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UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

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2003?!

I guess the HR wonks have just cut and pasted a spec from another older job.

Using 2003 is likely to get you a visit from a grumpy NCSC accreditor and a rather terse set of order to get rid of it quickly.

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Re: 2003?!

I think they want to get rid of it, but can't.

Well treated, you can keep using it essentially forever, just isolate it as much as possible. BTW. most computers should be isolated anyway.

I was the administrator of an IBM 360 running CMS... in the late 90s!! That beast of a machine should have been replaced long ago... it was SO slow...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2003?!

Wouldn't installing Windows 10 on machines at Hanslope Park result in one of those self referencing data slurping feedback loops "Don't Google -'Google' " type problems, that keeps you employed forever?

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Re: 2003?!

"I guess the HR wonks have just cut and pasted a spec from another older job."

Alternatively HR only provided something very vague and then someone at the agency googled 'list of PC operating systems'.

Or maybe it's just a case of hiding what they're really interested in in a list of other stuff. Can't tell you what it really is. Security.

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Re: 2003?!

I think they want to get rid of it, but can't.

Assumption.

Occam's razor - simplest explanation is the guy who wrote the job spec is a moron, which is true for most people who write job specs which is exactly why they're writing job specs.

It's *possible* it just isn't very likely given that central government pulled funding for extended support on this stuff so they'd have to be monumentally idiotic. Only reason that isn't true for NHS is the trust-by-trust support deal; that isn't true for national government stuff.

Servers maybe although I don't see why but desktops I very much doubt.

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360?

I was an operator of an IBM 360-30 in New York City back in the 1960's. My wristwatch is faster.

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Re: 2003?!

If I had a pound for every job interview I went on where the list of required skills discussed at the interview bore little relation to the list on the job spec, I'd be able to afford to hire my own recruitment agency morons.

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Re: 2003?!

When I seize power, the first people against the wall will be 'recruitment consultants'.

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Well this makes a nice change

Normally they want five years of whatever it is about a month after it's been released.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well this makes a nice change

I remember one of my colleagues being done. He was a confirmed Christian and a scout master. The government psychologist who interviewed him opened with the line .... "So Brian you are a religious fundamentalist who likes small boys ....."

Needless to say he was vetted as beign OK.

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Facepalm

Re: Well this makes a nice change

So much this! Can't get server experience because you need 5 years server experience to be allowed onto the severs to get the fucking server experience :|

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Re: Well this makes a nice change

Hmmm - reminds me of my constant frustration that I can't apply for jobs needing SC or DV clearance (which I would get easily - my dads a vicar for fucks sake) because I don't have the clearance and can't get the clearance unless I get a job needing the clearance which I can't get because I don't have the clearance . . . . . FUCKWITS!!!!

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Re: Well this makes a nice change

You don't need DV clearance, it's all on Wikileaks now anyways LOL

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well this makes a nice change

@mark 110

Sorry that's bollocks. You can easily apply for jobs with HM Govt that need SC, it's a condition of the job offer that you can get SC, but I can state with 100% certainty that you can apply for jobs without it, and we will work with the candidate to get SC. I know because I'm doing it for rather a large number of people for my project (which shall remain nameless).

You will need to go through the forms and process, i.e. BPSS (of coming through a company), CTC and then to SC. You will also need Disclosure Scotland but thats just paying somebody a fee.

Some govt depts accept SC from other depts, the Home Office doesn't accept most peoples SC clearance and tends to start again each time.

DV is awarded on a per project basis, so having DV is pointless for any other project as you'll need to start again. Also HMG tends to frown on people who claim they have DV in their CV's or even worse, proclaim it on their LinkedIn pages. DV is not something most people want as the people who do the check will go into intimate detail about what you do, who you do it with, your friends, your acquaintances, your bank balance, all your old girlfriends and/or boyfriends. You name it, they will check it as DV allows access to some heavy stuff. Do not underestimate how detailed they go into your personal life.

Also your dad being a Vicar means fuck all to the SC people. What the SC clearance (and higher) does, is to check to see if you are a risk to security, e.g. you have financial debts, you have things that you can be blackmailed about. Being gay (and open about it) now has zero impact on you getting SC or DV, being straight but liking to look at some harder to find porn sites, those that require the dark web and/or a credit card and/or uploading stuff first to 'prove' yourself, will find you in a lot of deep, deep shit.

So if you want a job with SC clearance with HMG, its not difficult if you look, certainly going to the Home Office will get you that start you so desperately crave.

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Re: Well this makes a nice change

It's kind of a dick move to require so much clearance though considering heaps of gov IT is a giant steaming pile of shit anyway. It's taken them decades to realise they need a central payment technology, and I bet it still won't be truly centralised (payment goes to central gov, earmarked as for ACC {X} authority {Y}, which would make checking for corruption and high-level oversight much easier.

It's the design of the systems that make the most problems, and the approach to buying. Have a conversation where it's not a given that past decisions are now hampering future work. Where you're not locked-in by vendors that at the least are raping the public purse for paid meetings to provide a price. Big picture it's easy to know what government needs. Effective government has lean, effective IT, no monoliths, just lots of tiny worker bee programs doing what they do very well. It's not bolting a web-app to a legacy system that would scream "kill me" if it could talk, where a central main server outside of the gov control is running on a program they don't have source code access to that's slowing things down.

The ONLY good thing about the conservatives is that they recognise there is a massive waste in government (and it's not just IT). They don't seem to be able to reason rationally about where to cut it from, but they recognise a problem.

Walk into the MoJ last year and you'd see a massive flat screen saying "We know how much orange juice prisoners need" as if anyone in their right mind gives a hoot if prisoners have enough orange juice... Someone was paid to do that. Not just to make the awful powerpoint/video presentation, but to research how much Orange juice prisoners need. They might be SC CC DV cleared, but they lack basic reasoning skills. What's the point of being trustworthy if you're not competent?

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Re: Well this makes a nice change

Its never worked for me. I've never had a recruiter even take me through to interview for any SC cleared contracts. I don't even bother sending my CV these days.

And yes of course its possible, I was just being grumpy - I was SC cleared 25 years ago when I was on Home Office support contract working for Sema Group. My first proper IT job just out of Uni!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well this makes a nice change

The reason SC is required is not because of how much orange juice prisoners drink. You can get that with an FOI request, I suspect you can get that by simply asking nicely.

The reason for SC is that you may need to access and update somebodys personal data. This is because of your need as a caseworker, perhaps doing an emergency passport because you've lost yours, or because you need to to run a database script to update some reference data. SC checks that you are trustworthy enough to do this without you taking a bribe because you have a gambling habit and owe your bookie £10K. Do you want anybody being able to look at your personal tax details, or your passport or your childrens passports?

I work for HMG in an area where 1) we aren't locked into vendors, we have a shitload of open source, 2) We are fairly lean and mean, we're not perfect, but we're not bad 3) We have good people working on the project. I'm sadly old enough to recall working for the last 30 years and the people here in HMG are as good as I've seen and I've spent the last 29 years in the private sector. We try to run the project as fast we we can as well as we can. I've worked in the City, in the West End, in this country and numerous countries abroad and they can all be as good or as bad as any other. I have friends who work for banking and they tell me the projects are run just as badly but they cost even more as the banks have money to burn.

Your statement about being SC CC (CTC?) and DV cleared is gibberish. I'm struggling to think of anybody who isn't competent who is SC Cleared. I know a fair few people who have DV and they were all very competent, if you spend > £30K on getting a DV clearance then you tend to only do the competent people. I'm afraid ypu're talking nonsense.

On your other point on the Conservative govt recognising waste in IT projects, I can only laugh at your naivety. This govt is just as good (or as bad) as previous govts.

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TRT
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What does "DV cleared" mean?

Or is it one of those questions that if you have to ask, you aren't?

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

Yes

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

Direct Vetting (used to be called Positive Vetting) which is where they go through the dustbin of friends and family looking for anything incriminating.

Interesting because the clearance is usually tied to the job and getting DV can allegedly take several months.

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

What does "DV cleared" mean?

Or is it one of those questions that if you have to ask, you aren't?

Hmm, DV....DVL? Cleared = accomplished, over

I think it's the kind of Evil Kinevil was famous for.

Erm, 5 cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

Developed vetting. Our top level of security clearance. Six months of background check including face to face interviews with friends and acquaintances and a lengthy interview with yourself delving into finances, porn preferences and your opinions of the papacy.

Or something like that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

I typed out a few paragraphs to explain a few things, but then I thought better of it and replaced it with this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

>Interesting because the clearance is usually tied to the job and getting DV can allegedly take several months.

It is, however, your security clearance is kept on file (mine goes right back to the 1970's).

So what they are looking for is someone who is already on file and has been DV cleared in the last 1~5 years so they only need to do an update check...

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

and your opinions of the papacy.

I'm not surprised. Parliament repealed the Test Act almost two centuries ago, but Government won't have got the message yet.

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

'Six months of background check including face to face interviews with friends and acquaintances'

At which point said friends and acquaintances start to wonder how much they actually know about you.

E.g.

Yes, I know she's got a brother, I just really can't remember the name though.'

'Does he download porn? He once said he thinks he's finished the internet...'

I felt the interviewer was judging me for being a bad friend. What's worse is it was the same interviewer both times I've been used as a reference...

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

Exactly that. Usually confined to Home Office secure projects (police, prisons etc), certain Health projects (animal testing), anything HMRC (don't want any contractor telling the press that we don't know what we do), Foreign Office (Foreign and Commonwealth Services National Security Vetting) and last but not least the MoD with its grandiose Defence Business Services National Security Vetting.

DV is basically "We crawl into your most private areas with a microscope", not the same as Disclosure Scotland vetting at all.

Strongly suspect that its the last that has the need for Vista/XP. Be thankful they are not asking for developers with WFWG3.11 experience.

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

And I thought it meant that you hadn't had norovirus in the last 6 months.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

Not wishing to step on the toes of the previous experts:

1) DV = Developed Vetting, its the most thorough level of National Security Clearance.

2) DV involves a review of the last 10 years of your life (depending on age) and is carried out by a vetting officer who will interview people and check online material. The exact level of detail and number of generations reviewed may be heavily influenced by the requirements from the agency sponsoring the clearance

3) The final decision to grant or deny is down to the vetting officer who normally uses the sponsoring agency's critera as the guidelines to be me. Other security clearances are more automated.

There have been some major overhauls to this process in the last couple of years (including the introduction of an "Enhanced DV") so it is likely that anyone (myself included) who isnt regularly involved in the process will have some detail of it wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

When I went through it I had to give all my friends and family stern warnings that those doing the vetting have no sense of humour or irony... Needless to say I was crapping it one of them might decide to have a laugh with the interviewer

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

DV is Deo Volente, aka 'God willing'. It's used to state that something is all but done, only God could stop it. So 'DV cleared' must mean cleared, but the paperwork hasn't gone through.

There again it might be Dei Verbum - 'by divine revelation'. The clearance came from the almighty ?

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

DV involves a review of the last 10 years of your life

Do they really think they'll find someone interested in maintaining Vista who has a life?

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Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?

More likely "Deo Volante" (God flying), which is clearly a reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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Coffee/keyboard

3 month gig?

Given the list of technology it would take longer than that to stop laughing.

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...and start crying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3 month gig?

Enough time to see one machine running Windows 7, finish checking for updates...might not give you time to install them though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3 month gig?

3 Months? Given the timeframe, maybe just best to turn up at the interview with a new 12 disk Synology NAS under your arm.

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FAIL

Sorry state of Agency marketing

Typical guv technical debt nonsense aside, you've just highlighted an example of the value that the majority of agencies now bring to clients. Hiring clients pay 10% or more for the "value" in publishing such job descriptions on job boards, 3 conversations with the contractor, timesheet management, and that's it. This model is dying, and they know it.

We need to cull the majority of numbers-playing agencies, and keep the ones that take appropriate amounts of time to understand the requirement, build relationships with a smaller number of very good contractors, and do the match. Agencies that don't return calls, send huge amounts of SPAM, don't understand the TLAs they splatter their SPAM with, are on the extinction list. They won't be missed.

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Childcatcher

It's a trick

Asking for competency in obsolete technologies is a sneaky way of asking for a certain number of years of experience, which is legally dodgy because it can be challenged as age discrimination.

Wet behind the ears youngsters are unlikely to have experience in Windows 2003 Server and Vista. Someone with 10+ years will have.

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Re: It's a trick

They also go back to Windows XP, and that body of experience might be very useful in updating old apps to work with current Windows.

But there is so much in that doesn't really fit with a short contract, so I am inclined to agree on the sort of trick it is.

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Re: It's a trick

"They also go back to Windows XP, and that body of experience might be very useful in updating old apps to work with current Windows."

I can easily imagine where the limited functionality of Server 2003 in contrast to later versions dictated how things were originally set up. That knowledge could be very useful in moving things forward.

"But there is so much in that doesn't really fit with a short contract, so I am inclined to agree on the sort of trick it is."

I wonder if this is really a rolling renewable contract, with the idea that if they get someone who can't cut the mustard* they have an easy way of dropping them.

* "cut the mustard" might mean either useless or someone whose face doesn't fit.

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Re: It's a trick

I think you'll find you are giving them too much credit if you think this is a sly trick. This is just a cut and paste of everything they could think of to jam into the job ad to make it seem relevant to as many people as possible, and so get as many CVs in as possible so that they can then spam out other irrelevant and untargetted job ads.

Certes, like a lot of the mid and lower tier recruitment agencies (and please note the deliberate lack of the word "consultancy") don't really understand the technologies that they actually recruit. This is why they send out so much irrelevant spam to people in their database, and why I blocked them months ago.

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Re: It's a trick

>Asking for competency in obsolete technologies is a sneaky way of asking for a certain number of years of experience, which is legally dodgy because it can be challenged as age discrimination.

The normal charge of age discrimination against older people can only be applied if they someone with the relevant skills gets turned down because "they're too old..."

If you're wet behind the ears, I suspect any claim of age discrimination would be laughed out of court.

Interestingly, you are right this is a stealthy way to valid an applicant's experience claims: if you haven't worked with XP then it is unlikely that your years of Windows experience have been gained in large enterprise or government environments...

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Anonymous Coward

I'd rather watch Amber Rudd squirm...

Apply? I'd rather watch Amber Rudd squirm at the Select Committee hearings, when none of the Home Office targets are met, if I'm being really, really honest.

Her "leave no stone unturned" utopian vision of tech, placing everyone in virtual shackles, is not something I wish to be associated with.

Being part of implementing "Britains' Open Prison" sounds like a Ruddy nightmare to me.

Thanks all the same.

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Windows

Excellent!

If this continues, in a few years my mad Turbo Prolog skillz will be worth millions!

And they called me mad! Muhahahahahahahaha.

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Re: Excellent!

You're not mad. I have fond memories of Turbo Basic. I haven't touched it since 1988, but I'm sure I've still got the manuals and the 5.25" 360K disks in a box somewhere...

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What?

I don't get it. Windows 7 is pretty much Windows Vista Service Pack 3.

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Coat

Re: What?

Yeah, but they haven't got the licenses for Win7. Or maybe they paid for them, but lost the records and don't know. Or they know they've paid for them, but haven't gotten around to vetting the system for their current needs.

Because they probably don't know what their current needs are. Or what's actually running on their network. Which is why they're hiring experienced Vista staff - to ask them to find out what the bloody hell they're using in order to know how to upgrade.

Nah, can't be - that would be sensible.

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Re: What?

Exactly, Vista with the service packs, and a few registry changes disabling the buggy caching and buggy memory management was Windows 7, at least it ran as reliably right up until I was forced not to use Vista by Microsoft. We had Vista and 7 running reliably side by side for years.

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