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Civilian Entry Level Intelligence Jobs

Mar 14, 2018

Many of the jobs in intelligence require a high level of expertise and credentials. Civilian entry-level positions do exist in this field though, include the diverse positions detailed here. Find out about key career statistics and job requirements.

The job of collecting military intelligence comes in many forms, but is essentially about gathering information to support other soldiers. The civilian careers on this list are great options for those looking to gain experience before applying for a military intelligence position, as well as those leaving the military and starting a career as a civilian.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary, 2016* Job Growth, 2016-2026* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Interpreters and Translators $46,120 18% Language skills, interpersonal skills
Computer Support Specialist $52,160 11% Computer skills, minimal knowledge of coding, troubleshooting skills
Cost Estimator $61,790 11% Data analysis skills, strategic thinking skills, investigative skills
Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer $25,840 6% Reconnaissance experience, physical fitness, knowledge of weapons and hand-to-hand combat
Surveying or Mapping Technicians $42,450 11% Surveying skills, ability to handle large datasets

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Entry-Level Intelligence Jobs in the Civilian Workforce

Personnel with military intelligence jobs are responsible for the background effort that goes into the successful completion of missions. This work involves the collection of data on wartime scenarios, the topography of the area, and the local culture utilizing a variety of research methods. Jobs in intelligence are as varied within the civilian workforce as they are within the armed forces. However different these options are though, each one is about collecting data and supporting a third party, which are clear characteristics of intelligence work.

Interpreters and Translators

One of the most common jobs intelligence personnel have is to work as an interpreter and translator in foreign lands. These individuals get to know the locals and their customs, thereby creating a bridge of communication and information between the US military and the place they are occupying. Service members with language skills can also utilize this aptitude by translating chatter. Civilian translators and interpreters work for many different organizations, including schools, hospitals, private businesses, and the government. The work often has variable hours, and many translators work from home. Although many employers prefer that their applicants have a bachelor's degree, the most important qualification is being able to fluently speak the necessary language.

Computer Support Specialist

An advanced knowledge of technology and computing are crucial to success in the intelligence field, where deep network surveillance and advanced technologies in aviation, weaponry, and robotics are becoming more integral every year. Working as a computer support specialist is a great way to get into the technology and computing industry without having to earn a bachelor's degree. Computer support specialists provide answers to customers who have questions about or are having problems with their computer. Creative troubleshooting and patience are required to excel in this position. Computer support specialists typically have an area of expertise in a specific product, database, or network. The level of education they need depends on what this area of expertise is, and ranges from professional certification to a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Cost Estimator

Intelligence work often involves collecting, cataloging, analyzing, and interpreting large datasets. This is also a big part of what cost estimators do. Individuals in this field are responsible for gathering information on everything that will be used in the construction of a building or manufacturing of a product, calculating the costs of all materials and labor, and making suggestions for reducing the bill. They must be organized, keeping meticulous and massive records, as well as investigative, ensuring that they discern all the factors that may affect cost. A bachelor's degree is necessary for most cost estimator positions; however, individuals with years of construction experience should qualify for these jobs without one.

Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer

Some intelligence positions require service members to survey areas looking for hostile parties and explosives. In many ways, security guards and gaming surveillance officers do the same thing, but under less dangerous circumstances. They protect the peace by enforcing the laws and detaining perpetrators, as well as controlling who enters a building and what they bring inside. Through frequent scanning of an area, security guards and gaming surveillance officers further maintain a safe environment. The training for these jobs happens at work, and most positions require individuals to have a high school diploma, although some employers do not even require that.

Surveying or Mapping Technician

A large part of military intelligence work in foreign lands involves the mapping of topography. Having this knowledge allows the military to move through an area more strategically and confidently. A job as a surveying or mapping technician is a great way to use skills in this field. Surveying technicians go to sites and take photos while utilizing the proper surveying equipment. These photos are then used by mapping technicians to create accurate topographical maps with all the necessary landscape features included. A high school diploma will be enough to get a job as a surveying technician; however, an associate's or bachelor's degree could be necessary to become a mapping technician.


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