I can't help but feel uneasy joining at the age of 30, knowing there will be NCSE's, my age with 6-7 years of experience already.
Totally understandable. I switched into NCSE at the age of 36
So my questions are simple: Does the Navy play favourites when considering RMC graduates over DEO's for available positions? A senior career advisor told me that RMC graduates have the benefit of having a network, and have an advantage.
No and yes. There isn't any inherent advantage in the engineering side for RMC grads for positions. That's entirely dependant on your own ability, networking and luck. There is an advantage for RMC networking but mostly for pers of the same rank. Remember though, lots of people who went to RMC together hate each other. Pros and Cons. Military networking is generally about how YOU perform not what school you went too. Ask questions, be interested and particularly in your initial training be interested. Engineering officers in particular are extremely approachable and encouraging of new members of the fraternity, so don't be shy and professionaly introduce yourself at the many social functions. Hell just go to the social functions. Lots of RMC embittered grads won't even attend. Many RMC grads don't give a crap right after school, and just are tired of the military grind. They get interested again later in their career when they just live life for a bit away from the school You specifically chose this career and are not bitter yet. Use that to your advantage early on.
Is it unreasonable for an NCSE starting their career at the age of 30, to rise above the rank of Lt(N) in the next 30 years of their career? The same career advisor told me that I would have to "walk on water" if I were to ever achieve rank of Captain(N). I am of the understanding that senior officer ranks are difficult to achieve, but now I am starting to question whether it is even possible for a late-joiner DEO to do so.
Doesn't matter when you join, there are not a lot of engineering Capt(N) positions. 10-15 years to LCdr isn't beyond you at that age if you play your cards right. That's usually where we max out as a trade, which is still quite a good spot to be in. If you are planning on staying for 25 years you shouldn't worry about promotions. Personally get through training first. Worry about promotions well after that.
This being a huge life changing commitment, I am curious, what realistic opportunities there are in the private sector for NCSE's that decide to leave the Navy (your first hand experience and knowledge here would be appreciated). I have been told, by an ex-Navy member that was stationed on HMCS Kootenay, that NCSE's are basically useless in the civilian world; again not something you want to hear shortly after signing an offer.
If you have an engineering degree and engineering experience you can pretty much work anywhere. Currently I'm doing networking stuff and I'm a mechanical engineer by trade. Not to mention all the electrical, digital and communications training. If you come in with a science or computing degree you can parlay that with your experience into civilian employment. Get your PMP qualification while in. Expand your language profile. Get a masters degree paid for. If all else fails work for a military contracting company. Baby boomers are gonna die off sometime.
I was also curious, what happens when you reach the maximum number of pay increments for a given rank, say Lt(N). I believe I read somewhere on this forum that you simply stop getting incremental raises, unless of course you get promoted.