With excellent training in the operation of sophisticated computer systems, this is an IT job unlike any in the civilian world. As part of your training you will initially receive a Diploma, and later a Bachelors in Information and Communication Technology. All while getting paid and experiencing the best the Army has to offer.

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

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 Information Systems Operator, Electronic Warfare Operator, Information Management SpecialistRadio Frequency Technician or Systems Engineer.

As an Information Systems Operator (ISOP) your role is to provide technical IT support to the NZ Army's Communication Information Systems (CIS) fleet.

In this role, 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 be taught to establish and maintain computer networks. From client laptops and user support, to local area networks and server hardware, you will be able to design, build, configure, and maintain the IT equipment used by the Army.

Job on base

Your day to day activities will involve working as a member in a Communications Access Node (CAN) Detachment. You will be responsible for installing and administrating operating systems on laptops, computers, servers, and networks.  Additionally, as an applications specialist your role may see you working face to face with users or over the phone from a support desk. 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, Information Systems Operators are highly deployable, and are deployed in a variety of overseas missions and exercises. Whilst on deployment you can expect to work alongside personnel from other nations militaries, as well as the Navy and Air Force. You will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the NZ Army’s computer networks and equipment and providing support to users when required.

I wanted to go to University, but did not want to go into debt. I realised that in the Army I would get paid while studying, and at the same time get hands-on IT experience through a digital aprenticeship.

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 seven year period. Courses to progress your career will vary in content. Trade specific coursing will focus on your individual technical skills as an ISOP. 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 also include tertiary study at Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Palmerston North. You will initially receive a Diploma in IT Technical support. Later in your career, a Bachelor of Information & Communications Technology, majoring in Systems Administration.


Your initial posting location will be to Linton Military Camp, Palmerston North. You will spend your first year conducting Army specific training and communication coursing, prior to studying for two years at UCOL. Upon receiving your Diploma, you will return to the Army and apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt within the organisation. As your career progresses, job opportunities in Auckland, Waiouru, Wellington and Christchurch can become available. 

Upon enlistment into the Army you will be posted to the Waiouru Military Camp. Here you will complete 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 start your initial communications training with a five month course at Linton Military Camp, Palmerston North. 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. 

Information Systems Operator and Systems Engineers Junior 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 CISCO Network Certified associate (CCNA) and military curriculums. At the completion of this course you will commence two years at Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in Palmerston North. This tertiary study will be towards your Diploma of Information & Communications Technology.


Information Systems Operator Intermediate Course

This course will be conducted after you have finished your first two years at UCOL and focuses on the military specific applications and their employment in the battlefield. Course concepts are taught on a combination of IT industry applications from Microsoft and VM Ware, to military applications such as the Battle Management System. Managing a service support desk and implementing infrastructure design documents are also covered. Upon completion of this course you will be the equivalent of a system engineer.


Information Systems Operator Senior Course

This course prepares you to fill the role of a system designer. It focuses on enterprise hardware configuration which affect the design and implementation of information system solutions to meet battlefield requirements in a Local or Wide Area Network configuration. This course also includes the implementation and management of secure computer network architectures, computer network defence and high availability planning. As part of this course you will also learn and qualify in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundation exam. 


Ongoing Training

On completion of the above coursing, you will return to complete your third and final year at UCOL, gaining your Bachelors in Information & Communications Technology, majoring in Systems Administration. 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.

 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 this course will then be applied in your day to day work in both camp and field enviornments. The Communications Information System Electronic Warfare Managers Course is a more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications and information systems. The course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

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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