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What does a Government Analyst do?

By Stephanie Partridge
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Government analyst is a blanket term used to describe a number of analyst jobs that exist within government agencies. Management analyst, program analyst, policies analyst, and research analyst are four such categories that fall under the purview of this job. The United States federal government uses the term to describe positions that may not be as simple to define as other positions that have a more set task list. State governments also have government analyst jobs, but the actual definition and duties can vary from state to state.

Generally speaking, an analyst gathers, records, and analyzes data that pertains to a specific agency, program, or project. They may track policy development or watch legislative movement within a particular field. They compile the information and use it as an advisory tool to counsel management on the effectiveness of operations, programs, and policies.

Many government analyst job descriptions are rather complex and vague in some respects. There may be a certain flexibility in job duties, or terms that are not very detailed. This is due in part to the landscape of the government, but it also stems from a complex, varied job description that evolves according to the project.

The knowledge base that the government analyst must possess depends upon the agency as well as the project terms. For agency programs or activities, the analyst must have a strong grasp of how those programs function. He or she should also know the agency policies, mission, and objectives, as well as management processes and principles.

Analysts should also be very strong in the areas of analysis, evaluation methods, and program assessing techniques. Depending upon the area of analysis, some may be required to possess and comprehend financial management practices or basic budgetary principles. Other analysts may work more with emergency management and will, therefore, have to understand that area.

A government analyst job can be very challenging and rewarding, particularly for those who enjoy being intellectually engaged and are highly analytical. Salaries for this position vary in the U.S. For entry level federal positions, they are typically grades 5 and 7. For more intermediate positions they usually start at around a grade 9 and can go as high as an 11 or more. The salary associated with that scale varies according to region.

The government analyst salary for U.S. state government jobs will vary from state to state and even from agency to agency. Each agency has its own set of criteria for the minimum qualifications of a government analyst. Accessing the agency website and searching for government analyst jobs is a good place to begin researching the various positions that fall within that realm, as well as job descriptions and minimum qualifications.

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Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Jan 27, 2014

For students who show a strong interest in politics and are good with analytical thinking, this sounds like a fascinating profession to explore. Though politics can be discouraging, people behind the scenes in such positions are the one that help to shape policies and programs that benefit people in everyday life.

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