Analytic methodologists with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are responsible for developing and applying analytic methods within the process of intelligence analysis and collection. Analytical methodologists often support CIA analyses in a number of areas, including:
- Operations research
- Geospatial modeling
Analytic methodologists are also often called upon to communicate their findings to members of the Agency through the production of written intelligence products or through verbal presentations.
The Job Description of an Analytic Methodologist
Unlike traditional specialists who embark upon a lifelong career of studying scientific processes in a specific discipline with a practical purpose, analytic methodologists do not specialize in a specific topic; instead, they are the masters of research and analytic methods.
For example, analytic methodologists in the medical field work as epidemiologists, while in the education field they work as program evaluators. In many fields, analytic methodologists serve as research methodologists or statisticians. Whatever the field, these scientific professionals are responsible for problem solving and discoveries.
The primary focus of an analytic methodologist is to select a process (or multiple processes) in which they research and analyze data. The entire process, from the collection of samples to the tools used for data analysis, is determined by the analytic methodologist. From there, the CIA analytic methodologist serves as an in-house consultant for how the data is processed, how the patterns of the data are recognized, and how the results are used to solve problems within the domain.
Unlike experts in their domain, analytic methodologists often serve in advisory positions and are therefore called upon to validate the method of discovery for their discipline. These CIA professionals are not concerned with the content of a specific study, but only about the research methods and data analysis techniques used in the study.
The expertise of analytic methodologists may be narrow in some fields and quite broad in others. Regardless of the field, however, all methodologists must be experts at the process within their own disciplines. In many instances, methodologists are used to overcome biases and, as such, they often serve as in-house consultants for analytic teams. Their work may allow them to generate new methods of intelligence analysis, modify and/or improve existing methods of analysis, and serve to promote the discipline of intelligence.
How to Become an Analytic Methodologist with the CIA
The minimum requirements for becoming an analytic methodologist with the CIA includes being a United States citizen and possessing an advanced degree or highly qualified bachelor’s degree in a field related to:
- Computer programming
- Mathematical programming
- Survey research, design and analysis
- GIS/remote sensing
- Operations research
Only applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (out of a 4.0 scale) qualify for analytic methodologist jobs, and competitive candidates often possess higher GPAs, extensive and relevant experience, and strong communication skills, both verbally and in writing. The most desirable candidates have a strong interest in international affairs and the willingness to work within a team environment.
Chosen candidates must complete a medical examination, a psychological exam, a polygraph examination, and a comprehensive background investigation.