What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear that someone is a spy? Fast cars, handsome men, tuxedos? And what if I told you that in reality, some spies don’t even use guns, that they actually have to keep a clean track record and attend a good university?
Although in movies being a spy seems like a dream job (for some of us it really is!), my advice is to do some research before deciding to pursue this career.
I’ll be honest: when I first decided to become a spy, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But it turned out to be even better than I expected. My life has always been exciting, full of ups and downs, just like it should be. By becoming a spy, I didn’t just choose a career. I chose my life purpose, my lifestyle.
So before you embark on this journey, make sure you read this article first because today I’ll teach you how to become a spy in real life.
Who Is a Spy?
As a real-life spy, I used to gather confidential information from sources I don’t have authorized access to. I operated with a set of tools and standard procedures that sometimes required me to pass off as various professionals from a technician to a gambler, manager, or security guard. And I confidently say that anyone from any field of endeavor can become a spy with the right training and tools.
Spies obtain information using myriads of skills, techniques, strategies, and real spy gadgets. Language skills and cultural orientation are sometimes of vital importance in a spy’s line of duty.
But while there might be some quirky moments and spy-movies worthy movements, I can tell you straight up that the life of a spy most times entails basic routine with normal interactions. You might have to spend more time reading through and analyzing information, interviewing informants, or briefing your superiors about current affairs.
In many instances, spies enlist dissidents and sell-outs in the target organizations or government agencies as their informants.
A real-life spy can work for just about anyone who wants to gain access to information through deception, from government agencies to competing companies, and even private individuals. Their mission is to uncover truths about just anything, from technological advancements to terrorism, corruption, and infidelity.
They might be obliged to probe and uncover just about anything that poses a threat to their employers’ interest, from the size and strength of enemy forces to breakthrough technologies, and research findings.
How to Be a Real Spy?
Depending on the level of spying you want to operate in, you need to acquire certain qualifications and skills before you set sail on a spying mission. If you’re going to be an amateur spy who’s spying just for fun, you don’t need much training or equipment.
But if you want to work in the big leagues to spy for top government agencies like the CIA, you need to be prepared for a very rigorous qualification process. Either way, here are all the steps involved in becoming a spy in general.
Laying the Groundwork
As in most work fields, the first requisite for becoming a professional spy is a university degree. If you don’t already have one, you should enroll in a major degree as your first major step towards becoming a spy. Most organizations that train and hire spies require an undergraduate degree
Any choice of major can do, but you should choose one that’s highly sought after and that you’re also passionate about, from law to economics, international affairs, political science, etc. Advanced degrees are a plus, so you can opt for a Master’s degree to increase your chances of becoming a first-rate spy.
As an international spy, proficiency in foreign languages will come in handy now and then. You also need to sign up for at list one or two foreign-language programs to become fluent in any foreign language of your choice.
Estimates from the U.S. Department of State suggest that it takes an average of 2200 class hours to achieve proficiency in a new language. In top spy agencies like the CIA, proficiency in a foreign language or two is not just optional; it’s a requisite.
Taking on a Pro Spy Role
With the preliminary requisites in place, you can now venture out to spy roles in real life. Depending on your interests and ambitions, you can apply to become a spy for various organizations that recruit spies. If you’re gunning for a top government agency like the CIA or Homeland Security, you can start by filling out their online application forms.
To apply to the CIA:
- Go to the CIA’s official website and navigate to the Clandestine Service Page. You’ll find generic positions relating to spy missions, including collection management officers, staff operations offices, targeting officers, etc. You can choose up to four desirable positions.
- Create your account on the CIA website and then fill out the application form on your member site. The required fields relate to your background, expertise, education, certifications and licenses, military experience, language proficiency, etc. You have three days from the date you signed up to fill out the application form and turn it in.
- After completing the application form, save a printed copy for yourself because you won’t access it from your member account three days after the submission date.
Adapting to the Life of a Spy
If you’re accepted by the CIA or any top spy organization, you’ll be put through a rigorous training regimen to prep you with all the skills necessary. Like in spy movies, your spy missions will be fraught with dicey situations where your safety may be at risk (‘danger zones’), and you always need to be prepared for the unknown.
You’ll need to acquaint with real spy gadgets to aid your safety in dangerous situations, including transponders, spy software, hidden microphones, cameras, and other recording devices, binoculars, drones, and lots more.
You also need some mental balance to help you remain stoic in the face of whatever disturbing revelation you might stumble and anything that’s thrown at you. You also need psychological training to be able to blend in with the company of strangers. You need to learn how to maintain your calm and control your nerves to avoid raising suspicion.
To come off with a convincing impression, you need to stay level-headed, focused, calm, and collected at all times because someone might just be watching you with suspicion. And if you notice someone is watching you, an abrupt reaction can worsen things. You need to be more subtle in your reactions and not give into surprises.
Your communication and psychological skills are critical to your ability to diffuse tense situations. When faced with a dicey situation, remain calm and collected, and try to access your contingency options. You can choose to walk up directly to the suspecting parties and try breaking the ice. Doing so will most likely put them at ease and create more wriggle room for you.
How to Be a Spy at Home?
Perhaps you don’t have high-profile security clearances, investigation backgrounds, a history of service in the military or law enforcement, etc. that makes you a good cut for a spy role in a top spy organization. You’re probably content to spy on the home front and beholden to protocols and stealth that characterize a spy’s life.
If that sounds like you, here’s a quick guide to becoming a good amateur spy at home without paramilitary training.
First, you need to get acquainted with the qualities and attributes of a good spy. For starters, spies need to be smart, highly informative, and agile. You need to get smart. Start by learning a bit about everything, and then continue building on the things you know while also exploring new things.
You don’t need to become a master of all trades, but you should have as many skills as possible, even if they’re rudimentary. It can also help if you read nonfiction spy and espionage literature. You’ll find good literature on various spy techniques, methodologies, and concepts.
By becoming well-versed in many subjects and spy techniques, you’ll find it easier to hold pretentious conversations without raising suspicion. For instance, if you’re caught snooping around people’s private space, you can quickly find an excuse and talk about something else less critical in the space.
Like in one instance, my target walked in on me as I was shuffling through his reading table during a house party. Once I told him that I was drawn by a wildlife magazine on their reading table because I’ve been going camping frequently and want to learn more about protecting myself.
Having a deep repertoire of knowledge can also help you sustain conversations with people as a pretext to lead up to answers you’d want to elicit from them. You also need to get creative, so you’ll get people hooked to a conversation while you hatch your spying plans.
Your memory needs to serve you well in various situations, so you need to amp your memory as much as you can. Try using various memory improvement techniques like chucking, mnemonics, rhymes, etc. You also need to learn how to become a smooth liar to lie in situations without getting caught.
You should also learn to be sharp and introspective. You’ll need to learn to pick up cues from unlikely places because people can let their guard down every now and then and leave important cues behind.
You also need to keep fit to cope well with the rigors of spying that you might face. You might have to remain on your feet for hours to eavesdrop on a conversation, or to trail someone. And in rare, dangerous situations, you might have to wrestle your way out or overcome physical obstacles.
In your line of duty as a spy at home, you still need to use sophisticated techniques and technologies. Here are some of the essential techniques:
Hiding in plain sight: As a spy, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Try to learn about the mien and atmosphere of the environment you want to spy in beforehand. This will help you blend in with the environment and pick nondescript surveillance posts. Get real-life spy gears and disguises if necessary.
Master the eavesdropping art: As a spy at home, eavesdropping is a handy technique that will come in use now and then. You can learn to pick up on conversations while pretending to be carried away by other things like a pair of headphones, a magazine, or your smartphone.
Lip reading: Another vital skill that can help you pick up on cues, lip reading is something you can easily learn through free online courses. Lip reading allows you to eavesdrop out of earshot. You can use a pair of binoculars or camera lenses to zoom in on the lip movement while trying to decipher the spoken words.
Tailing People: In some instances, you might need to tail your targets away from home when you suspect they’re heading somewhere suspicious. In such cases, you need to learn how to plan your own movements and have backup plans if something goes wrong. For instance, you should always look out for distractions to help you move out of sight if your target looks around, suspecting they’re being followed.
Stealing like a pro: In your quest to uncover hidden truths, you might need to take something as evidence or useful cues. For instance, you might need to steal a gift from a secret lover as evidence of your spouse’s infidelity.
Working in the dark: On many occasions, you might need to operate in the dark, and you should be well-prepared for those moments. Train your eyes to work in the dark by purposefully engaging yourself in dark rooms. Soon enough, your eyes will adjust to pick up the faintest rays of light in the dark.
Try to Use Apps to Spy
As a seasoned spy, I can confidently tell you that one of the most expedient ways of becoming a spy without much training and expertise is using a spy app like mSpy. With the vast range of functionalities available on smartphones, many people literally live out their smartphones. With the frequent use of smartphones, they live behind data trails to pick up on using a top-draw spy app like mSpy.
With one of the most advanced spy apps like mSpy, you can get real-time access to just about every activity carried out on a target phone, from text messages to calls, browsed web pages, groups, and private posts on social media platforms, etc. You can also deploy a keylogger to track and understand every key pressed on the target phone. This alone can help you put together a complete picture of the target’s daily activities.
With the mSpy app, you don’t need real-life spy gears, lip-reading skills, or high creativity, or gutsiness. You simply need to download the app on the target phone and begin viewing all their smartphone activities on your phone at the convenience of your couch.