back to article Brit cyberwarriors, your country needs you

The government is proactively addressing its failure to retain internet specialists to deal with cyber security threats, according to a document (PDF) presented to Parliament by Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron presented the document to Parliament as the government's response to issues raised by the intelligence and …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get Stuffed

    how about funding people to do the research in order to become the experts you seek? no? oh well then guess people like myself who were due to go into this area (and then likely end up in the doughnut) will continue to bugger off to private companies who pay higher and expect less.

    Maybe if i didn't have to pay education fees out of my own pocket (BSc & MSc)and had the chance to further my research through some funding for post graduate (its distracting having to work part time at weekends and getting threatened every shift for not serving underage to just pay the fee's let alone living expenses) there might be a bit of will but when private companies show you more love through training/financial rewards your not going to compete

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they were that serious, why is the salary so low for software engineers? Is £25K even enough to live on down south in the Cheltenham area?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Believe it when I see it

    Pay simply isn't competitive - only reason people go there is if you can stick it for a few years it enhances your CV for private companies

    1. JohnG


      Another reason why people might work at GCHQ for such low pay is that they may also be getting some holiday money/perks from another country's security services.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm,,I wonder why that is?

    The cost and time of gaining (and maintaining) CLAS is quite prohibitive- as such, jobs for CLAS personnel have a premium. When you add the relatively poor salary of government security specialists (compared to the outside world) you can see the reasons why they can't hold on to staff.

    The last time I applied for a job a GCHQ (albeit 15 years ago) the salary was very poor (very poor indeed - 50% wage cut!, and I wasn't even CLAS). Now compare this to the average rate for a CLAS consultant outside of GCHQ.

    If they want to keep the skills, then they have to pay the wage - simple as that really.

    The other thing they could do is to make it easier (and cheaper) for people to become CLAS certified - this would reduce the CLAS premium in the outside world and thus reduce the temptation to leave, and reduce staff turnover (not good news for existing CLAS consultants of course, who quite like the 'elite' badge).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They have made it easier to join CLAS - doubled the total numbers in less than 3 years, and I've met a fair few idiots (what's the GSI? what's IS1?- I kid you not) who blagged it in recently. I'm considering whether I'll renew next year as they've diluted it enough methinks, and it doesn't guarantee someone who knows what they're talking about anymore.

    2. InfosecChap

      what no money

      it's a free market though. a CLAS contractor is likely to earn about £700 per day. They can get up to £1000. But even at around the £650 mark which is quite reasonable, then they are on £140K per year. All this for doing what you are told. Permie salaries for CLAS around the £70K mark, depending on who you work for.

      Show me the IA Policy Portal, I say, and let me at it.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Headless chickens, this way please .... First stops, the Cabinet Office and GCHQ.

    What is most certain after reading that quite pathetic document (PDF) presented to Parliament by Prime Minister David Cameron .... "Government Response to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Annual Report 2010–2011" ..... is that the UK has every right to fear what competent cyberwarriors can do ...... for they have absolutely no defence against them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not the money.

    My Nanny earns more than some devs at GCHQ, which is absolutely ridiculous, bearing in mind what they do for us.

    However it's not the wage that makes it crap, it's the location. And for anyone to be able to afford to work there, they have to have a wife that works full time too, and unless she wants to work in some garden centre in, albeit beautiful but still, sheep shagging inbreed country, you've got to be in the southeast.

    Just this week, I met an ex internet whiz from there. He must earn three times what he did, at least.

    They can't compete with the private sector when Westminster tw*ts turn around and say "Well, they do speak seven languages, and have 17 postgraduate qualifications in obscure modular mathematics, and operate in fields where I can't even understand the problem, let alone the solution, but they haven't got a PPE from Oxford, and haven't worked their entire career in politics. They don't lack any real word experience either... and besides, they're engineers."

    That said, if they paid say 60-70K, had an office within 20miles, I'd do it. (Not that they'd have me, even if DV clearance didn't take 128 years to get.)

    1. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

      @it's not the money

      Have to have a wife??? What, even the female staff?

  7. gibman70


    yeah but come on, you're missing the point...a big trade-off against their low pay is that you're doing top secret work with tech that the rest of us wont see for years, if ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "tech we won't see for years" like arrays of fpga and nvidia gpu's... Plus top secret stuff is not very interesting if it involves zippered holdalls...

      My eu-based salary in ICT security is larger than PM Cameron's but perhaps not as large as some ministerial ex-advisors?

  8. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

    @it's not the money

    ...have to have a wife????? What, even the female staff?

    Methinks your neanderthal prejudices are showing. Whiche means you'd fail selection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Charlie Quebec.

      I admitted in my original post, or so I thought, if I recall/reread correctly, that they wouldn't have me.

      Notwithstanding the brilliance of your ad hominem argument, and perhaps because of my own self declared world view, or some personality disorder, or that since a child, having rolled a wastepaper basket in class, because the two preceding children did as such to show what dustbin men (sorry dustbin people,) did each week, when I knew they put it on their shoulder, I regretted that action because it wasn't true and only did it because I didn't want to be a nail that stood up, and since then I've said what I thought to be correct. I do not accept other's opinions without evidence.

      Besides, I'm not a horse trader, and work is a two way proposition. They might not like an individual's position, but if their proposition doesn't match the specific individual's requirements, what difference does it make? "Dear child, if you clean your room, I'll let you go to bed early and miss your favourite telly programme."

      It's one of the problems with being an individualist. When I come across some ho with talent, I admit it instantly and tell them so, and when I come across some useless geezer I admit that too. In fact in the offices I've worked for the last 24 years, most almost totally staffed by "males." whenever I've come across women who are any good, I've stood to stop them being bullied out of the place, sometimes at the cost of my job, by men who say what it takes to get laid, but act as pack animals anyway.

      This doesn't preclude me reading the newpapers, and I believe Iain Lobban was referring to internet whizkids that were the problem, it's not linguists that have a Cockaigne in Amazon or Google, it's the obscure semi autistics who lived in darkened bedrooms as kids, looking at porn, and writing applications for script kiddies.

      Having enjoyed dating female nuclear physicists, amongst a long line of almost exclusively highly talented, women who also don't play games, there are some women who are as clever as some of the really clever men, but they're instantly spottable, and are freaks of nature just like the men are even if most of them try not to stand out. But statistically, there's a lot less of them. Having never been anywhere near Cheltenham, I can't say who works there or not, but my guess is there's a load of ex military signals types, probably more slightly more men than women. There's probably a load of Linguists, maybe balanced, and there's probably a load of IT staff and mathematicians. I imagine there's a few women here too, probably all brilliant, but still very outnumbered by men. How many female Unix kernel hackers does one meet? How female many Petabyte datawarehousing experts does one meet in the private sector? How many women have won the Krypton Factor, Mastermind etc? Any scuba diver could tell you about Henry's law, and partial pressures, there's not likely to be more women there proportionally than in any other IT department (even if women do flock to the public sector because of maternity benefits.)

      I'm watching on telly at the moment, a black, female space scientist celebrity at the moment. This doesn't mean I believe space exploration is pioneered by black women, not least because I met only one black person, and two women in the industry of hundreds of people when I worked in the space industry, it means to me the tv channel is trying desperately to push an agenda. I think it's important to believe what one can work out, rather than what other people's opinion of what the world should be.

      It's a point of fact that when such women, like Milicent the marvellous, or Violette the vantastic, etc, die or are in the news, I always say a private RIP to myself, for their contribution, just like I do for the men.

      I note that the dynamics between men and women are different. Men need money to get laid, women just need to stay still for a few hours, less if they're in Rome or Brixton. So as a class of people women will work on part time roles that don't pay much. Men can't. They get selected out of the gene pool if they do. Women will also perhaps reluctantly follow their husbands, the same isn't true for men so much.

      So my guess is that it is indeed men, not women, leaving with scarce skills in Ipsec that are the problem for GCHQ, not females nor males with great linguistic skills.

      However, just back to the original point, are you saying it is ok for gender feminists to have jobs with DV clearance, but not male chauvinist pigs, because I think women should be allowed not to work if they want to, but gender feminists want all women to work and the only reason they have any support for their wacko beliefs is that the Treasury wants women to pay tax - who is on the side of choice there; me, the women's minister, or the chancellor?

      I thought it was the ability to do the job that was what was important to feminism, or is it only the ability to do the job if you also spend your life talking in a way that's acceptable to your particular view? This sounds very bigotted. It's the kind of shit that diversity officers come out with to justify their existence. Didn't anyone tell them that their entire industry was created to suck up all the middle class lefties leaving university with a worthless degree and a chip on the shoulder. My answer to a diversity officer hysterically "We need more diversity for its own sake!" is "When I've seen you repair a boiler, or a computer, and see you do it faster than a special needs candidate or a ten year old boy, then I'll value your opinion. Until then, please show me why what you say is true. I'm not saying it isn't true, but I don't believe in your competence until I've seen it proven."

      I believe in either case, I think we should be grateful to these lads and lasses who look after us over there, inspite of the scum in Parliament. They do several very valuable things I'm grateful for.

      Firstly, they protect the economic wellbeing of my country. Quite frankly I'd rather the whole of Africa starved in a huge civil war, than just any kid I know personally, and I believe unless Britain is able to look after itself, it won't be able to do the same for anything else. I don't apologise for this belief.

      Secondly, they protect the country from nutters, though I'm of the plastic shredder school of counter terrorism. i.e. throw them in a plastic shredder, I can see how just making oneself feel good isn't necessarily the best long term solution.

      Thirdly, they protect me from my government. Unless I'm mistaken, and I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, they're crown servants, not civil servants.

      For this, they should all get 70 grand a year, and I'd close down all the wimmins collectives, counselling and encounter groups in the UK to pay for it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Brit cyberwarriors, your country needs you

    Spooks tap up IT security boffins to protect nation"

    protect from what? please excuse me for being a cynic, but i rather protect my stuff from people who're supposed to protect me (leo enforcement) than from bad guys..

This topic is closed for new posts.