Intelligence Analyst Careers

What Is An Intelligence Analyst?

Intelligence Analysts work for many organizations, researching information from multiple sources to help assess both internal and external threats. Intelligence Analysts work in both the office setting and the field to complete investigations to ensure the safety of their organization.

Working for government employers and contractors, as well as in security departments of many companies, Intelligence Analysts gather, analyze, and evaluate security threats. They are specialists who use data to predict behavior and activities of criminals, terrorists, and organized crimes. Based on their research, Intelligence Analysts provide judgements, strategies, and recommendations to their superiors who can then assess possible security threats.


What Is An Intelligence Analyst Responsible For?

Intelligence Analysts transform raw data into detailed reports used to counteract criminal and terrorist activities. They are responsible for analyzing, processing, and distributing strategic and tactical intelligence. Accurate analysis of intelligence is vital for the security of government, military, and company security. Intelligence Analysts must produce accurate and timely information to marginalize threats.

Intelligence Analysts can expect to work at any of the following tasks:

  • Establish criminal profiles and connect criminal organizations with their members
  • Gather intelligence information by field work, confidential informants, or public records
  • Predict criminal and terrorist activity
  • Analyze, correlate, and evaluate intelligence from all available resources
  • Design, maintain, and use software databases, including geographic information systems and artificial intelligence tools
  • Operate surveillance equipment such as cameras and radios
  • Prepare comprehensive written reports, presentations, and maps or charts
  •  Study criminal assets
  •  Validate existing intelligence from other sources
  • Prepare intercept strategies
  • Develop defense plans and tactical strategies
  • Study communications, including code and foreign languages for intelligence translation
  •  Interview and interrogate witnesses and suspects
  • Collaborate with other governments and intelligence operatives

To be successful as an Intelligence Analyst, prospects will need to develop the following skills:

  • Critical Thinking. Intelligence Analysts must develop sharp analytical and production skills. They must curate and evaluate data from multiple resources, and the intelligence strategies they create must be accurate and actionable. Their ability to use the data they collect to predict future threats is essential to securing their organizations and countries.
  • Writing Skills. Intelligence Analysts must refine their intelligence material into concise data for distribution to supervisors and other Intelligence Officers. Well-organized data reports fluent in local language and foreign culture across diverse subjects is critical.
  • Flexibility. Intelligence Analysts need the ability to recognize patterns and when they change. They must possess an agile mind that can retool their own work to reflect miscalculated or new data.


Where Do Intelligence Analysts Work?

Intelligence Analyst jobs can be found in sectors, such as the government, the military, and private businesses. Intelligence Analysts in these sectors work to identify and help mitigate criminal activity.


What Other Career Options are Available to Intelligence Analysts?

Careers available to Intelligence Analysts include:

Department Intelligence Agency

Working within the Department of Defense, Intelligence Analysts who work in the Department Intelligence Agency produce a substantial amount of the intelligence that goes into the President’s daily briefing. Agents work stateside and overseas to collect overt and clandestine intelligence from many sources, including human-source and other sources. Evaluating available technologies, they analyze the nation’s ability to conduct military operations in wartime and peacetime.


National Security Agency

Also working within the Department of Defense, Intelligence Analysts process data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence functions. They conduct research and develop strategy, producing reports, recommendations, and solutions to safeguard personnel, information, facilities, and systems operations.


Central Intelligence Agency

Intelligence Analysts working for the CIA are experts who evaluate multiple sources, including classified and unclassified information, from around the world. CIA agents often employ human intelligence, focusing primarily on overseas intelligence gathering. Intelligence Analysts service task requests from policymakers and research analytic projects, making assessments and recommendations to superiors, policymakers, and other agencies. There are thirteen different classes of Intelligence Analysts within the CIA. Counterintelligence, Crime, and Narcotic Analysts are just a few of the different categories of expertise in the CIA.


FBI Agency

Intelligence Analysts in the FBI bring together information collected by the Bureau’s agents as well as other intelligence professionals and law enforcement agencies to make informed judgements and recommendations. Using their knowledge of language, history, and geographic regions, they curate information to analyze the true nature of threats, both inside and outside the borders of the US.


Criminal Analysts

Local and state government agencies employ specialized Intelligence Analysts to study patterns and trends in crime in their local communities and regions. Analysts are effective in assisting law enforcement agencies in identifying and apprehending criminal suspects. Crime analysts review crime reports, arrest records, and other intelligence to identify trends and emerging patterns quickly. They develop strategic, operational, and tactical reports and assist law enforcement officials by predicting future crime occurrences.


Business Intelligence Analysts

Intelligence Analysts in the world of business analyze company performance as well as the performance and habits of competing companies. The rise of big data analytics has widened a field of company introspection. By reviewing digital systems, the internet, and other company information, Intelligence Analysts define, report, and develop new business structures and provide insight to improving company metrics and management. Effective business intelligence provides actionable advice to company leaders, allowing them to make effective and timely business decisions.


What Degree Do You Need to Become An Intelligence Analyst? What Do They Study?

Although education requirements for Intelligence Analysts are not set in stone, expertise begins with a solid education. A bachelor’s degree in political science, intelligence studies and national security, and criminal justice are strong educational basics for a career in Intelligence. Fields as diverse as communications and foreign affairs, as well as history, international law, and geography also provide a broad background for those interested in pursuing a position as an Intelligence Analyst.

Master’s degrees are increasingly sought for upper level positions within the intelligence community. Students can earn their master’s in the sciences as well as communications and criminal justice.

While not required, students can seek a doctorate degree in fields such as political science, history, and government for positions as Director or other high-level positions.


How Much Money Does An Intelligence Analyst Earn?

People with Intelligence Analyst jobs can earn around $67,000 per year. Salaries in government agencies typically start at about $34,500 per year and go up to $112,700 per year. Senior Intelligence Analysts can earn on average $85,500 in annual salary.

FBI agents earn approximately $123,500 per year and CIA agents can earn up to $88,250 a year. Agents in Homeland Security earn close to $104,000 in annual salary.

Business Intelligence Analysts can earn up to $90,000 per year, in addition to bonuses and other financial perks that vary from industry to industry.

As with most positions in the field of Intelligence Analysts, actual annual salary varies, depending on location, experience, and size of organization.