Published: 05 Feb 2013
MI5 Intelligence Analysts play a vital role at the heart of British intelligence. To learn more about what the role involves, we spoke to some of the analysts at the organisation’s HQ in London.
What does the role involve?
Simon*: The fundamental thing is understanding how you can use your analytical skills to add value to an investigation. There are so many opportunities – the chance to work alongside counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, surveillance and agent running teams, among others.
Ajay*: Analysts have to be excellent problem-solvers with a creative mindset. It’s about getting under the skin of the data and making a judgement call. You can’t use pure stats to back up a decision, you need to be objective and apply logic to reach a conclusion.
What impact can your work have?
Nicola*: What we do helps to inform key decisions. The stakes are high – our work often changes the course of an investigation, and ultimately our assessments help protect people and places.
What’s the environment like?
Simon: Our analysts are very motivated and find data genuinely exciting. They enjoy work, it can be very fast paced and exciting, and the organisation really values expertise. There is a good work-life balance here, and the vast majority of work can be done in a normal day.
Ajay: The organisation is made up of extremely intelligent, capable and friendly people who support each other 100 per cent. We’re all working to the same end goal and people are happy to help each other out.
What training do Intelligence Analysts receive?
Nicola: I was supported for six months by a dedicated mentor, an experienced analyst who helped me learn how to use new analysis tools “We’re working to the same end goal and are happy to help each other” In association withand software. It gave me confidence. The vast majority of the time I was involved in real investigations, which was daunting, but exciting.
What happens at the end of those six months?
Ajay: The first day I began working independently of my mentor was a big deal. I’d learned so much and it was great to have the freedom to put it to good use. But the best things is you never stop learning. You can never know it all. That’s exciting and humbling.
*For security reasons we have used assumed names in this article.