As a 22-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency’s analytic corps I’ve talked to hundreds of people interested in knowing more about a career as an Agency analyst. Thanks to Hollywood’s usually warped view of what analysts do, the necessary veil of secrecy that obscures most details related to Agency work, and the wealth of sketchy information available on the internet, I’ve found that the bar for providing useful and accurate information is pretty low. In response, I developed a presentation I delivered on campuses across the country and with students over the phone to explain what being an Agency analyst is all about. I’m now offering that talk for free as an online course, An Insider’s View on Being a CIA Analyst: Pros, Cons, and Some Tips for Applicants, as a way to introduce people to Proficiency1, a new online training community for national security and risk intelligence professionals.

In An Insider’s View you’ll get just that, my personal perspective of what analysts really do, the good and bad of the job, and how to become an analyst if it sounds like the good outweighs the bad. In particular, I cover the following:

  • What do all analysts have in common?
  • What different types of analysts are there?
  • What do analysts actually do?
  • How does the analytic production process work?
  • Why did I love being an analyst and why might you not like it?
  • What does it take to get hired and how can you improve your chances?

In discussing these topics I mix in plenty of examples and stories from my career to illustrate my points and hopefully make for a more interesting and entertaining hour or so of your time. If you are considering a career at the CIA and, like every perspective applicant I’ve ever met, have a lot of questions and uncertainty about the Agency, then this is the perfect course for you.  If you just want to learn about the role analysts play in the Intelligence Community and in national security decisionmaking, you’ll also find this course to be time well spent.  You can sign up for free here, and please check out Proficeincy1’s other current and upcoming courses here while you’re at it.

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