a similar area.


A Master’s degree or PhD.



  • Strong ability in at least one programming language.
  • Good verbal and written presentation skills.


  • Ability in Python, C++ or C#.
  • Experience of cross-platform development; particularly Windows and Linux.
  • Experience of GUI development.
  • Knowledge of version control or CI/CD systems.
  • Interest in algorithm design.
  • Interest in electronics.
  • Experience in technical leadership in studies or projects, people management or consulting


An active membership or fellowship of a relevant professional body is desirable. Dstl will pay for memberships for up to 2 relevant professional bodies.

Important Information
Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be UK Nationals who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to undertake the projects we are involved in to protect us from security threats. For this reason, only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners.

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some roles Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Developing Self and Others

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Please state which level you wish to be considered for (Level 4, 5 or 6) and describe how your skills and experience make you suitable for it.
  • Please provide an example of a technical challenge you have overcome and how you approached solving it.


Dstl’s full range of great benefits can be found in the information pack which includes:

  • Financial: An excellent pension scheme starting from 26% employer contribution (find out more here). In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme.
  • Flexible working: Full flexibility working options include alternative working patterns, compressed hours, job shares and annualised hours. Remote working may be available dependent on role.
  • Flexible working hours: Ability to bank hours in a 12 month reference period including the ability to accrue and use 3 days per calendar month.
  • Annual leave: 25 days pro rata (rising to 30 after 5 years) plus 8 public holidays with the ability to buy/sell 5 additional days per annum.
  • Family: Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks with full pay, an additional 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid
  • Learning and Development: Dstl encourages and supports charterships, accreditations and provides employees access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Dstl will pay for 2 memberships with relevant bodies/institutions. Employees also have access to Civil Service Learning.
  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached to the job specification on Civil Service Jobs. 

Our Diversity Networks

We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work. These include the following:

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network
  • Race, Faith and Culture Network
  • Parents and Carer Support Network
  • Alternative Working Network
  • Gender Equality Network
  • New Starters Network
  • Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

Things you need to know Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Application will consist of a CV and Personal Statement asking you to Indicate and detail some of your relevant hobbyist, Graduate, Industry or Academia experiences of working in this area. You will also be asked to answer some questions about your skills and interests.

Applications will be sifted as they are received, with successful candidates being invited to attend an online interview which will last for approximately one hour. This interview will examine your technical ability and behaviours.

You will be asked to give a short (10 minutes) presentation on a technical topic of your choice. We want to see how interested you are in not just using but also understanding technology and if you have ideas for technologies we may find useful. It’s your chance to show off your passions.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


About us

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science inside UK defence and security. A proven national asset, Dstl is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) providing world class expertise and delivering cutting-edge science and technology for the benefit of the nation and allies.

Who we are

Dstl is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security field.

Dstl supplies specialist services to MOD and wider government, working collaboratively with external partners in industry and academia worldwide, providing expert research, specialist advice and invaluable operational support.

We are innovative, collaborative and impactful.

Our responsibilities

Our responsibilities include:

  • supplying sensitive and specialist science and technology services for MOD and wider government
  • providing and facilitating expert advice, analysis and assurance on defence procurement
  • leading on the MOD’s science and technology programme
  • understanding risks and opportunities through horizon-scanning
  • acting as a trusted interface between MOD, wider government, the private sector and academia to provide science and technology support to military operations by the UK and her allies
  • championing and developing science and technology skills across MOD

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