Royal Signals Officer

#1
I have a computer science degree with 2 years experience in software testing.

I'm considering applying for the Royal Signals Officer. Are there much opportunities with cyber, networks software etc.

And how would it set me up for future employment after I come out of the army?

Would like to hear from current or past Royal Signals Officers.
 
#2
If you have a relevant degree, I’m afraid you’re massively overqualified to become a R SIGNALS Officer.

If you’re keen on joining the R SIGNALS anyway, I suggest you lie and tell them your degree is in Basket Weaving. They’ll snap you up.
 
#3
I have a computer science degree with 2 years experience in software testing.

I'm considering applying for the Royal Signals Officer. Are there much opportunities with cyber, networks software etc.

And how would it set me up for future employment after I come out of the army?

Would like to hear from current or past Royal Signals Officers.
You're going to be hugely disappointed if you're looking for a technical career and get commissioned into the Royal Corps, I'm afraid. You get to command and manage technical folk who do technical things, sure, but actually doing technical things.... not so much, unless you find yourself directed on to the career siding defined by being a Tech Adj or technical staff officer, in which case your prospects are likely to be, um, limited.

As a rule of thumb, the Army keeps technical proficiency as the preserve of the ranks and those commissioned at a senior level from them.
 
#4
billy,

Have a look into LICSG/254 (SGIS) Sig Sqn or LIAG.

They are very specialised reserve units that allow signals officers to use their skills.

The first one is about to move and change names again but you should be able to find it online under those headings.

You could join the regs as a officer but as stated above you will spend your first years as a Lt learning to lead the men who do the technical work.

As you seem to be aiming off for a short stint in the regs, you may prefer experience reserves service in the more specialized units. And do it for longer ;)

Plenty of scope to be 'fill time' in the above units for various 6 weeks to 6 months periods, if not longer.

Cyber, I'm less au fait with, but there is a reserve mob for that too.
 
#5
I have a computer science degree with 2 years experience in software testing.

I'm considering applying for the Royal Signals Officer. Are there much opportunities with cyber, networks software etc.

And how would it set me up for future employment after I come out of the army?

Would like to hear from current or past Royal Signals Officers.
Quick answer.

You lead technical people, while they do technical things.
 
#6
The JCU(R) is now seeking to recruit individuals with exceptional verifiable cyber and/or IA skills from three areas: regular personnel leaving the Service; current and former reservists; and individuals with no previous military service. Personnel will be selected based primarily on their existing technical knowledge, skills, experience and aptitude for posts in the JCU(R) sub-units.
CRHQ (Royal Signals) - British Army Website

Working for JFC - Joint Forces Command - GOV.UK
 
#7
If you want regular service with a technical slant look at Comms Electronics Engineer in the RAF. They are required to 'do', not just manage people who do.
 
#8
If you want regular service with a technical slant look at Comms Electronics Engineer in the RAF. They are required to 'do', not just manage people who do.
They are also required to wear polyester :)

They do more than their equivalent army counterparts but they still have a hefty management burden.
 
#11
Having a hefty management burden is a key feature of commissioned service, surely? If you don't want it, be a Blighter
Which is the crux of the issue.

Billy is currently interested in the role rather than being the messing member, writing personnel reports, etc.

You don't necessarily get a uni degree to be a manager or staff flunky.
 
#13
Hi,

I can't help you with the Royal Signals Officer bit (I'm not/have never been one) but the area which you're interested is 'my bag' as it were.

The key thing to ask yourself is, what do you want to do? If a career in cyber security is something you want to crack open then I'd advise the following (I know a few folks who I've given this advice to and the concept broadly works but needs tailoring to your interests and strengths).

1) Work out what you want to do. Risk? Policy? Pen Testing? Crypto? Security Architecture? Hunt? Network design and hardening? Cloud? (Cloud is a biggy atm) Different skills, different working environments and career paths. If like me you started off fairly geeky you might want to build secure systems. Now I draw them on whiteboards and go hunting for threats in data. Have a think about what you want now and in the 3-5 year time frame. Try to play to your current strengths.

2) Do CISSP. Yes, everyone from, project managers, to spreadsheet wrangling risk professions to your Grannie probably has one but it means you'll turn up in the right CV searches.

Try not to do a course either to start with (they are absurdly expensive for what you get), get a book. As a comp-sci graduate I'd hope alot of it is not going to be mind bending stuff and do the practice tests, as many as you can. If you're still struggling then consider having some teach you how to take the test (as opposed the material, some CISSP 'trainers' are quite possible the worst infosec people I have ever seen)

3) Earnings and where do you live? Work out how much you need to earn and where you're happy to live. Consider the big names in consulting, many have Cyber components, PWC, KPMG, CGI, Leidos (LM's old consulting arm is here now), NCC. At the junior end they're hiring like crazy and hopefully being compsci and having some experience of the way the world works you're less of a chancer than some. If the numbers and location add up then happy days.

4) Learn in your spare time. If pen testing is your bag then CTF, doing more learning. My mate did Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Certification, which is well regarded. He did loads of tournaments and loves it. If you want to build stuff gen up on your networks and the cloud. Grab an AWS account and start building and designing secure systems.

5) Volunteer. People here have done the JCU bit, but note that's not LIAG. There are a number of pillars within JCU (as I understand it). I have a mate who's there, he's a programmer. You should call them and have a chat, Working for JFC - Joint Forces Command - GOV.UK. Alternatively there is the NCA Specials programme, National Crime Agency - NCA Specials, Hampshire and Gloucestershire Special Constabularies are also looking at schemes DutySheet | Volunteering Blog | Cyber Specials: The story so far. Also, Herts. have a scheme Hertfordshire Police - Special Constables. If you want to PM me, *roughly* where you live I might be able to point you in the direction of organisations for point 5.

Good Luck!
2PI

edit: renumbered points
 
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#14
Hi,

I can't help you with the Royal Signals Officer bit (I'm not/have never been one) but the area which you're interested is 'my bag' as it were.

The key thing to ask yourself is, what do you want to do? If a career in cyber security is something you want to crack open then I'd advise the following (I know a few folks who I've given this advice to and the concept broadly works but needs tailoring to your interests and strengths).

1) Work out what you want to do. Risk? Policy? Pen Testing? Crypto? Security Architecture? Hunt? Network design and hardening? Cloud? (Cloud is a biggy atm) Different skills, different working environments and career paths. If like me you started off fairly geeky you might want to build secure systems. Now I draw them on whiteboards and go hunting for threats in data. Have a think about what you want now and in the 3-5 year time frame. Try to play to your current strengths.

2) Do CISSP. Yes, everyone from, project managers, to spreadsheet wrangling risk professions to your Grannie probably has one but it means you'll turn up in the right CV searches.

Try not to do a course either to start with (they are absurdly expensive for what you get), get a book. As a comp-sci graduate I'd hope alot of it is not going to be mind bending stuff and do the practice tests, as many as you can. If you're still struggling then consider having some teach you how to take the test (as opposed the material, some CISSP 'trainers' are quite possible the worst infosec people I have ever seen)

3) Earnings and where do you live? Work out how much you need to earn and where you're happy to live. Consider the big names in consulting, many have Cyber components, PWC, KPMG, CGI, Leidos (LM's old consulting arm is here now), NCC. At the junior end they're hiring like crazy and hopefully being compsci and having some experience of the way the world works you're less of a chancer than some. If the numbers and location add up then happy days.

4) Learn in your spare time. If pen testing is your bag then CTF, doing more learning. My mate did Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Certification, which is well regarded. He did loads of tournaments and loves it. If you want to build stuff gen up on your networks and the cloud. Grab an AWS account and start building and designing secure systems.

5) Volunteer. People here have done the JCU bit, but note that's not LIAG. There are a number of pillars within JCU (as I understand it). I have a mate who's there, he's a programmer. You should call them and have a chat, Working for JFC - Joint Forces Command - GOV.UK. Alternatively there is the NCA Specials programme, National Crime Agency - NCA Specials, Hampshire and Gloucestershire Special Constabularies are also looking at schemes DutySheet | Volunteering Blog | Cyber Specials: The story so far. Also, Herts. have a scheme Hertfordshire Police - Special Constables. If you want to PM me, *roughly* where you live I might be able to point you in the direction of organisations for point 4.

Good Luck!
2PI
With regards to point 3. You can still earn money at one of the big consultancies and get yourself put through for DV, then assigned to one of the agencies to work. You will tend to be outside the normal consultancy hierarchy, avoid the managerial rubbish but collect the cash
 
#15
I have a computer science degree with 2 years experience in software testing.

I'm considering applying for the Royal Signals Officer. Are there much opportunities with cyber, networks software etc.

And how would it set me up for future employment after I come out of the army?

Would like to hear from current or past Royal Signals Officers.

With your background, you're going to be disappointed at what a Rupert in RSIGS actually does. If you want a techy defence-related role:

Experienced Professionals | GCHQ

Don't mention a scaley pointed you their way :D
 
#16
With regards to point 3. You can still earn money at one of the big consultancies and get yourself put through for DV, then assigned to one of the agencies to work. You will tend to be outside the normal consultancy hierarchy, avoid the managerial rubbish but collect the cash
The same could be said for point 5 too.

It assumes the OP wants to do government work. I mention the schemes because they're looking for the help on a part time basis which gives them some exposure, not because I'm advocating gubment stuff. It may be interesting, or dull, I don't know, horses for courses, etc. etc.
 
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#18
With regards to point 3. You can still earn money at one of the big consultancies and get yourself put through for DV, then assigned to one of the agencies to work. You will tend to be outside the normal consultancy hierarchy, avoid the managerial rubbish but collect the cash
The money isn't that great for people with limited commercial experience to be fair, just managing expectations.

Source: am close friends with a DV OSCP who interviewed with one of Big 4 two weeks ago.
 
#19
The money isn't that great for people with limited commercial experience to be fair, just managing expectations.

Source: am close friends with a DV OSCP who interviewed with one of Big 4 two weeks ago.
Can you share a ballpark figure*?

*PM would also be good, no specifics just a rough comment.
 

Sarastro

LE
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#20
2) Do CISSP. Yes, everyone from, project managers, to spreadsheet wrangling risk professions to your Grannie probably has one but it means you'll turn up in the right CV searches.

Try not to do a course either to start with (they are absurdly expensive for what you get), get a book. As a comp-sci graduate I'd hope alot of it is not going to be mind bending stuff and do the practice tests, as many as you can. If you're still struggling then consider having some teach you how to take the test (as opposed the material, some CISSP 'trainers' are quite possible the worst infosec people I have ever seen)
Just curious to dig down into this a bit more. My response would be: really??

I totally agree with you about the trainers, and would include much of the course as well. For example, I've lost count of the number of walls I've had to bang my head against trying to explain to CISSP qualified people, who can barely even draw an order of magnitude, why the cryptographic maths of the CISSP password recommendations are just flat out wrong. Which is the problem. I've seen a lot of the material, and it is billy basics process stuff that, to be frank, was probably outdated before it was printed. The trainers aren't much good; the course isn't much good; lots of people who don't really know that much take it and pass, so ultimately, the qualification isn't much good.

I'm hiring tech jobs at the moment, not in security, but in development. Occasionally I'll come across CVs for, say, a database specialist listing Excel or CSV, or a systems admin listing Linux Terminal, as a software skill. Instant bin, as an ironclad indication that they simply don't get the required level of understanding, as no serious person would list that. From experience of people I've known who have gotten CISSP qualifications, it strikes me as the equivalent.

Isn't the qualification itself depreciated to the point where any serious interviewer will at minimum disregard it, and possibly look poorly on it? If the searcher only knows to ask for CISSP, are they really a company you want to work for?

@Billythekid2017

If 'cyber' is what you want to do, steer clear of uniform. You will be wasted and endlessly frustrated, and the jobs are, frankly, just not that interesting. There is nothing comparable to the US military setup. The Reserves are an option, but it is a reserve job, not a full-time one. Get good at something, as suggested above by @2ndpreimage, and apply to one of the civilian options.

Obviously GCHQ is the top tier, but that is not the only option, and technical skills apply across all agencies and divisions these days, and there are never enough. From all reports the NCA are still in cluster "who are we and what do we do?" mode, which will be frustrating, but that said, it may also be good to get in on the ground early. Met Police is big and has serious efforts, as do a number of other regional forces.
 
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