Cryptologic Technician

PioXVI

Newbie
Hello all,

First of all I wanted to say thank you. I've found a lot of the advice/testimonies on this forum really helpful this past wee while as I've been weighing up my decisions. I know the CT Branch has been discussed several times, and I have talked to my local AFCO as well. I did have one thing I wanted to ask regarding the training process that all CTs undergo. I understand it's a two year process, I know roughly how those two years are broken up and I'm aware that there's only so much I can be told on a public forum.

My question is more to do with the experience, rather than the curriculum. I'm currently just about to finish my studies, and I know that a really technical job like CT would require deep study as well. I don't mind two more years of learning, but I am interested in how people found phase 2 training? Was it enjoyable? And do you get to know the people on your course quite well? I know the two years is broken up with a deployment in the middle, but I was greatly appreciate any insight that anyone might have.

Thank you!
 

fishhead

War Hero
Hello all,

First of all I wanted to say thank you. I've found a lot of the advice/testimonies on this forum really helpful this past wee while as I've been weighing up my decisions. I know the CT Branch has been discussed several times, and I have talked to my local AFCO as well. I did have one thing I wanted to ask regarding the training process that all CTs undergo. I understand it's a two year process, I know roughly how those two years are broken up and I'm aware that there's only so much I can be told on a public forum.

My question is more to do with the experience, rather than the curriculum. I'm currently just about to finish my studies, and I know that a really technical job like CT would require deep study as well. I don't mind two more years of learning, but I am interested in how people found phase 2 training? Was it enjoyable? And do you get to know the people on your course quite well? I know the two years is broken up with a deployment in the middle, but I was greatly appreciate any insight that anyone might have.

Thank you!
Disclaimer :I was never a CT or anything like it.
Most courses are intense so whether you enjoy them or not is down to your level of interest in the subject. You will get to know your classmates very well over the period of time you are together. Some will become long time oppos(friends) and some you won't care if you never see them again. In a nutshell that is the armed forces experience. I fully understand you are looking to take a big step in your career but what only you can do is determine whether it is the right step for you.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

crash_evans

War Hero
I was a DO to Phase 2 CT’s and I believe I have covered that aspect. Have a look around the search box.

I’m fairly sure there are some CT’s around the site. They may pop up and give their experience.
 

SheffGruff

Badgeman
What are/were your most recent studies and how old are you?

You get to know the people in Phase 2 well and you will probably do Phase 1 with them - although injuries etc can mix your groups up a bit. You will see these people every day. We could set our watches by somebody's daily morning fart during breakfast (the more that happened the funnier it became).

I am older and left in early Phase 2 - of the courses I did complete, I felt that I'd done much of it before at school/uni/work. Realising there was a very long and often disrupted training pipeline ahead, I got impatient and frustrated, with a feeling I wasn't learning or being useful.

At the same time, my father was diagnosed with advanced cancer. I already had some doubts about the training speed and being able to see home on UK shore assignments, but that cancer diagnosis was what finished off my RN career ambitions.

It's helpful if you give a bit more information about yourself to get useful answers from the forum users. The course is designed to be accessible to younger people with fewer academic qualifications. In that respect I felt like a square peg trying to go through a round hole.

If you're young and just leaving school, go for it. If you're a graduate/in your 30s, do some more research. It may work for you, but you will likely need to know more about likely postings etc. My mistake was thinking it'd probably all involve Portsmouth when in fact you are far more likely to be posted to RAF bases.
 
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PioXVI

Newbie
Thanks very much SheffGruff for your reply. I'm really sorry to hear about your father's illness.

I'm a recent politics graduate in my early 20s. I found what you said really interesting, especially when you felt that you already knew what was being covered. I've spent the last few years studying for my degree, and so when I found out the CT role required 2 further years of study I was a bit unsure as I was quite keen to get out of libraries after being in them for so long. Though I understand the course would need to teach you the basics first. Did you get the impression that things would have got more interesting as the course progressed? What was Collingwood like in general - was it more laid back than Phase 1 or still quite disciplined?
 

crash_evans

War Hero
I feel it is quite important to put things in perspective. Education irrelevant, anyone who re trains in another trade or skill will have to start at the bottom and learn the trade from the ground up.

Phase 1 and 2 training is designed to be both gender, skill and education neutral. Training and teaching staff haven’t got the time and the RN hasn’t got the money to run three courses for varying skills and abilities. This is why people are sifted through at the AFCO.

My 23 years in the RN does not automatically give me an entitlement to enter a new career at the same financial or experience level as where I left the Navy. If you feel like it’s is going to be boring, not challenging and personally rewarding. The more you think you might not enjoy something, the more you will end up thinking why you should be there.

As for Phase 2, it is more relaxed l - however it’s isn’t Uni. You will be there to complete your trade training. I am all up for being social and building team rapport, save the partying for the weekend.

I hope this helps.

YA
 

SheffGruff

Badgeman
Though I understand the course would need to teach you the basics first. Did you get the impression that things would have got more interesting as the course progressed? What was Collingwood like in general - was it more laid back than Phase 1 or still quite disciplined?
If you're a new politics grad with no prior work experience then I suspect most of the CT training will cover new material for you. Basic numeracy/literacy/IT is covered.

My memory is that the course modules become more job-specific after Collingwood, so it's likely to be more interesting - but you'd do better to ask someone that's completed phase 2.

In the longer run (after phase 2) you can be trained in very niche areas if you have the aptitude - languages are one example but there are also more technical subjects. This offers the chance to direct your training to areas that you find most interesting - but it will take years to get there.

Collingwood is nothing like Raleigh. I found the transition from Raleigh to Collingwood jarring - Phase 1 is much more intense and it took me a while to adjust to suddenly having much less to do. Phase 2 still has duties and daily routines/discipline but there are much longer breaks and you can normally leave the base after about 1700 or on weekends. You can often (not always) get time out for sports and there's a lot more dead time in general during the day. In a lot of ways it had a similar feel to being at school 6th form.
 
@PioXVI morning mate,

CT here and I have a lot to add here, but long story short. It depends.

I'll start with the academic stuff, there is two paths for it all.

If you are a sweat trying to get 95%+ on all exams, you will have a hell of a stressful two years, you will never be out of the books. If you are the opposite you will probably just float through.

In order to get kicked off course, you would need to be totally and 100% committed to being not committed. We had some people do the minimum and at the end of the day almost everything is pass or fail.

We had one person fail one module throughout the full two+ years and they passed it on their second attempt, the next day.

The SIGINT Collection Course is a right pain, six months of learning a lot. Memorising paragraphs of text and doing practical's over and over all while being smashed with phys and room/uniform inspections.

This is where your training group comes in.

You will most likely go through basic training with a group of people (for me it was eight CTs). Now I was really lucky, us eight just gelled. We became friends, went on holidays together and meet up regularly now. Including wedding invites etc.

I stuck with the eight CTs from basic all the way through to leadership (two years+ living in close proximity together). Most of us have ended up in similar drafts with different specialisations, most in the same location. Couldn't have asked for a better group. Really made the whole experience surreal.

Came away from it with some people I genuinely think of like family.

However, I have heard stories of broken classes and everything falling out, breaking into smaller groups and two years of hell etc. That amount time living in the same room as people and dealing with them every day, things can really go in any direction.

So really as I said at the start, it depends.
 

PioXVI

Newbie
@PioXVI morning mate,

CT here and I have a lot to add here, but long story short. It depends.

I'll start with the academic stuff, there is two paths for it all.

If you are a sweat trying to get 95%+ on all exams, you will have a hell of a stressful two years, you will never be out of the books. If you are the opposite you will probably just float through.

In order to get kicked off course, you would need to be totally and 100% committed to being not committed. We had some people do the minimum and at the end of the day almost everything is pass or fail.

We had one person fail one module throughout the full two+ years and they passed it on their second attempt, the next day.

The SIGINT Collection Course is a right pain, six months of learning a lot. Memorising paragraphs of text and doing practical's over and over all while being smashed with phys and room/uniform inspections.

This is where your training group comes in.

You will most likely go through basic training with a group of people (for me it was eight CTs). Now I was really lucky, us eight just gelled. We became friends, went on holidays together and meet up regularly now. Including wedding invites etc.

I stuck with the eight CTs from basic all the way through to leadership (two years+ living in close proximity together). Most of us have ended up in similar drafts with different specialisations, most in the same location. Couldn't have asked for a better group. Really made the whole experience surreal.

Came away from it with some people I genuinely think of like family.

However, I have heard stories of broken classes and everything falling out, breaking into smaller groups and two years of hell etc. That amount time living in the same room as people and dealing with them every day, things can really go in any direction.

So really as I said at the start, it depends.
Thanks very much for your post! I found it really interesting and quite reassuring as well, in the sense that you get a second attempt at modules.

How did you find the deployment halfway through Phase 2 training? Do you feel like it consolidated what you learned or made the training process even longer? Because I read it can be up to six months.

Also, I've read through all the forums on here but I just wanted to ask - do you find being a CT an exciting career?
 
In terms of test attempts you actually get 3rd attempts and then back classes (moved to the class behind you).

The courses you go on and your clearances cost a lot of money so the navy really want you to pass.

The midway deployment is a huge learning curve. You don't have much trade training so you are just a spare body and are treated like one. If you gel with the crew and are lucky enough to get a decent deployment this can be an amazing opportunity. However, you might end up doing a fairly mundane one.

It can be up to 6months, that's what they typically aim for. It is good for grounding people, hard to be a leader of people if you've never been an AB in the job.

The midway deployment doesn't consolidate too much as you haven't learnt a great deal, but it gives more depth/understanding to what you will be learning in the future.

We have a varied job and as I've maybe said before having your clearances opens a lot of doors. I'm doing cyber in the UK and I wouldn't use the word exciting but it is challenging and in terms of qualifications, it is setting me up nicely.

My sea time though was decent. Up in the Baltic's, Mediterranean and south of the Suez. You are also in the know with what is going on around you because of your clearance and where you work. You are doing an office job though, so it sort of is a mixed bag.

It isn't excitement as in F35 pilot exciting, not even close. Just exciting in the sense that you typically get to do something different every 2 years and there is a lot to choose from. Especially once you've been in for a while.
 
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