In most nations there are two levels at which prospective members of defense forces are trained.
The first level at which prospective members of defense forces are trained as the non commissioned officer level. The people who enter at this level are termed as being recruits. Upon graduation, those who are going to the infantry often enter at the rank of private, that being the lowest possible rank. These are the foot soldiers, who execute the orders and strategies formulated by the officers. These can then progress through the ranks, to become senior sergeants, and those who are lucky can even cross over, to the level of warrant officers.
The second level at which prospective members of defense forces are trained is the commissioned officer level. Those who enter at this level are termed as cadets. They are elite officers and they are given elite training that is heavy on matters to do with strategy and leadership. Upon graduation, many of these people join the defense forces as second lieutenants, unless they joined under special arrangements, say as chaplains who, in some nations, may start out as captains or even majors. The people who join as cadets can rise through the ranks, to eventually end up being generals if they are good enough and if they are lucky enough.