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As a Systems Engineer your role is to provide network engineering support to the NZ Army’s Communication Information Systems fleet. You will initially receive a Diploma in Information and Communication Technology and later work towards a Bachelors with a double major in Networking and Security. This study is full time and funded by the Army, so you will still earn while you learn.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
    Palmerston North | Christchurch
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

For future intakes, you will join the Army as an IT Specialist, before branching into a specific trade towards the end of Signals Corps training: Either Systems Engineer, Electronic Warfare Operator, Information Management Specialist, Information Systems Operator or Radio Frequency Technician.


As a Systems Engineer your role is to provide technical engineering support to the NZ Army's Communication Information Systems (CIS) fleet.


You will work in a team environment, often in high pressure situations. You will ensure integral communication systems are established and maintained to support our personnel in achieving their tasks.


During your training you will learn everything required to provide a range of services required to keep channels of communication open. Working with local area networks and managing routing, encryption and communication links, you will be able to engineer, diagnose and repair cabling and other Army communications equipment.


Job on base

Your day to day activities will involve working as a member in a Communications Access Node (CAN) Detachment. This will see you plan, install, configure and engineer networked communications systems. As well as your day to day Systems Engineering tasks, you will also conduct training to stay proficient in soldiering skills such as physical fitness, weapon handling, first aid and general teamwork.

Job on deployment

Deployments of NZ Army personnel will almost always require our own communication networks. As such, Systems Engineers will deploy on a variety of overseas missions and exercises. These can range from short duration missions to establish or upgrade equipment to six month deployments in support of sustained operations. Whilst deployed, Systems Engineers will provide technical engineering support to the NZ Army's deployed Communication Information Systems fleet. This includes but is not limited to switching, routing, encryption and communication links management.

Our job’s quite important because we need the infrastructure to be able to send data from way out in the middle of nowhere.

Career progression and training


Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Your trade training includes a mixture of Army courses, on the job training and tertiary study, spanning over an approximate nine year period. Courses to progress your career will vary in content. Trade specific coursing will focus on your individual technical skills as a Systems Engineer. Promotion coursing will focus on your personal communication, decision making and leadership ability. Further coursing will develop your ability to make technical and tactical decisions so that you can provide the right communications solutions at the right time, to the right people. 


Your training will include tertiary study at Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Palmerston North. This will be towards a Bachelor of Information & Communications Technology (BICT), with a double major in Networking and Security.


Your initial posting location will be to Linton Military Camp, Palmerston North. As your career progresses, job opportunities in Auckland, Waiouru, Wellington and Christchurch can become available. 



Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Military Camp. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army. The training will include:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness

Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals Corps Training Course

You will begin your initial communications training with a five month course at Linton Military Camp. On this course you will learn to operate a broad range of Army radio and communications equipment, whilst gaining an understanding of computer and networking systems. This primary course is the building block of comradeship within the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals. 

During this course, you will gain exposure to the five individual trades that make up our IT Specialists. This will help to inform your selection of which career path to pursue going forward. Selections for these trades are based on factors such as your personal and location-based preferences, existing qualifications and experience, your performance as well as the availability of positions. 

Junior Information Systems Operator and Systems Engineer Course

This six week course will give you the level of training required to operate as a system administrator. The course focuses on the installation and configuration of the NZ Army’s deployable communication nodes and teaches you about the hardware, software and security requirements to operate the equipment. Cabling, encryption and network administration concepts are also taught. The course teaches a combination of IT industry standards using CCNA and military curriculums. At the completion of this course you will commence your study at Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Palmerston North. This tertiary study will be towards your Diploma of Information & Communications Technology.


Intermediate Systems Engineer Course

This seven week course will teach you how to install, configure and fault find networking devices within a deployed communication node. You will be taught to configure, manage and troubleshoot a server environment, install and configure switches, routers, multiplexers, power and telephone services and manage encryption devices. This is conducted in a laboratory environment where students are taught a technology then given a task to complete as a group through research and experimentation.


Senior Systems Engineer Course

This five week course encompasses technologies and methods used install, configure, maintain and restore communication systems. You will develop standardised network documentation including creating and implementing baselines and change control. In a laboratory environment you will design a pre-production network simulating existing enterprise networks, conduct testing and enhance the network with technologies such as QoS and WAN Optimisation.


Trade Promotion Courses

The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. The skills you learn on these courses are then put to use during your day to day work back at your unit and in the field. The Communications Information System Electronic Warfare Managers Course is more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications systems. The course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

Additional Courses

In addition to the above training is a combination of tertiary and on the job training. Additional to your BICT, your trade coursing will include various technology certification programs such as CISCO CCNA 1, 2 and 3, ITIL Service Transition and DTI Project Management.

Adding to your professional development, you will attend a number of command courses to develop your leadership decision making ability within various operational scenarios. All of this training will make for a diverse and challenging learning environment within the NZ Army.

Further coursing, available to NZ Army personnel also exists outside of your trade training. This includes (but is not limited to), driver licensing courses, first aid and medical courses, shooting instruction courses, written and verbal communication coursing and more. 


Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 18 years of age upon completion of recruit course (basic training)
  • You must have been a NZ Citizen for a minimum of 10 years
  • Complete a 10 year background history check that can be checked with the New Zealand authorities to obtain high level security clearance
  • You must be able to obtain a TSV security clearance (see Citizenship tab)

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

On completion of your training, there may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Engagement Facilitator for more information.

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