If you are a security professional looking for a new challenge then your next stop may be the UK Government Communications Headquaters (GCHQ) who have, again, launched an innovative recruitment conundrum.

The new challenge known as, “Can You Find It?“, is designed to discover the next generation of talented mathematicians, hackers and code breakers. Featuring 29 blocks, each consisting of 5 letters, prospective candidates have to decipher the message into five answers which will lead them onto an online “treasure hunt” which they will then have to complete in a period of six weeks.

Can You Find It?

GCHQ have a number of jobs on offer with starting salaries in the range of £26,000 – £60,000 though, for security reasons, the number of positions available has not been disclosed.

Interested candidates will likely have to be quite exceptional in nature if this years’ puzzle is comparable to a similar one – “Can You Crack It?” – that the listening post used last year. In that campaign some 3.2 million people visited the website but only a mere 5,000 of those were able to crack the code. From that pool only 170 candidates were shortlisted for interview.

“The complex codes have been created by a GCHQ team of top mathematicians,” said a GCHQ spokeswoman. “They set a high bar for recruiting curious, tenacious and creative candidates who have the intellectual ability, though not necessarily the practical experience or qualifications, to join GCHQ and support the Government’s national cyber security agenda.”

Anyone who cracks the puzzle this year will be entered into a prize draw for either a Google Nexus 7 or a Raspberry Pi.

GCHQ, presumably, already know which you would prefer based on your recent search history ;-)

Jane Jones, GCHQ’s head of resourcing, said challenges like Can You Find It and Can You Crack It are essential steps in the ongoing bid to recruit the next generation of talented security professionals to help protect the UK.

“The 21st century is confronting us with online threats that are difficult and dangerous, so we want employees who have evolved with the ever-changing digital world and therefore have the right skills to combat these challenges,” she said. “It’s a puzzle but it’s also a serious test – the jobs on offer here are vital to protecting national security.”

The drive by GCHQ to find the best talent comes at a time when the UK National Audit Office warns of a massive shortage in cyber skills within the UK which is unlikely to be filled in the short term.

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