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Policy Analyst

Influence the shaping of policies.

What does a Policy Analyst do?

Policy analysts are active observers of the political world. Though you’re not part of the legislative system yourself, you take careful note of and study all elements of new laws as they’re being developed. Typically you focus on one area of specialization, such as immigration or environmental policy. Every facet of modern life is touched by government policies, so you can specialize in almost any field that moves you.

Being highly motivated to investigate and study your chosen specialization is an important part of being a good policy analyst. Data gathering can be performed in the field, the library, or online. Though you typically have a desk in an office somewhere, much of your really important work is done out amongst the public, finding out how policy initiatives would affect the lives of people from all walks of life.

A 40-hour workweek is the base for a policy analyst, but don’t expect it to end there. Policy analysts study initiatives from many different angles—some have an eye for problem solving on an individual or small scale, while others focus on systemic changes. Whatever your way of thinking is, you can find a method of exercising it as a policy analyst.

Policy analysts can be found in government offices, lobbying groups, and nonprofit organizations. During the day, you work with your team, planning out an analysis strategy, but meetings and special events can run into the evening. You need to take direction from leaders and know how to work as part of a team towards a common goal.

Expect to interpret data on your own, present your findings to the group, and defend those findings, while still keeping an open mind to other viewpoints. Good oral and written communication skills are also necessary to share your findings via meetings, presentations, and reports.