By Kristina Lorch
As my summer internship at Praescient Analytics’ headquarters in Alexandria, VA comes to a close, I am more convinced than ever that technology-assisted data analysis is the future of private and public sector intelligence and growth. While some believe that these new technologies will render slices of the human workforce unnecessary in the coming years, my experience with Praescient has refuted this skeptical outlook on technology. My time with Praescient has shown me that trained, individual analysts will remain the fulcrum that enables both the synthesis of data from disparate sources and distribution of polished, informative intelligence products. Advanced analytic software programs are currently unable to interact with one another’s distinct infrastructures without human assistance. As such, analysts with both technical expertise and emotional understanding of the customer’s wants and needs are critical to the fusion of information and development of products.
To foster my own technical and analytic skills this summer, I have trained on a number of advanced technology platforms, such as Tableau, Analyst’s Notebook, and Recorded Future, and used these systems to produce insightful products for Praescient leadership and customers. Each system’s revolutionary analysis and visualization tools, as well as its versatility and applicability to a variety of industries and data sets, has allowed me to gain deep experience with technology systems that I, and any Praescient analyst, can apply to a breadth of trades.
My experience at Praescient has also been transformative and unique because of the people with whom I worked, the unfettered access I had to many of these advanced technology platforms, and the products I produced.
Praescient’s workforce largely consists of veterans and civilians with prior experience in national security, intelligence, and law enforcement. While all profit-seeking firms are arguably “mission-focused,” Praescient analysts and engineers’ previous work in these fields enables them to approach every contract and project with an eye to the big picture goals of our clients. Additionally, Praescient’s team has a rich toolbox of programs from which it can draw to conduct research for clients. While analysts in some organizations may be confined to one analytic platform or subject for the duration of their careers, Praescient’s analysts and engineers are highly skilled in more than a dozen platforms, which boosts creativity, agility, and speed in assessing mountains of data. And although I am an intern, I have been able to actively participate in this entire analytic process.
From developing and refining finished analytic reports for a variety of customers to producing a demo of my own, I have been given ample freedom to explore my interests in the intersections between national security and technology. I have learned so much this summer and am so grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to Praescient’s critical work.