Communications and Information Systems Specialist (CIS)

Fast track role A high priority role with an accelerated joining process.
Service:Surface Fleet

At a glance

What you’ll do

Being an Engineering Technician Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Specialist means that you are always in the thick of the action working as an Online Network Engineer at the heart of every mission solving complex issues, enabling the secure exchange of mission critical and often Top-Secret information. It is your responsibility to administer and provide specialist communications and IT equipment including classified information and cryptographic material to guarantee Operational Capability is delivered to the Command.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • CIS Specialists will keep military Task Groups of warships and F35B aircraft communicating in the Battlespace via any possible means.
  • Operate sophisticated global networked information systems, so you’re always able to receive communications that are crucial to the day-to-day operation of the ship.
  • Work with your team to take responsibility for the ship’s complex data-processing network systems, including the internet and satellite, placing you at the heart of tactical and strategic communications.
  • Find a solution to whatever problem comes your way, working with your team in challenging environments and high-pressure situations.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Professional qualifications including a Level 3 and 4 Apprenticeship in IT.

The opportunity to gain

  • Study for GCSEs, then A-Levels in subjects including English, Maths and Science. 
  • Or choose, NVQs like IT Systems, User Skills or Office Administration. 
  • Eventually, you can work toward a degree like Information Systems.

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to operate and maintain sophisticated communications equipment, including global radio and satellite systems.
  • Build practical skills like thinking on your feet to find a solution if a problem arises.
  • Become the ultimate team player, working with your colleagues in the Engineering branch to keep the ship operational, and collaborating with your crewmates on other projects.

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You need to be aged between 16 to 39
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • You must be a British or Dual National
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • A quick thinker, with a passion for working with the latest equipment and technology
  • A problem-solver, with a common sense approach, who can work well as part of a team
  • A real sense of adventure, with a high level of physical and mental fitness
  • Enthusiasm for networks, information systems and communications
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role. This is normally conducted using your own device over the Shine video platform

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy, including a Swimming Test and a fitness assessment, is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training. As a Communication Information Systems (CIS) Specialist, you'll have 6 months of specialist Communication and IT systems training at the Maritime Warfare School, HMS Collingwood, focussing on:

  • Online Network Engineering
  • Operating specialist communication and IT equipment
  • Defensive Cyber Operations
  • CIS security
  • Battlespace Communications
  • High Grade Messaging - Up to and including secret information