Monday, February 13, 2017

2017 Entry-level Analyst Hiring Report For US Intel Community Is Out!

(Ed. Note:  This majority of this report is based on a survey of individuals within the US National Security Intel Community that have direct or significant indirect knowledge of hiring plans for the next year with regard to entry-level analysts (only!).  We took the survey after the election but before the hiring freeze.  Right now, we are hearing a lot of confusion regarding the freeze but we think it is likely that it will end or, at least, be better defined before the end of 2017.)

Executive Summary
Despite the recent presidential election and concerns over a federal hiring freeze, it is likely that overall hiring of entry-level intelligence analysts within the US Intelligence Community (IC) will increase over the next 12 months. Cyber intelligence hiring is highly likely to significantly increase, while other specific positions are likely to either increase or remain the same. Results of a survey of hiring professionals within the intelligence community taken after the election but before the freeze varied on if the election of President Trump will positively influence hiring, providing no definitive conclusion. Finally, results disaggregated by only respondents with direct hiring knowledge show slightly more caution, but support the estimate of increased hiring

Superstar grad student Ross Hagan compiled the report.  For all of his findings with all the charts and data, go here!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Intelligence In Business Is Booming! Afraid Of Missing Out? Here Is The Conference For You!

Intelligence In Business (as opposed to Business Intelligence...) is growing in virtually all sectors.   From competitor to security to supply chain to regulatory/compliance to strategic analysis, the need for more analysts is obvious everywhere you look.

It is with this in mind - and the changing skill set it implies - that Mercyhurst will hold a one day virtual symposium called Issues And Opportunities Across Industries on 21 MAR 2017 beginning at 0800 EST.  Conducted in coordination with the association of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals, the symposium will feature speakers from companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Ernst and Young and Erie Insurance.

Professor Shelly Freyn, the Program Director for Business and Competitive Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University wants the conference to appeal to a broad range of interests and industries:
"This symposium is designed for any organization that is doing research and intelligence. We have tried to bring in speakers that could discuss the hot buttons that firms are facing from internal training of analysts to being secure in an interconnected world and the Internet of Things. We also will feature several strategists and their take on intelligence with insights applicable to any industry."
You can register here and the early bird cost is $50 (good until 1 MAR 2017).  The funds will go to support the symposium, of course, but is also a fundraiser for the Mercyhurst students to provide them an opportunity to attend the annual SCIP conference and continue to network and learn in the business community.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Another Color Of Hope: A "Choose Your Own Adventure" Intelligence Training Game

Click to play Chapter One of "Another Color Of Hope"
I have played around with "choose your own adventure" (known formally as "interactive fiction") gamebooks before but it is a real pain to do manually. 

Enter Twine.

Twine makes it dead easy to create interactive fiction.  It keeps track of virtually all of the administrivia that makes writing these type of books so difficult.

I recently used Twine to create the first chapter of a training game that I have been thinking about for the better part of a decade called Another Color Of Hope.  Without further ado, click on the picture to the right (or the link above) and it will take you to the game.

(Oh!  And in case you were wondering, I'm not going to tell you what I am trying to teach - 'cause that's part of the game!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How Many Entry-level Analysts Will The US IC Hire In 2017? (Survey)

Good question, right? 
If you have direct knowledge of information that might help answer the question in the title or you have indirect knowledge that is relevant to the answer to the question in the title, please take 2 minutes to complete this survey. 
What do I mean by direct and indirect knowledge?
Direct knowledge means that you know personally or have good information concerning the hiring plans of your agency or organization (or at least your section or division).  You might work in HR or be a manager with hiring responsibilities. 
Indirect knowledge is information that is relevant to the question that is not due to your direct responsibilities.  You might have spoken with an HR manager or have been involved in meetings where this issue was discussed. 
We are NOT looking for opinion based on purely circumstantial information.  If you are not involved in the hiring process either directly or indirectly, please DO NOT take this survey.  Please DO forward the survey to someone in your organization who IS involved in hiring.

Why are we interested?

Every year, other disciplines announce hiring projections for the year:  "This year's hot jobs are for engineers and chimney sweeps."  That sort of thing.  Entry level intelligence analysts who are searching for a job, on the other hand, receive no such guidance.

We hope to change that.  Working with one of our hot-shot grad students, Ross Hagan, we put together this survey to get a better feel for the the job market for entry level analysts for the year ahead.

Once we get enough survey data, Ross will compile it and combine it with the macro-level, mostly qualitative data that we already have and put together a "jobs report" for the year ahead.  I will publish it here once we are done.

We understand that there are some legitimate security concerns here so we have tried to frame the questions such that they are focused on broad developments and general trends.  We are not interested in the kind of deep details that might compromise security.

Finally, we intend to follow this study up with similar surveys of the law enforcement and business job markets for entry-level intelligence analysts as well.

Thanks for your participation!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What A Difference Data Makes! (ENTINT)

The Workingman's Cake - Launching OCT 11 on!
Entrepreneurs typically have as much, if not more, need for intelligence as large corporations.  Much of what new companies deal with is outside of their control while still being highly relevant to their eventual success or failure.

While the need for intel is there, the means for good intel often is not.  Few intel firms cater to the needs of the very small start-up and it is often up to the entrepreneur to come up with answers about those "critical to my success or failure but outside my control" kinds of issues.

We recently experienced exactly this kind of question in a project I am working on for Mercyhurst's Quickstarter program.  Kathy Fling owns a small baking company called Delectabites and she was looking to find a flagship product that she can ship nationally.

After many months of research, experimentation and product testing (always the best part when working with a baker!), she settled on a square cake with the icing injected into the middle in 9 separate spots (9, count 'em! 9!).  You get icing in every bite and it is easy to ship.

We taste tested it in offices, cafes, on the shop floor and in small businesses around Erie.  We gave these cakes to road workers and sheet metal workers and nurses.  Kathy is an amazing (and fully licensed) home baker.  Everybody who tried this cake, loved it.  We knew we were on to something.

But what to call it?

We went over a million different options.  We wanted to send a signal that this was not your average piece of cake, that it was cake for real people who had real things to do with all the flavor of something lovingly made at home without any of the frills - a cake for the working man (or woman!).

Our first name, then, was "The Workingman's Cupcake".  It was like a cupcake with cake and icing but better.  You could pack it in a briefcase or express ship it across country.  You got the joy of eating a homemade cupcake without the mess, the bother or the expense.  It was revolutionary!

Then the feedback started rolling in.  It wasn't "really" a cupcake.  Maybe people wouldn't think the name was nearly as clever as we thought it was.  We (= Kathy, me and the Project Manager, McKenna Schneider) needed to test this and, with our launch date (11 OCT) on Kickstarter quickly approaching, we needed to test it fast.

Fortunately, Google Forms provides exactly this kind of capability.  Free with a Google account, it is a perfect way to do some quick comparison tests.  We came up with what we thought were the best alternatives to The Workingman's Cupcake and with a few clicks, we had a survey.  With a few more, we had sent it out to our various networks.  161 responses (about 48 hours) later, we had our answer - The Workingman's Cake in a landslide  (Click on the image to the left to see the full results).

I know that there are more complex ways to dissect this data.  I know that by moving so quickly, I may have missed some opportunities to extract more meaning from the data I did get. I am a big believer, however, in Douglas Hubbard's approach to data - any data is better than no data and you often need a lot less data than you think to substantially reduce uncertainty.  While surveys certainly aren't anything new, it is interesting to see that this approach can work and work well for entrepreneurs.

Oh, and in case you are interested in where this story is going to go next, you can follow along here!