STEM JOBS

EARLY SPRING 2018

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STEMJOBS.COM // EARLY SPRING 2018 7 "FOLLOW THE CAREER GUIDANCE POSTED BY THE AGENCY FOR WHICH YOU WANT TO WORK, AND TAKE THAT GUIDANCE SERIOUSLY." JAMES COOPER * INTELLIGENCE ANALYST DEGREES: BACHELOR'S IN ECONOMICS, JURIS DOCTORATE (LAW DEGREE) YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 14 STEM TYPE: EXPLORER SJ: What advice would you give to high school students who are interested in a career in intelligence/criminal justice? JC: Follow the career guidance posted by the agency for which you want to work, and take that guidance seriously. They require certain degrees, years of experience, security clearance requirements, etc.—take that as gospel and follow the path. There are many, many applicants and you have to check all the boxes just to have a chance. Also, if it's required, get your foot in the door at some other position and work your way to the job you want. In our agency, many agents, analysts, computer scientists, etc. started off in administrative roles. While the reality of life inside the FBI might not match the drama portrayed on the small screen, it does provide those with STEM skills opportunities to make the world a safer place. If you are looking for a career that can impact millions of lives, the FBI is hiring. STEM JOBS: What sparked your interest in pursuing a career with the FBI? JAMES COOPER: After 9/11, I became interested in national security affairs and started exploring if there was a fit for my skills and interests in various U.S. government agencies. SJ: What type of education is needed to be qualified for your position? JC: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requires at least a bachelor's degree in one of several disciplines listed on our agency's website. However, most of the skills needed to perform the job are learned on the job and developed through additional experiences. SJ: What experiences did you have that were the most valuable on your path to your current career? JC: The experiences that were valuable were growing up in a Pittsburgh neighborhood that encouraged involvement with other people and trying new things, pursuing a degree in economics which required studying diverse subjects, learning how to be self-reliant in my education during law school, and learning how to deal with people of various skill levels while working as an information technology (IT) generalist after law school. SJ: What is your current role, and what all does that encompass? JC: I am an intelligence analyst. The role is closely involved in FBI operations. I analyze data to develop assessments to drive FBI investigations. Typically, this analysis requires creative ways to evaluate various types of data, distilling that analysis into judgments, and conveying those judgments in formal and informal written or verbal communications. SJ: What STEM skills are required in your job? JC: My job requires broad capability to manipulate data (spreadsheets, databases, basic scripting, complex searches) along with interest and knowledge of current technologies in order to identify relevant data sources. SJ: What professional accomplishments are you especially proud of? JC: Successfully developing criminal indictments on significant foreign cyber actors. Also, assisting personnel new to cyber in developing skills which augmented their other capabilities and enabled them to become even higher performers.

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