What Does an Intelligence Analyst’s Job Look Like?

Being an intelligence analyst is an exciting career path that requires critical thinking and an analytical mindset. You’ll play a key role in decreasing both physical and digital threats at home and abroad. If you’re thinking of becoming an intelligence analyst, you might be wondering what a day on the job looks like. Depending on your specific role and the company where you work, a day on the job might include one or more of these assignments.

Gathering Critical Information

Intelligence analysts are some of the most thorough researchers out there. In this role, you will be tasked with finding out as much as possible about the subject assigned to you. Collecting this information can take many forms: fieldwork and interviewing, location searches and computer research to compliment your work in the field. Once you have completed your research you will then compile it into a report to share with your company so they can take the necessary next steps.

Data Analysis and Threat Assessment

An intelligence analyst’s job relies heavily on data collection and analysis to pinpoint potential threats in their home country and in countries across the world. You’ll be looking at details related to geography, historical events and statistics, and putting all the puzzle pieces together. With this information, you’ll build a more complete understanding of risks to determine what details are beneficial, and what information is misleading or not considered a threat. Your data analysis and threat assessment work could be used to improve intelligence, reconnaissance or surveillance efforts, monitor for foreign computer network operations or deploy technologies for countering cyber attacks.

Crisis Management

When it comes to intelligence analysis, ensuring everyone at your company knows how to respond properly to threats is a critical part of the job. In this function of your role, you might build, maintain and update crisis management plans and protocol. You might also organize exercises to train others at your organization on the importance of crisis management to make sure the threats you can’t anticipate are handled before they get out of control. You will also gather data about the state of your company’s crisis management solutions and present your findings to your team.

Being an intelligence analyst comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, but it is also an incredibly rewarding career path with the potential to make a positive impact not just on your own country but around the world. By having a clear idea of what to expect from the role, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success and land the job you want.

Types of Jobs in the Aerospace and Defense Industry

There are a range of job opportunities within the aerospace and defense industry, many of them targeted toward those with a strong aptitude in science and math. If you have a passion for aerospace and defense, odds are there’s a way to channel it into an exciting, fulfilling career. The challenge is deciding what path is right for you. To test out different careers within this industry, consider taking a paid or unpaid internship during college to get first-hand experience, build up your skillset and get you closer to figuring out the best aerospace and defense entry-level jobs to apply for.

Here are some of the most common jobs within the aerospace and defense industry.

Aerospace engineer

In this role, you’ll be working on military-grade vehicles and systems that can hold up during battle on land, at sea and in the air. Aerospace engineers typically have a background in areas like mechanical and systems engineering, design, structural analysis, and propulsion. Within the field of aerospace engineering, you could specialize in assignments like flight tests, mission systems or airframe structural analysis and design.

Systems engineer 

As a systems engineer, you’ll be responsible for building technology with a wide range of uses, from collecting threat information to protecting infrastructure to monitoring the climate. Data will be at the center of your job, and you’ll often work with software development teams to build software that helps improve aircraft function. You’ll also find ways to better analyze and interpret recorded data.

Electrical engineer

As an electrical engineer, your team will be be responsible for designing and building electronics for spacecraft, aircraft or helicopters. In this role, you could work on improving systems for airspace management, surveillance, satellite communication and navigation. You might also focus on the use of alternative energy sources within the aerospace and defense industry.

Flight inspector

In this role, you’ll be responsible for keeping your company’s essential aerospace and defense systems running smoothly. Your job will be part maintenance and part anticipating and solving potential risks before they become problems. In short, your work will provide critical support for all of the game-changing technologies being built at your company.

Mechanical engineer
As a mechanical engineer your work will improve a range of technologies, including robots, engines, heat transfer systems and controls for aircraft and spacecraft. You’ll research, plan, design, develop and test new systems that span a wide range of aerospace and defense applications. At Lockheed Martin, mechanical engineers have been behind both the Hubble Telescope and the Phoenix Mars Lander. That means, your work will have far-reaching applications and contribute directly to the future of the aerospace and defense industry.

Quality assurance engineer
In this role, you’ll be responsible for ensuring every piece of technology and every process created by your company is as best as it can possibly be. You’ll work to meet and exceed quality requirements and come up with even better ways to improve the performance of everything your company builds and does. Your focus might be on software, systems, service, manufacturing, hardware or program management quality.

If you’re interested in working in the aerospace and defense industry, you have a wide range of career paths to choose from. To ensure that you pick a position that’s right for you, it’s important to figure out where your interests lie and to pursue a role that you’re passionate about. Whether that ends up being a flight inspector or a mechanical engineer, the skills you’ve developed in school and during any internships will definitely help you shine.