Intelligence agent jobs and employment

When you think of working as an intelligence agent, the Mission Impossible movies come to mind and you may secretly dream about the action, investigations, unraveling huge conspiracy plots, but is it really that exciting? Perhaps not all the time, but you may have to hide your job title when you speak to friends and family in some cases. Several of the intelligence jobs are desk bound and entail more paper work than action, although some of the positions involve high risk work.

Apart from working as an intelligence agent you may consider a support job at your countrys secret services or national intelligence. These types of jobs include linguists who can translate foreign languages, communication officers, call centre assistants, technicians, network specialists, computer technicians, security officers, investigators, administrative personnel jobs, propaganda officers, and personnel or recruitment officers. If you still hooked on being a secret agent, you should at least understand what the job may entail.

Types of intelligence agents

An agent is normally a person who has the authority to act on behalf of an institution or person. The secret or special agent can also be called an intelligence officer or even an operative. In the secret services, a distinction can be made between the agent and the operative. The agent is hired from outside and reports to the operative who is a permanent employee of the agency. The terms can be very confusing, for instance, some operatives refer to themselves as agents, whilst others use the term operative. The secret or intelligence worker is one who works under cover or as part of a clandestine operation and thus keeps his or her relationship with the agency hidden.

The double agent is someone who acts as an undercover agent for one agency in another agency. An example would be where a person from one government infiltrates another country's agency and acts as if he is part of that countrys agency. He is thus a spy. This type of work carries enormous risk and if the double agent is caught by the country where he is spying, he may be imprisoned or even killed.

Another type of intelligence agent is called the sleeper. The sleeper is an agent who may be inactive for a certain period and then called to act on instructions. There is thus a delay in the espionage activity for some time. The provoker on the other hand is an agent who is instructed to join a certain group and then instigate illegal action that would bring the group in conflict with the police of a country.

Espionage
Working as an intelligence agent can involve espionage. You are then instructed to gather information about another countrys activities, their military operations or the secret agents. The type of information can range from financial data to personal information about politicians and even new military equipment. Despite the severe consequences of being caught as a spy, the international intelligence community sees espionage as a normal activity that takes place everyday and it is accepted that countries will appoint spies. Almost every country in the world has an internal and external intelligence division. The Central Intelligence Agency, more commonly known as the CIA in America is an example of external intelligence agency work. Russia has the KGB, while the UK has M15, and Canada calls its secret service the CSIS.

Purpose of secret services
The national intelligence agencies are needed to protect the citizens against clandestine and covert operations from other countries and internal sources. They also act to secure a countrys valuable information and prevent coups and the creation of instability within a country.

What is like working as an intelligence agent?
A career in the secret services is one overflowing with variety and the hunt for information. The intelligence workers perform inquiries, carry out in-depth studies, evaluate data, and organize the data into precise and informative reports on issues connected to state protection.

The type of the work carried out by the intelligence workers fluctuate according to projects, demands, and issues at stake. The employees come from a wide range of disciplines such as humanities, politics, criminology, natural sciences, economic related fields, to medical and even technical backgrounds.

Requirements for working as an intelligence agent
You need to have a thorough grasp of at least one foreign language, or if you stay in a country with several languages, you may be required to be able to speak at least two of the languages. A degree in any of the mentioned fields is normally a prerequisite. Thorough background checks are conducted and people with criminal records may find it hard to get in with the secret services. You have to be a citizen of the country where you apply to become a secret agent. A lot of traveling and relocation may form part of your job and you thus should be willing to relocate on short notice.

Training
You are required to be working as an intelligence agent for a set period. The probation period in Canada, is for example, a minimum of five years. Training is done through a number of workshops, courses and on the job training methods. Apart from this, you may also be required to get a post graduate degree in the field you work in. Employees undergo training in many areas including management, IT, GIS, criminology, investigations etc.

Salary expectations
The starting salary is not high during the probation period, but if you successfully complete training and gain enough experience while working as an intelligence agent, your salary will increase enormously.