Confused about CSO and CSE trade in Signals - Help!

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by saiyan, Feb 22, 2012.

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  1. Hi All,

    I'm finding it extremely difficult to differentiate between the two trades:

    * Communication Systems Operator (CSO)
    * Communications Systems Engineer (CSE)

    I thought that the CSO deals with radio / satellite communications (frequencies etc) and the CSE deals with Data communications (LAN/WAN/IP/,Ethernet, RJ45 etc).

    My local TA unit that I'm interested in joining offer these two trades (going by their webpage)

    The recruiter I spoke to is a CSO, he did not know much about the CSE role and unfortunately the few CSE guys they have was unavailable at the time.

    What he did say is that the CSO has two specialism, FRR which deals more with Radio / Satellite / voice communications and CST (Command Support Team) that deals with Laptops, Servers, Ethernet, Printers etc

    He said that the CSO learn both FRR & CST but you can choose to specialise in FRR or CST (The later also does something called 'Rebox'(?) which is managing the data connectivity of loads of laptops, ethernets etc etc)

    He also said that the CSE role is going to be dissolved and be absorbed by the CSO, and most of what they do will be part of the CST side of the CSO role?

    A bit about me: I work in IT as a network engineer, so this involves routers, switches, firewalls, servers, cyber security, network protocols, IP addressing, Default Gateways etc. So I'm definitely interested in the data side of things and have very little interest in radio / frequencies etc. So if anyone is familiar with IT vendors, I'm a Cisco / Juniper / Checkpoint / Internet guy.

    So with that brief snap shot, what trade would you think is more aligned with what I do? I know there might not be a perfect match, so i'm looking for the on with the most overlap with what I do. Is it CSE or CSO. If it is the later, is it CST or FRR?

    In fact I think I'll list my questions below and if any CSE / CSO guys on the forum (other knowledgeable folks welcomed) can answer / validate my assumptions that would really help in my efforts to alleviating my confusions and choosing the right trade!

    1) Core difference between CSO and CSE and maybe some details other than what is written on the Army website (Are my assumptions correct)?

    2) Is the CSE role in TA going to be dissolved and absorbed by the CSO role?

    3) Is the CSO role essentially FRR and CST or have I got my wires crossed or is there more here that I'm missing?

    /) What is 'Rebox/Rebok'?

    4) which trade in your opinion is more aligned to what I do / what I'm looking for?

    5) Out of curiosity, Who in the signals look after the network infrastructure i.e. switches, firewalls, VPNS, workstations, servers etc? I'm assuming when you deploy, someone is responsible for setting of a VPN from theatre to UK and configuring firewalls, an email server etc to do this? Surely the generals out there send emails back here etc or access resources hosted in UK or even the internet! Who provides that connectivity or is that civilian contractors?

    6) Maybe some key content / material from courses that the CSO and CSE guys go on / learn. The CSO did mention one of the courses he did taught him about binary and hex which is something I'm very familiar with (sub netting, IP addressing).

    In my bubble of confusion I'm thinking the CSE role is more aligned to me, however if this role is truly going to be absorbed by the CSO, then the CST element is more aligned for me, however the CST at present is more 1st line, PC troubleshooting etc but again these are my assumptions based on information I've gleaned and I'm sure there many things I'm missing and hence my current confused state!

    Thanks in advance for taking the time out to read this and responding.
  2. In a nutshell CS Operators operate the kit.

    CS Engineers fix it.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. There's kit?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Dont do any of it. Do something else in The Army
  5. Jones - Why do think neither trade is suitable for me?

    Everyone else - I'm still hoping someone can hopefully cover my questions :)
  6. I think if you could not understand the difference between an Operator and Engineer role you may not be the calibre of person the Signals are seeking.
  7. I'm not answering all that but:
    CSE a dying trade? Current operations have shown that the requirement CSO is limited. CSE however, can't get enough of them. You friend at the TA centre is very much misinformed.
    A few caveats on my last statement:
    It doesn't apply to special people,
    The requirement and use of CSO/E has been dictated by the enduring nature of the operation and the fact that Infantry are all over their comms. Everything will change in few years and we will back to getting rid of techs.
  8. Get a better payed job as a Civvie doing what you enjoy. The Signals is no fun at all.

    CS Eng is for you if you do decide to do it though.
    I dont think there is such things as Install Techs any more that would have been the one for you though
  9. Jones - I appreciate the simple but effective clarification about the CSE. Their are two local TA to me, RLC and Signals. I don't really fancy driving as a trade and I figure the signals is a better fit because it's IT and can only boost my CV, skills and experience in the long run.. BTW, are you CSO/CSE? Putting up satellites is not my idea of fun, but hoping there is more to it!

    Bill - Do you think he may be right in the context of TA or possibly misinformed as you pointed out?

    DJ - My assumptions in my original post is what I took away from the information available on the army job role page, but to me it wasn't overly clear as the description is quite brief in fairness but I thought I had the distinction figured out in my head, but my confusion was further compounded by what the recruiter said to me hence why I've hit up this forum for some much needed clarification.

    I guess if I can't get the info I need, I'll just join the signals (vs RLC) and use my time in phase 1 to fully understand the whole CSO/CSE gig and by then I'm hoping I would have it sussed to a 'T' and then chose the correct trade for me before phase 2 trade training...
  10. Jones is leaving the Corps and is coming across as quite bitter so take what he says with a pinch of salt!
  11. In the UK TA RSigs provide temperamental secure comms. It always needs fixing. From my limited operational experience, TA trade meant nothing as it doesn't map directly onto Reg trade (training and experience). Trade was generally ignored and a combination of civvie skillset and ability was utilised. From my limited TA experience, fixers are as important operators. Regular CSE would have to fold before TA CSE does and that isn't going to happen. This would be similar to TA REME VE which were a godsend on tour even though the regular trade had folded.
  12. And I refuse to believe that the Royal Corps of Communicators could be as naive and short sighted as the Royal Corps of Mechanics.
  13. Quick reply:

    There has never been a TA equivalent of the Comm Sys Engr. They currently have a Techncian but a recent study has concluded that there is no role for them and the trade is likely to be discontinued. There is however a separate line of thinking that says we still need to attract technicaly gifted TA soldiers into the Corps who bring engineering qualifications and experience with them. Work in progress to construct some kind of mechanism to recruit and employ this mixed bag of specialists.

    P.S. Do NOT join the RLC!
  14. @Au_Courant - I think you are right about there not being a TA equivalent of CSE. However, the TA Sig i'm interested in do actually advertise this trade on their site which just creates more confusion!

    47 Sig Sqn (V) - Uxbridge/Southfields - British Army Website

    I managed to do some further research on CSE and it definitely tuned to my skillset and experience (They do a fair bit of Cisco tech and Microsoft).

    But I'm starting to think that my only option is CSO in the TA, which to me makes more since than joining the TA RLC and at the end of the day I want to join the TA. My only hesitation as I mentioned before is setting up satellite dish is not really my cup of tea, not when they have a role that suits me brilliantly!

    I'm going to join, but I do hope, as you pointed out, that they re-think of catering to guys like me that bring these skill set into the TA...They really do need the CSE role within the TA!

    A bit ambitious, but from my understanding trade training for the TA Sig takes place at blandford where the regulars are based. If I demonstrated that my experience and skills are more in-tuned to the Regular CSE, do you think they would gear me towards that..potentially i'll be one of the few CSE guys in the TA or is that pretty far-fetched?

    Thanks in advance
  15. I think that no one would be that bothered once you're there so make the decision prior.