Cyber Operators conduct defensive cyber operations, and when required and where feasible, active cyber operations. They liaise and work collaboratively with other government departments and agencies, as well as with Canada’s allies to enhance the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ability to provide a secure cyber environment. They monitor CAF communication networks to detect and respond to unauthorized network access attempts and provide cyber support to meet the operational requirements of the Navy, Army, Air Force, and joint enablers.
A Cyber Operator has the following responsibilities:
- Collect, process and analyze network data
- Identify network vulnerabilities
- Manage a computer network environment
- Conduct defensive and active cyber operations
- Apply security and communications knowledge in the field of information technology
- Use and maintain classified and unclassified records and publications
Cyber Operators work with extremely sensitive information in a high-security environment, within restricted-access facilities. Cyber Operators are required to work shift work throughout their careers however, they have frequent opportunities for employment in positions that work regular business hours. Cyber Operators serve in the sea, land or air environment, and on deployed operations around the world. They can also be employed in exchange positions as part of the personnel exchange program with United States armed forces or other allied nations.
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully-trained Cyber Operator is $52,584 per year, which quickly rises to $67,392 per year once promoted to the rank of Corporal. Cyber Operators who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for career progression opportunities such as promotion and/or advanced training.
Related civilian occupations
- Internet Security Analyst
- Network Support Analyst
- Computer Incident Response Specialist
- Cyber Reporter
- Systems Auditor
Basic military qualification
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the core skills and knowledge common to all military occupations. Another objective for the course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard. As a result, the training is physically demanding.
Basic occupational qualification training
After your BMQ you will be sent to a CAF-approved college program on computer network security where you will learn:
- Software development
- Network Situational Awareness
- How to respond to and report on cyber events
- How to conduct analyses
After successful completion of the college program, or if you already have a diploma from an approved institution, you will attend the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE) in Kingston, Ontario, for approximately 16 weeks. Using a combination of theory, demonstrations, practical work and simulation exercises, the CFSCE course will cover:
- Cyber Operations
- Data capture and statistical analysis
- Communications and data security
- Operation of auxiliary equipment
Specialty and advanced training
Cyber Operators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Network vulnerability evaluations and assessments
- Digital forensics
- Threat intelligence analysis
- Active cyber tasks
- Malware identification and analysis
- Cyber event mitigation
Cyber Operators who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential may be selected for career progression opportunities, advanced training, and promotion.
Now Hiring: as part of a phased approach to filling Cyber Operator positions within the CAF, we will soon accept applications from individuals who have already completed a CAF-endorsed college program (see the CAF-ACE website for information, or contact your nearest recruiting centre), who are expected to complete such a program by end May 2018, or who are in their first year of such a program.
Future Entry Plan: planning is underway to commence the hiring of candidates who meet the minimum entry standard, no later than summer of 2019. The entry standards will be published by January 2018.
This occupation is available part-time within the following environments: Navy, Army, and Air Force.
Serve with the Reserve Force
This position is available for part-time employment within the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing, Naval Reserve unit, or Army Reserve unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training and employment. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Cyber Operators conduct defensive cyber operations, and when required and where feasible, active cyber operations. These operations include disrupting the actions from potential adversaries in the cyber domain. They monitor and defend CAF communication networks to detect and respond to unauthorized network access attempts and provide cyber support to meet the operational requirements of the Navy, Army, Air Force, and joint enablers. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis, they usually serve at CAF unit locations within Canada.
Reserve Force training
Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Cyber Operators attend the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario, to achieve their qualification and may train to work in digital forensics, threat intelligence analysis, or Network vulnerability evaluations and assessments.
Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.
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