How to Get Started as a
Forensic Computer Analyst
Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant
How significant is the growth of cybersecurity jobs in the 21st century? According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, information security analyst job opportunities will grow by 31 percent by 2029. This is significantly higher than the national average, and it means that similar jobs will grow as well.
If you want to enter cybersecurity and you’re interested in forensics, you should become a forensic computer analyst. You can enter this field in just four years. Use our guide and learn how to become a forensic computer analyst in 2021.
What Is a Forensic Computer Analyst?
A forensic computer analyst is in charge of examining and retrieving information from computer systems and databases. Investigation and results from forensic computer analysis are used to evaluate legal processes, discover digital evidence, and help law enforcement detect cyber crimes.
How Does Forensic Computer Analysis Relate to Data Science?
Computer forensics specialists need access to database tools for their work. An average worker review analyzes and retrieves data for investigations, suspect references, computer systems, and presentation of results.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst?
Most digital forensic analysts start with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology, a process that takes four to five years. This depends on the school, program, and schedule.
Then, it is advisable to get a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security or another specialized degree to detect and prevent cyber attacks. This stage can take a year and a half to two years. If you complete both paths, you will spend six to seven years preparing yourself academically to be a computer forensic analyst.
Where to Study Forensic Computer Analysis
The program type you choose depends on your goals. The bigger your goals, the more time you will need to invest in your academic preparation. Educational options in the United States can vary in price, duration, and benefits, so choose one that suits your resources and availability.
Below is a list of educational options to help you become a forensic computer analyst.
Forensic Computer Analyst Community Colleges
The first option is a community college. In these two-year institutions, you can get an associate degree. This will help you learn the fundamental tools and concepts you will use as a digital forensics examiner. It allows you to start your path toward a specialization in cybersecurity. In addition, you will be able to apply for entry-level jobs.
Forensic Computer Analyst Universities
Many companies hire employees with college degrees. For this job, you should get a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a topic like a computer science or information technology. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to obtain.
After completing the bachelor’s degree, you can get a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security. This stage of approximately two years helps you gain specialized skills in the field. According to PayScale, forensic computer analysts with a master’s degree earn about $87,920 a year.
If you want to increase your professional level and improve your resume, consider a doctoral degree. This is one of the highest titles you can obtain in academia. With this degree, you can become a university professor and participate in research. A professional with a Ph.D. in Cyber Security earns an average salary of $176,874, according to PayScale.
Forensic Computer Analyst Bootcamps
Bootcamps are another excellent option to study for a short time and learn about the tasks of a forensic computer analyst. These schools teach you many skills in the tech industry and help you get a job.
It is recommended that before starting a boot camp, you should be familiar with computer science and IT. You can learn cybersecurity in many schools. The programs are inexpensive and take three to six months. Code Fellows, a coding and cybersecurity boot camp, reports that 93 percent of its graduates work in careers related to this field.
Forensic Computer Analyst Online Courses
A course also helps you improve your general computer and forensic investigations skills. These short courses do not give you the credentials to get a job. However, you can learn the tools and systems necessary to work in the field. Courses can be free or very low in price compared to more advanced programs.
How to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst A Step-by-Step Guide
One way to be successful as a forensic computer analyst is to analyze the step-by-step processes of today’s professionals. If you want to start your career in this industry, you must pay attention to the determining factors to succeed and be a skilled worker. Follow the five steps below to get your first job in the field.
Evaluate your odds
Criminal justice careers can be demanding on new workers. Before starting your journey, evaluate your budget for tuition, the job outlook in your city, and the forensic analyst salaries in your city.
Enroll in a cyber security program
Academic preparation is essential to being a professional. Choose an institution appropriate for your resources and availability and complete the educational process.
Obtain a license
Some companies only hire forensic computer analysts certified by specific agencies and organizations. Before looking for work, check which groups offer these licenses and certifications.
Get a job
Once you have the right credentials, you can get a job. Insurance companies, government agencies, and law enforcement groups all hire these workers.
Improve your professional profile
The best way to achieve higher positions and better salaries is with years of experience. We recommend you start a master’s degree or courses in specialized areas.
Entry-Level Forensic Computer Analyst Job Requirements
Openings for entry-level forensic computer analysts require at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, you must handle advanced concepts of cyber security such as database management, hacking, cloud computing, and cyber attacks. Some positions also require one to two years of experience and completed projects.
Forensic Computer Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
Salaries and job projections are figures that you should always take into account. These statistics help you understand your chances of being successful in the industry. According to data from PayScale, a forensic computer analyst has an average salary of $76,984. These numbers depend on your place of work and experience in the field.
In terms of job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs related to computer systems analysis will grow by seven percent between 2019 and 2029, with about 46,600 new jobs. The BLS also suggests that information security analyst jobs will grow by 31 percent in this same period. Both of these numbers are above-average growth.
Example Forensic Computer Analyst Job Interview Questions
- Why do you want to work with this company?
- What tools and processes do you use to detect cyber crime?
- What cyber security projects have you worked on in the past?
- How can you collect digital data from a person?
What Does a Forensic Computer Analyst Do?
A computer analyst investigates suspicious digital activity and analyzes data to spot forensic evidence. The tasks of a forensic computer analyst may vary depending on their company or specialization. Most professionals in this industry have a similar schedule, so pay attention to the three primary responsibilities of a forensic computer analyst.
Protects Device Access
One of the fundamental tasks in this career is to secure a company’s confidential and private content. As a professional, you must create protection mechanisms for access to software, digital systems, and the company’s electronic devices.
Investigates Suspicious Activity
With your data analysis skills and cybersecurity tools, you will need to monitor suspicious activity on digital networks. You will use specialized equipment for these tasks, and you will have access to virtual and physical evidence to solve assigned cases and investigate computer systems.
You should constantly send reports of your results to the supervisors and case managers. Your tests and work are essential for the security forces. Therefore, this work requires transparency and professionalism. You should have good communication and presentation skills.
Essential Forensic Computer Analyst Skills and Certifications
To get a job as a forensic computer analyst, you must meet various professional requirements and have specialized skills and certifications. To know what you need for these vacancies, pay attention to the most in-demand skills and certifications in this career.
Forensic Computer Analyst Skills
This position demands an analytical mindset for investigations. Critical thinking will be an indispensable tool for solving cases and monitoring suspects. People who work in this area also need to know about psychology, laws, and judicial processes.
Writing and Speech
Communication is crucial to proving the facts. Remember that this work involves evidence, lawsuits, crimes, sentences, and other legal processes. Evidence can sometimes be used in court, so writing and speech skills are vital when submitting research reports.
This process involves many cyber security functions. These include cloud computing, data processing, hacking, database management, phishing attacks, password systems, and social engineering.
Forensic Computer Analyst Certifications
After graduating, it is advisable to start a certification process to validate your knowledge as a forensic computer analyst. Some companies require specific certifications based on the type of work. In this section, you will find out which are the three most valuable licenses for this career.
Certified Forensic Computer Examiner
The Certified Forensic Computer Examiner is a license created by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS). This process covers an examination of primary and elementary responsibilities for the career.
Candidates must pass two phases. The first is for review, so you must send reports and documents with practical exercises on forensic analysis tasks. The second stage is certification. You will take personalized technical and theoretical tests and an exam to receive the license.
Certified Information Systems Auditor
The Certified Information Systems Auditor is a special license created by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). This certification assesses your professional aptitudes to work in many fields of the computer system industry, including forensic analysis.
The certification consists of an exam, during which you must measure your cyber security, computer science, and IT knowledge. On the ISACA website, you can take a quiz to practice before your exam.
GIAC Network Forensic Analyst
The Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) created a certification called GIAC Network Forensic Analyst (GNFA). It consists of a complete evaluation of the professional profile for vacancies of cyber security and forensic analyst jobs.
The 50-question exam covers topics such as network architecture, network protocols, encryption, and encoding. According to GIAC data, 70 percent of applicants pass the exam.
Reasons to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst in 2021
There are many reasons to choose this career. First, you can work in the tech industry, one of the fields with the best growth prospects for the coming years. In addition, you will earn better salaries than many other jobs, with a probability of increase thanks to demand.
Another reason to be a forensic computer analyst is that you can study from home. Thanks to e-learning, you can access advanced educational resources, courses, licenses, and specialized content only with Internet access. You should become a forensic computer analyst in 2021.
Forensic Computer Analyst FAQ
How many people work in the information security analyst industry?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, approximately 131,000 people were working in occupations related to information security analysis in the United States.
How many hours per week does a forensic computer analyst work?
A forensic computer analyst can work about 40 hours per week. The schedule also depends on tasks, projects, company, and other factors.
Is it challenging to work as a forensic computer analyst?
This, like all criminal justice careers, can be demanding with responsibility, transparency, and time. This trade combines technical activities with mental, analytical, and problem-solving skills. The level of difficulty also depends on the company and the cases assigned.
What tools and programs does a forensic computer analyst use?
Currently, the market offers many systems for this type of work. As a forensic computer analyst, you can use programs and tools such as Autopsy, Encrypted Disk Detector from Magnet Forensics, RAM Capturer, FAW, and Forensic Investigator.