The announcement of the National Cyber Force has put Britain’s cyber capabilities firmly in the spotlight. But Strategic Command has been leading Defence on cyber much longer than that. We asked people on the inside of the cyber world to share their stories in their own words.
Due to the often secret nature of their work we cannot share their pictures or their full names. This is Ashley's story:
When I joined the Army in 2010, I had no idea that I would end up having a career in cyber. My original goal was to pursue a career in languages. I didn’t perceive myself as being technically-minded, and was not aware that it would even be a possibility for me. Four years into my career, I discovered that a career in cyber was an option. The type of skills that the cyber operators within my unit had, really impressed me and fired up my imagination. It sounded so interesting and really different to the work I was doing at the time.
After reading an email advertising a cyber aptitude test within the unit, I decided I would give it a go. I didn’t have any particular expectations as to how it would turn out, but ended up passing, and was offered a place on a cyber team. At first it seemed like there was so many things I needed to learn, but bit-by-bit I picked up the theory and methods and found confidence in my ability to train newcomers to the team.
All my subsequent postings have been cyber-focused and I feel like I have really found my niche. Throughout my career, I have taken part in cyber exercises, worked with various different teams and been given opportunities to undertake training and obtain industry certifications in the cyber field. I have worked in more regimental ‘green’ Army environments, and also in office-based settings with civilian counterparts. Sometimes you might see me wearing my combats like any other soldier, and at other times I am wearing civilian clothing and am not identifiable as being military at all.
Being involved in cyber in Defence at a relatively early stage has been exciting, as you can see its future structure evolving, and contribute to how it develops. In the future, I see cyber potentially becoming its own trade group within the military, allowing military personnel to specialise and dedicate themselves to becoming experts in the field. Perhaps this will result in the military searching for a different type of person to recruit.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a huge increase in online activities with many more people working from home, and people using software such as Zoom and HouseParty to stay in touch. This makes me feel that my work is becoming more relevant all the time and gives me a real sense of purpose. It really emphasises that cyber within the military is a growth trade that is here to stay.
There are both Regular and Reserve cyber roles in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force.
For more information on Army roles, click here.
If you are interested in joining the Navy, click here.
To find your force as a part of the RAF, click here.
There are also civilian cyber roles within the Ministry of Defence Civil Service. You can sign up for a job alert on CS Jobs here. Simply create an account, select the Job Alerts tab and follow the on screen instructions.