Help with Royal Signals career choice!

#1
I have been wanting to join the military for years now. I think now is the right time for me.
Just looking for some further information about the Royal Signals - this is the area I think best suits me.
The role of Communications Engineer-Systems Engineer appeals to me the most.
So just a few questions:

1. After the military, in however long that would be, I want to go into IT - Specifically Cyber Security. Will this be a good path to take?

2. Is this role intellectually challenging and diverse? What I currently hate about my job is I feel like a robot - repetitious and I never have to think.

3. How close is this role to combat? - from what I've read it varies. Read everything from always several miles from any action, but also read they are usually in the thick of it. - Just some clarification.

4. The Army website states : " Promotion to LCpl on completion of initial trade training and then, if you excel fast track to Staff Sergeant."
What kind of timeline does 'fast track' entail? Website says Sergeant takes ~12 years to achieve in normal circumstances. Any information on fast track would be appreciated.

5. Would Signals Officer offer as much 'hands on' experience / qualifications in I.T? I have 12 GCSE's A-C and 3 A levels - 80UCAS points so may be able to get a commission. (I have read that 90% of officers have a degree? So might be a bit more difficult!) However I feel for whatever reason that this early on in my career (I'm only 20) that more hands on experience would serve me better for management roles further down the line.

Thankyou for any help!
 
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#2
5. Would Signals Officer offer as much 'hands on' experience / qualifications in I.T? I have 12 GCSE's A-C and 3 A levels - 80UCAS points so may be able to get a commission. (I have read that 90% of officers have a degree? So might be a bit more difficult!) However I feel for whatever reason that this early on in my career (I'm only 20) that more hands on experience would serve me better for management roles further down the line.
You don't need a degree to apply for a commission, every Tom, Dick and Harry has one these days so they are next to invalid. You do aptitude tests there, so long as you are actually clever then you will be fine. Just ensure you have a positive attitude and you're physically fit.

I have heard from other sources on here that the better officers tend to be ex-rankers with a few exceptions.
 
#3
I have been wanting to join the military for years now. I think now is the right time for me.
Just looking for some further information about the Royal Signals - this is the area I think best suits me.
The role of Communications Engineer-Systems Engineer appeals to me the most.
So just a few questions:

1. After the military, in however long that would be, I want to go into IT - Specifically Cyber Security. Will this be a good path to take?

2. Is this role intellectually challenging and diverse? What I currently hate about my job is I feel like a robot - repetitious and I never have to think.

3. How close is this role to combat? - from what I've read it varies. Read everything from always several miles from any action, but also read they are usually in the thick of it. - Just some clarification.

4. The Army website states : " Promotion to LCpl on completion of initial trade training and then, if you excel fast track to Staff Sergeant."
What kind of timeline does 'fast track' entail? Website says Sergeant takes ~12 years to achieve in normal circumstances. Any information on fast track would be appreciated.

5. Would Signals Officer offer as much 'hands on' experience / qualifications in I.T? I have 12 GCSE's A-C and 3 A levels - 80UCAS points so may be able to get a commission. (I have read that 90% of officers have a degree? So might be a bit more difficult!) However I feel for whatever reason that this early on in my career (I'm only 20) that more hands on experience would serve me better for management roles further down the line.

Thankyou for any help!
IT roles within the Corps can vary - from being based in downtown Kabul to a UK Operations only unit supporting CBRN and National Disaster or Ultimate Deterrent environments etc.

Cyber will generally find you in the rear with the gear forming part of the Rear Guard against local and international threats.

You will generally be very far from combat unless you find yourself conducting road moves in a hostile environment and your convoy comes under attack.

I'd be surprised to see many promote to Staff Sergeant in less than 10 years.
 
#4
I am not the best chap to post about this. 1980 - 2007 R.Sigs many a good time , many a waste of time .

SSGT in 9 years .

It was OK but I knew nothing different. Would not be where I am today, very nice wage and life without joining.

If I could do it again ? Would I?

With hindsight no, would have tried to get to university, joined the UOTC and had a good time.

After getting a degree in fish husbandry (insert you own waste of a degree here) might have tried it but had a decent? Degree to try something in civi street.

RAF will be the advice to my kids.

RAF also Do not ;););) Have their own anti Cyber units that are really quite good.
 
#5
@Broadbean .

Recent experience of the signals (nearly three decades).

1. If you want to go cyber, it after leaving then it won't harm you to have a few years under your belt in the signals. In the other hand I know an ex-bandy who's quite a thing in cyber with a 9 year stint playing the bassoon or something.

You need to think about what you want out of your service.

2. The job can be robotic if everything is working. On the other hand it's pretty diverse when things need fixing. You'll swap roles occasionally and promotion will bring variety.

3. Cs engr is not generally in combat. Other signals trafes can get closer.

4. Normal promotion rates apply.

Figure a rank every three years. It will really slow down sgt to SSgt, partly because it's always been a sticking point and because they are cutting the SSgt posts.

it's theoretically possible to jump from cpl to SSgt on the foreman course, in which you'll also gain a BEng, and PG cert in telecoms engineering if you do the right course. Foreman (info systems) is a little more it based but doesn't earn a BEng..

There are 16 spaces per year on each course open tri-service. I'll be honest, with the exception of cpls who have already been boarded for Sgt and have exceptional in depth knowledge and experience, a bright young cpl with low service time is unlikely to make it through the selections.

consisting of being identified by their own foreman, passing class 1, completing a year's worth of assignments in unit (on top of normal duty), pass two three hour exams, pass a selection weekend including a formal interview and then a 18 month course.

All in the course are already Sgt's and ssgts or are promoted to sgt on day 1. You can't promote on the course and you become a SSgt at the end.

it's not as easy as it looks.

5. Signals officers manage the men who manage the equipment. Very few get hands on the kit.

I'd look at the raf too.

Have you thought about looking at cyber roles in the civil service? You could still be in the army in one of the reserve units. This might tick all the boxes.

Working for JFC
 
#6
Wasn't expecting people to recommend the RAF over the Army on this website for some reason!

Why would the RAF be a better choice over the Army?

I have looked at Cyberspace Communications Specialist in the RAF - looks interesting.

@Broadbean .

Have you thought about looking at cyber roles in the civil service? You could still be in the army in one of the reserve units. This might tick all the boxes.

Working for JFC
I've looked, and applied to many CS Apprenticeships, unfortunately my A levels aren't relevant enough (stupid choices at school really) I could undertake an IT apprenticeship, but for some reason the £8k civilian salary doesn't appeal to me, when I could get similar qualifications in a job I've wanted to do for years, whilst getting paid more than double to do it!

There is a CS course at my local college, but I would still have to continue at my current job, which is not preferable for another 18-24 months. This, is my third and final attempt at finding another job, I've had enough of it now. I applied to NATS last year and made it through to the final hurdle (interviews) approx In the top 120 out of ~3000 applicants, but couldn't make the hurdle.

RAF could be a better choice. Still I.T based, but could also open up the door back into NATS if I have a change of heart in the future. RAF pays less though, and seems to have fewer opportunities for extra qualifications? (Just going off how there website makes it out to be)

If I was to get into CS, JFC would be one of my priorities post-service as soon as I get the right qualifications and experience.
 
#7
Wasn't expecting people to recommend the RAF over the Army on this website for some reason!

Why would the RAF be a better choice over the Army?
Because the rest of us had already joined the British Army before we realised -

The British Army dig-in (to holes in the ground), while the Royal Air Force check-in (to hotels).

Now you know.
 
#9
Any information on how extra qualifications work? RAF is the clearest about this:
£175 before 6 years service
£3000 after 6 years service
£6000 after 8 years service

Army and Navy just state that they will contribute to qualifications.

I'm assuming they're all fairly similar?
 
#10
Any information on how extra qualifications work? RAF is the clearest about this:
£175 before 6 years service
£3000 after 6 years service
£6000 after 8 years service

Army and Navy just state that they will contribute to qualifications.

I'm assuming they're all fairly similar?
Army use Enhanced Learning Credits ("ELC") for extra qualifications/degrees.

"Before being eligible to make an ELC claim, individual scheme members must have completed not less than six years eligible service (lower tier). If you have completed 4 years qualifying service prior to 1st April 2017, please read JSP 822. The lower tier of funding is up to £1,000 per claim instalment and the higher tier (eight years service) is up to £2,000 per claim instalment."

Source: Claiming ELC
 
#11
Army use Enhanced Learning Credits ("ELC") for extra qualifications/degrees.

"Before being eligible to make an ELC claim, individual scheme members must have completed not less than six years eligible service (lower tier). If you have completed 4 years qualifying service prior to 1st April 2017, please read JSP 822. The lower tier of funding is up to £1,000 per claim instalment and the higher tier (eight years service) is up to £2,000 per claim instalment."

Source: Claiming ELC
Raf are better for quals then, army elc programme is due to stop soon.

Imho raf and navy are much more sorted out in terms of trade structure for cyber.
 

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