Communications Information Systems Specialist

Service:Surface Fleet

At a glance

What you’ll do

Being a Communications and Information systems (CIS) Specialist means you are at the heart of every mission and always in the thick of the action.  Using global radio and satellite communications and the latest military IT systems, it's your responsibility to guarantee the secure exchange of mission critical, and often top-secret information. 

Your role

  • Operate global radio and satellite systems to guarantee the safe transmission of essential, and often classified messages.
  • 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, like the daily weather forecasts.
  • 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 2 Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals.

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


  • There are no minimum qualification requirements
  • You need to be aged between 16-39
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or dual national

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

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • 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

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy 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) Technician, you’ll have four months of specialist communication and IT systems training at the Maritime Warfare School, HMS Collingwood, focussing on:

  • Communication systems
  • Information systems and associated networks
  • Electrical and electronic repair techniques
  • Safety procedures
  • Essential tolls and techniques