Skip to main content

Lead Software Developer

Posted: 25 May 2019 Closes: 24 Jul 2019
Bristol, South West. York, Yorkshire and the Humber. Reading, Berkshire or Warrington, Cheshire £46,612 - £54,320
Flexible defra/20190525172937

You will play an important part in building a digital future for Defra and our customers. This means big changes to how our services and technologies are designed and delivered.

Defra is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink. 

Our Digital Data and Technology Services (DDTS) Function is currently undertaking a once in a generation Transformation as the UK moves towards exiting the EU. We are currently recruiting for a number of Software Developers in two of our Digital Hubs. You will be working on a number of meaningful projects in a challenging environment which continues to evolve as an exemplar in the DDAT Developer profession. 

Working in a supportive, diverse, and customer-focused culture our flexible working arrangements mean you can maintain a healthy work-life balance. You will play an important part in building a digital future for Defra and our customers. This means big changes to how our services and technologies are designed and delivered. 

Your new role

• Working within a team of motivated Software Developers the Lead Developer will communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, and provide technical leadership within the team to identify the best technology and solutions. 

• You will thrive and enjoy working openly, collaboratively and as part of a multidisciplinary team focused on one or more projects delivering high quality code in line with project goals and delivery cycles. 

• You will be driven to making the government better, this may involve developing new concepts and challenging the status quo. 

• Working in a multi-disciplinary team on a wide range of digital projects, you will be expected to use industry standard Agile methodologies such as Pair Programming and Test Driven Development (TDD). 

• This role focuses on developing and implementing digital services across the Defra family. This will include involvement in developing business requirements and using an array of digital tools to progress project delivery. 

• All our services are built upholding the GDS standards, some of our products require Government Digital Service (GDS) assessment at the end of each Agile development phase. 

What you'll need to succeed

• Experience of building scalable web applications (preferably cloud hosted) and a detailed knowledge of server-side Javascript programming in Node.js. 

• A comprehensive understanding of front-end web development (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). 

• Experience of agile development, software design patterns, Continuous integration, Test Driven Development and version control. 

• Experience of working with web APIs. 

• Demonstrable experience of delivering user focused products with a thorough understanding of software design principles. 

• Good understanding of web security. 

• Ability to deliver software that utilises the features of cloud platforms. 

• Comfortable coding in the open using GitHub. 

Successful candidates should also be able to demonstrate the following personal attributes:

• Experience of leading a development team ensuring all developers on the team conform to good software practice and are producing high quality, well tested software. 

•Candidates with previous experience within a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) role or Test Engineer role with experience in test automation development using JavaScript frameworks for functional testing are also encouraged to apply. Experience of automated performance testing is desirable. 

• Experience of mentoring teams in order to grow their technical skills and create development opportunities. 

• Ability to quickly research and learn new programming tools and techniques. 

• Experience of advising on the right way to apply standards and methods. 

• Strong interpersonal and communication skills. 

• Proven experience balancing multiple priorities and dealing with ambiguity. 


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

  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

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

  • Programming & Build Software Engineering
  • Modern Standard Approach
  • Systems Integration
  • User Focus
  • Development Process Optomisation
  • Service Support
  • Systems Design



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


You will be entitled to join the highly competitive Civil Service Pension Scheme, which many experts agree is one of the most generous in the UK. 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently said that “the biggest difference between public and private sectors remains the value of employer contributions to public service pensions. These are much more generous in the public sector than in the private sector”. 

If you have accrued pension rights in another pension scheme, you may be eligible to transfer these rights into the Civil Service Pension Scheme. 

Contributory pension (worth 20-22% of salary).

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

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

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

Sifting will be based on your CV. 

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

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.


Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

Share Job