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Career Story: Program Analyst For The Federal Government

Program Analyst For The Federal Government

Job Title: Program Analyst

Education: BS, United States Naval Academy; MS in Naval Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ocean Engineer Degree, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Previous Experience: I worked on-site administering a major acquisition contract. I was then a program manager's on-site representative for a major acquisition. I spent several years as an assistant program manager in the headquarters activity. Then, I spent several years as the deputy director for platform design. I was also head of the field contract administration group for several years.

Job Tasks: My fellow government program analysts and I are responsible for developing independent cost estimates of major acqusition programs.

A full blown independent estimate takes several months and involves investigating technical and cost aspects of the program. Each estimate involves detailed interaction and visits with the government program office and the major contractors. Technical and programmatic risks are evaluated and folded into the estimate. For example, are schedules more optimistic than previous similar developments? How is this taken into account by the program?

I typically travel two to four times a month each trip wil last from two to four days. These visits are to government sites and contractors that are performing the major work on the program. These visits include cost, program and technical presentaions, as well as tours of the production facilities.

After the estimate is complete, it is peer reviewed then presented to our supervisors. After the internal reviews, it is presented to the program office and appropriate portions are presented to the contractor(s). Finally a presentation is made the appropriate decision makers to make sure the program is adequately funded. At the end, we draft a report that is ultimately signed out by our director.

I also get involved in very near term questions about some of the programs on which I have previously performed an estimate. An example would be if we agree with the program's requests to significant shifts, increases or decreases in funding.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is there is a continuous variety in our tasks and that we can frequently help the program office if we have seen similar issues in other programs. The worst part of the job is relying on other activities for data to support our analysis and estimates.

Job Tips: 1 - Build a solid technical background through education and more importantly through work experience in your chosen field.

2 - Stay technically current by reading journals and going to trade shows.

3 - Use your attendance at trade shows, conferences, as well as alumni organizations to maintain and build your professional network

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