Professional and Analytical Skills

Analysis 101

Strategies for Success as an Analyst

Instructor: Chris Savos

Who Is This Course For?

Analysis 101: Strategies for Success as an Analyst is for anyone who is an analyst, aspires to become one, or manages them. It’s designed to fill a critical hole in most analysts’ educations by providing a framework for thinking about what it means to be a professional analyst and offering a set of practical strategies to help any analyst succeed, regardless of their area of specialization. The course serves as Analysis 101 for anyone who prefers to learn the fundamentals of being an analyst in just a few hours rather than by trial and error while on the job. It’s filled with fundamental information every analyst should know on day one of their career but rarely does.

The instructor has nearly 30 years of experience as an analyst, analytic manager, and trainer of analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency and in the private sector. He draws from his experiences of what did and didn’t work for him and the hundreds of analysts he’s observed. He shares his views on the purpose of analysis, what makes analysis valuable to customers, and what professional success as an analyst looks like. The bulk of his course centers on his 10 key strategies for you to achieve that success.



Unless you’re in one of the relatively new academic programs designed to produce intelligence analysts, you’re probably learning valuable substantive knowledge in your classes but not the mindset or habits required of a professional analyst. In fact, you’ll need to unlearn many of the habits that led to academic success to succeed in your career. This course will help you prepare for that career and to interview more effectively for any analyst job.



In less than three hours this course delivers nearly 30 years’ worth of wisdom with steps you can take now to be seen by your boss, peers, and customers as a more professional and effective analyst. Although the course is ideal for a new analyst, it has something valuable to offer more experienced analysts who have never assessed their job’s requirements for success or the best ways to attain that success.



Properly developing new analysts who arrive on the job with little understanding of the critical differences between being a good student and a strong analyst can be frustrating and time consuming. This course gives you a roadmap for guiding this early development and ensuring that your employees adopt effective habits early in their career. Even better, you’re likely to find after taking the course that having your employees take it will make your task of developing them that much easier.

Become More Purposeful in Your Pursuit of Professional Success

This course will make you more aware of the attitude you must have and the skills you must master to meet your customers’ needs and to become a valuable member of any analytic team.

Create a Clear Image of Success

Adopt a definition of success that will help you meet others’ expectations, grow as a professional, and make you more aware of the need to maintain a healthy balance between your career and your personal wellbeing.

Understand Your Purpose

Identify your mission as an analyst, the steps you must take with every product to best serve your customers, and the specific elements of analysis that they need most from you.

Develop the Mindset

Recognize and embrace the attitude that most great analysts tend to have about their craft.

What You'll Get

Video Content


Course Transcript


Downloadable Extras


What You'll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • The critical differences between succeeding in academia and succeeding as a professional analyst, including how to break the bad habits you develop as a student
  • The four things you must bake into every piece of analysis to satisfy your skeptical customers
  • The different types of value your analysis offers customers and what you should always strive to provide
  • The two most important skills every analyst must have
  • How to profile your customers to better understand and meet their specific needs
  • The three elements of expertise required for success as an analyst
  • How to think about uncertainty, ambiguity, and anomalies
  • The key elements of an effective analytic argument
  • How to build strong, productive ties with your fellow analysts and avoid the pitfalls that can taint professional relationships

Course Content


  • Why This Course?
  • Who Am I?  
  • Being a Student vs. a Professional Analyst  
  • Your Relationship With Your Customer

Defining Success as an Analyst

  • An Aspirational Definition of Success (Part 1)   
  • An Aspirational Definition of Success (Part 2)  

1. Know Your Role

  • The Purpose and Value of Analysis  
  • Your Missions  

2. Be Objective

3. Become a Strong Writer

4. Become a Strong Briefer

5. Always Be Timely

6. Know Your Customer

  • Tailor Your Approach
  • Gauge Their Expertise
  • Customer Profile Worksheet

7. Be the Expert

8. Develop an Analyst’s Mindset

9. Remember Analysis is an Argument

  • Make and Support an Argument
  • Beware the Focusing Effect of Your Argument

10. Treat Analysis Like a Team Sport


  • Closing Video
  • Tip Sheet
  • Course Evaluation

Meet Your Instructor

Dr. Chris Savos

Dr. Chris Savos is dedicated to helping analysts everywhere build great careers.  In addition to developing courses for Proficiency1, he designs and delivers unique in-person leadership, analytic, and professional skills training programs to a range of clients in the Intelligence Community and the private sector.

Chris has extensive experience as an executive manager, leader, and analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he worked for 22 years and earned the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Agency’s highest award for career service.  Chris successfully led analytical units that covered sensitive issues in the Middle East and South and East Asia. He was also the CIA’s first Lead Talent Officer for the Directorate of Analysis and oversaw talent management and development programs for the Agency’s analytic workforce.

Chris knows what makes analytic products work, what causes them to fail, and how to teach analysts to improve their writing. He has reviewed thousands of products as a leader of analytic units at the CIA and many more as an analytic writing instructor since leaving the Agency.

Chris earned a BA in government from Dartmouth College and a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. You can learn more about him at

Chris Savos

Try a sample lecture

An Aspirational Definition of Success

This free lecture is part of the JTG Proficiency1 course Analysis 101: Strategies for Success as an Analyst by Chris Savos.