First Things First
Before we tell you how to get a job in intelligence, let’s make sure you even want one. Most are attracted to the intelligence community because of it’s fast paced nail-biting movie depictions, and that’s fine; but if you want a lasting career in intelligence analysis, you need to get past the superficial intrigue and be happy with the desk job that it really is for 99% of the time.
Intelligence analysis is a research job, pure and simple.
If you’re not a researcher-at-heart who loves digging through stacks of information, don’t go through the arduous process of getting involved in the intelligence industry. Because that’s another thing, it’s very competitive.
So, what do you do?
The primary point of intelligence analysis is not to defeat current threats.
Instead, it is to foresee, prepare for, and prevent tomorrow’s threats.
So, your subject of focus won’t necessarily be a matter of public interest. You might not work on terrorism. Then again, you could end up working on something like IS counter messaging!
Still reading? This is where you can get a job:
In Australia, there are two primary organisations responsible for intelligence services: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the more aptly low profile Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).
ASIS and ASIO are looking for people who are reliable, stable, intelligent and lateral thinkers. People with language skills, particularly Arabic or Asian languages, are sought after.
The ASIS is Australia’s overseas secret intelligence collection agency. Their mission is to protect and promote Australia.
They are looking for people with degrees in these areas:
- Research and Analysis
- Asian Studies
- Governance and Public Policy
- International Development
- International Relations
- Political Science
- Security Studies and Counter Terrorism
- Social Science
- Computer Science
- Data Science and Analysis
- Graphic Art and Design
- Information and Technology
- Information Systems and Management
- Software Engineering
You can apply for their graduate program in your final year of university.
Or, if you are 100% sure that you want to end up in counter terrorism:
(Image) Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria’s northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic “caliphate” after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq.
Here is a list of universities that are offering specific counter terrorism and cyber security courses:
Most who take this path enter into graduate programs and work for government departments. Others will end up working for the UN, the Red Cross and other NGOs across the world.
But also, a large numbers will work in the private sector for companies that are deeply involved in understanding the new security landscape
For example, intelligence, counter-terrorism and extremism are hot topics for giant accountancy firms, because they do consultancy work for governments dealing with the whole range of modern security issues, including environmental problems, migration of refugees, warfare, cyber security, terrorism and the economic effects of globalisation.