An intelligence analyst is a government employee who pieces together information from several sources to evaluate threats and halt attacks from interior and exterior enemies. Intelligence analysts are responsible for detecting and preventing serious organised crime, like drug trafficking, cybercrime, and terrorist attacks.
If you are interested in becoming an intelligence analyst and enjoy being constantly challenged, you will naturally wonder what the exact role and duties are required to perform the role. Here is a guide on what an intelligence analyst does, including day-to-day responsibilities and skills needed.
Roles and Responsibilities
On a typical day, an intelligence analyst is responsible for:
- Developing intelligence pictures
- Identifying potential targets and agents
- Collecting and certifying intelligence
- Evaluating the integrity of information and consistency of sources
- Liaising and collaborating with colleagues like mathematicians to gather additional information
- Delivering information as presentations or formal reports
- Developing expertise in a specific field
Intelligence analysts are primarily responsible for predicting future gang, organised crime by analyzing intelligence data. Intelligence analysts must also be proficient in designing, using, or maintaining software applications and databases, like geographic information systems (GIS).
Intelligence analysts play a vital role in national security and international relations. They can work with a network of international, state, and local organisations in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, both in an office setting and in their specialist field.
Intelligence analysts will go out in person questioning witnesses and undertaking specific searches on location. In conjunction with fieldwork, intelligence analysts must conduct basic computer-based research which is normally completed in the office. The workplace for this role will depend on the specific field you choose to go into.
While some analysts will concentrate on the tactical side of the role which requires you to work more with local law enforcement agencies, others will concentrate on collecting and interpreting information and strategic planning. Intelligence analysts work all over Canada and in military bases and embassies across the planet.
Successful intelligence analysts have distinct personalities. If you are an investigative individual and are known to be inquisitive, this role may suit you perfectly. Intelligence analysts need to have a passion for analysis and be excellent at problem solving. You must also work well as part of a team on projects. Excellent prioritisation and organisational skills are a must if you want to become an intelligence analyst.
When presenting your findings, intelligence analysts must be confident with their research and be able to communicate effectively with peers. Being motivated and focused is key for succeeding in this role. As intelligence analysts work for the government, reports must be given consistent attention, especially as the readers who view your work will be from the highest levels of authority. Intelligence analysts must also be excellent at working under pressure and demonstrate resilience and perseverance.
If you are thinking of becoming an intelligence analyst, knowing the starting salary is important. You will want to choose a career that provides financial security for you and your loved ones. Intelligence analysts can expect to make roughly $69,000 per year. As you gain experience, your annual salary can stand at $97,500 a year.
Where you live in Canada and the kind of field you go into will differ in terms of salary as an intelligence analyst. In addition to your salary, intelligence analysts usually receive benefits such as life and health insurance, paid vacation leave, and a pension plan. You may also receive extra training as needed, as well as bonuses. Before applying for a position, make sure you inquire about the salary so you know what to expect.
Intelligence analysts normally work a standard 37-hour week. However, you may be asked to work additional hours, especially during times of pressure or in a crisis. There is the option to work part-time in this role, and flexible working is a possibility too.
Understandably, an intelligence analyst role isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you have other responsibilities like raising children to factor in, a part-time intelligence analyst position may be better suited to you.
To qualify for an intelligence analyst role, you will need to gain specific qualifications first. Regardless of what kind of position you apply for, many fields ask for a master’s degree in political science or a related field. You can embark on a master of public safety at Wilfrid Laurier University, which will give you the credentials needed to succeed in this role. You can study for this program online and enjoy the freedom and flexibility it provides. This means you can work alongside your degree, allowing you to earn while you learn.
You will also need a subject matter expertise in a field, such as crime, economics, or politics. Candidates must also have well-honed analytical skills, and a background check will be required. Depending on the role you apply for, you may need to factor in regular travel to perform your job.
According to Statistics Canada, there will be over 50,000 intelligence analyst vacancies in Canada over the next decade. This means that you can be confident you’ll have job security with this role. There are other analyst roles you may be interested in pursuing too, such as:
- Financial analyst
- Business analyst
- Cybercrime analyst
- Crime analyst
- Risk manager
Each of the analyst roles listed above will involve different day-to-day duties. However, there will be key skills you must possess, such as being an excellent communicator, mastering the art of time management, and being able to work in stressful situations. If you study for a master of public safety, this can open the career door for analyst positions.
The need for intelligence analysts is growing year on year. Security threats can occur in the public, private, and governmental sectors, which requires intelligence analysts to step in to assess and prevent attacks.
Becoming an intelligence analyst won’t happen overnight. However, once you gain qualifications and enter the role, you can command a healthy salary, have job security, and work in a field like no other.