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How to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst

Forensic computer analysts use their analytical skills to investigate data breaches, security incidents, and criminal activity. Forensic computer analysts are highly important in society, as they assist with examining and analyzing digital data that can be presented in a court of law.

In this guide, you will learn how to become a forensic computer analyst, and what makes the career path appealing in the fast-growing tech industry. It will include information about courses, coding bootcamps, vocational schools, and more.

What Is a Forensic Computer Analyst?

A forensic computer analyst is an expert who investigates cyber crime such as data breaches, security incidents, and other online criminal activities and computer-based crimes. They can work with the government, law enforcement, law firms, and corporate and private investigative organizations.

These digital forensics professionals retrieve encrypted or erased data from computers, mobile phones, and other computer devices. Upon retrieval, they analyze and restore this information to its original state. This recovered information can then be used in legal cases or for criminal investigations.

Forensic Computer Analyst Job Description

A forensic computer analyst’s responsibilities depend on the field they are working in. Their duties may include collecting crime or incident information, securing access to digital devices, accessing encrypted or deleted data, or analyzing data to further investigate incidents and cyber crimes.

Forensic computer analysts write reports on their findings, testify in court about data found in their investigations, and analyze data to further investigate incidents and cyber crimes. They can also unlock digital images to identify a person or place, examine data from mobile devices and satellite navigation systems to locate people or places, and so much more.

Forensic Computer Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of a forensic computer analyst is $103,590 in the United States. Getting an entry-level job as a forensic computer analyst requires a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Computing, Computer Security, or any related field.

Having previous related experience is also preferred. To maximize your chances of career advancement, you should be familiar with the same industry standards and procedures that information security analysts follow. According to BLS, the employment of all information security analysts is projected to grow 31 percent between 2019 and 2029.

Top Reasons to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst in 2021

There are several reasons why you should become a forensic computer analyst in 2021. They earn a high average salary, and with our rising dependence on technology, there are many available jobs. Below are the top reasons why you should become a forensic computer analyst in 2021.

  • High job demand. Technology is constantly evolving, which makes cyber crime an ever-growing problem. This increases the demand for forensic computer analysts.
  • Wide array of job opportunities. A forensic specialist can work in any corporate, investigative, legal, or government job. You can also work as a freelancer after gaining experience in the field.
  • High salary, even for newbies. According to PayScale, the average entry-level salary of a forensic computer analyst is $63,144.
  • Low competition. Few people work in the forensic computer analyst field, which means there is little competition. You can easily land a good job if you have the proper credentials and skills.

Forensic Computer Analyst Job Requirements

To get a job as a forensic computer analyst, you need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. There are also different certifications available to help enhance your skills in the field. These certifications show potential employers that you have vast knowledge in the field and are the best person for the job.

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. To qualify to work as a forensic computer analyst, you must get a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Forensics, or a related field.
  • Professional certification. Entry-level forensic computer analysts are expected to demonstrate a basic level of competency. To do this, you can pass the CFCE exam and become a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner.
  • Experience and additional certifications. After working in the field for a while, you’re going to want to upskill and make sure you meet any special industry standards for your level of experience. The Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) certification, for example, requires candidates to have previous experience in the field and to pass a test.

Types of Forensic Computer Analyst Careers

The field of forensic computer analysts is vast, with a wide variety of job opportunities waiting for anyone looking to start a forensics career. Read below for more details on some potential job paths a forensic computer analyst might take.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts design and implement computer security systems to protect a company’s database from cyber attacks. They formulate innovative solutions and security measures to prevent unknown people from gaining access to important information.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts ensure that an organization’s computer systems are serving its goals. They work with other staff members in the organization to locate the strengths and weaknesses of their computer systems, so they can be improved upon.

Malware Analyst

Malware analysts are forensics professionals that are responsible for looking into and identifying cyber threats, such as viruses, worms, bots, and rootkits. Any of these can infect systems with harmful code and cause them to malfunction.

Forensic Computer Analyst Meaning: What Does a Forensic Computer Analyst Do?

A forensic computer analyst is responsible for examining and retrieving information from computer systems and databases for private firms and government organizations. They also participate in investigations and give detailed reports to law enforcement officers. Some of their duties are detailed below.

Secures Devices and Systems

Forensic computer analysts are responsible for securing access to electronic devices, systems, and network equipment that may carry digital evidence related to an investigation.

Identifies and Tracks Data Trails

As part of an investigation, digital forensics experts must link suspects with co-conspirators or accomplices by identifying and following data leads.

Writes Reports and Presents Findings

Forensic computer analysts have to write reports about their findings to present to their colleagues or a law enforcement agency.

Essential Forensic Computer Analyst Skills

There are certain skills that a forensic computer analyst must have to excel in the forensics field. Once you gain these skills, you will be ready to perform the necessary tasks in an entry-level job.

Knowledge of Information Technology

To be a forensic computer analyst, you must have an interest in and vast knowledge of information technology. You must also be up to date on recent advances in the tech world and be familiar with all computer operating systems.

Analytical Skills

Computer forensic analysts should have analytical skills, and be able to interpret complex information from multiple sources to determine effective solutions. They should also be able to predict how their decisions will affect companies and their projects in the future.

Problem-Solving Skills

Forensic computer analysts must be innovative in finding solutions to a wide range of IT issues. Keep in mind that this skill set can be more intangible than some others. Thus, for every job you apply to, you should figure out the best way to list problem-solving skills on your resume.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst?

Most forensic computer analysts spend four years getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or other IT field. Many then proceed to get a master’s degree, which could take another year or two. The duration of your education is dependent on the educational path you choose.

In addition, you might want to earn certifications to increase your chances of succeeding in the field. You can obtain these certifications after you have already secured your first job. Forensics certifications, like master’s degrees, can be earned in between one and three years.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Forensic Computer Analyst?

Yes. Enrolling in a cyber security bootcamp is a good way to make a headstart in your forensics analyst career. Bootcamps equip students with the necessary skills to enter the tech field and provide career services to help students prepare for the job market and increase their chances of landing good jobs.

The best bootcamps for forensic computer analysts will offer cyber security courses and train you in advanced coding languages necessary for IT security. The program could take between three to six months to complete. Bootcamps also provide financing options to make it easier for students to afford tuition.

Can I Become a Forensic Computer Analyst from Home?

You can become a forensic computer analyst from home if you enroll in an online bootcamp that teaches cyber security and IT skills. All you need is a computer and a home workspace to enhance your skills and make progress toward a rewarding career.

How to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

Below is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to start a career as a successful forensic computer analyst. Several factors could determine your success in the industry, so you will want to carefully consider each of these steps.

Step 1: Establish Your Interests and Take Preliminary Courses

The very first step is to ensure you have a genuine desire and interest to work with IT and digital technologies. You can then take standalone STEM courses to build your academic background before applying to a college, university, or bootcamp.

Step 2: Enroll in a Training Program

The next step is to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in computer science, computer engineering, computer forensics, or cyber security. If you can’t afford to spend four years in college, look into what it will take to join a cyber security bootcamp.

Step 3: Obtain an Additional Degree or Certification

You can choose to get a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security or Digital Forensics after your bachelor’s program, or you can go for a certification. Either option will enhance your skills and make you more hirable in the field. Most organizations have certification preferences, so you should research the most valued certifications in your city.

Step 4: Apply for Jobs

Once you have the right forensics degree and certifications, begin to identify potential employment choices in your area and apply for jobs. Apply for an entry-level position that matches your skills, qualifications, and career path.

Best Schools and Education for a Forensic Computer Analyst Career

There are various educational options available to those who want to be forensic computer analysts. The one best for you will depend on your goals and how much time and money you are willing to invest. Below is a list of some educational pathways to choose from.

Forensic Computer Analyst Bootcamps

Bootcamps are a good option to start a career in this field. They train you in the tech skills necessary to excel in the industry and help you gain the soft skills needed to navigate the job market. Some bootcamps also offer job assistance, or even a job guarantee, to ensure that you are hired upon graduation.

While some bootcamps don’t require any previous experience in computer science to study cyber security, you might find it helpful to have some previous knowledge in the field. The duration of these programs varies depending on the bootcamp, but they usually take between three months and nine months to complete.

Vocational School

A vocational school is a kind of trade school that specializes in training you in the skills needed to practice a particular task or job. The schools provide full training in a particular field to equip students with the knowledge needed to succeed.

A vocational school specializing in computer and information technology can train students in the digital skills needed to become forensic computer analysts. These schools focus more on technical training and hands-on experience than other types of education. They may require previous experience or knowledge, and programs typically last for less than two years.

Community College

A community college is also commonly known as a junior college. Its two-year programs offer high-quality education that can be used as a prerequisite to a four-year degree. A completed two-year degree at a community college is called an associate degree.

You can apply to a community college to learn the basics of forensic computer analysis and transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree. This option also helps to save a lot of money, as community colleges are cheaper than universities.

Forensic Computer Analyst Degrees

There are degrees related to forensic computer analysis at various education levels. You can get a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Cyber Forensics, Computer Security, Digital Forensics, Computer Forensics, Cyber Security and Information Assurance, or Cyber Security.

These degrees differ based on the university, but all tend to focus on preparing you for a career in forensic analysis. Having a bachelor’s degree in any of these programs will teach you the technical skills needed to start a career, prepare you to take certification exams, and widen your employment opportunities.

The Most Important Forensic Computer Analyst Certifications

Like many industries, forensic computer analysis has certifications that prove that you are highly skilled in the field. These certifications are highly valued by employers and will give you a competitive advantage in the job market. They will also help you to enhance your skills as an analyst. Below are some of the most important certifications in forensic computer analysis.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This license by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) will assess your professional aptitude to work in many IT fields. To get this certification, you have to take an exam to measure your cyber security knowledge and a general understanding of computer science and IT. There is a quick practice quiz available that you can take before the real exam.

Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)

The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) offers this forensic computer examiner certification (CFCE). Candidates must pass a two-phase examination that covers the primary and elementary responsibilities associated with this occupation.

GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)

GIAC stands for Global Information Assurance Certification. Candidates who pass the GCFA exam demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct formal incidents investigations and handle advanced incident scenarios, such as internal and external data breach intrusions, advanced persistent threats, and anti-forensic techniques used by attackers.

As part of the GCFA certification, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in the use of computer systems for data collection and analysis.

How to Prepare for Your Forensic Computer Analyst Job Interview

To land a job in the field, candidates have to be prepared for a job interview. You will be expected to have IT skills, understand computer architecture and networking, work well with different teams, and be able to write detailed reports. You’ll want to show relevant experience, as well as analytical and investigative skills, critical thinking, great communication skills, and attention to detail.

Forensic Computer Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What operating systems do you use?
  • What are some security issues related to the cloud?
  • What are some tools used to recover deleted files?
  • What is a form of simple encryption often used by intruders or criminals?
  • How do you stay up to date on current cybersecurity trends?

Should I Become a Forensic Computer Analyst in 2021?

Yes, you should become a forensic computer analyst in 2021 if you have an interest in IT, cyber crime, and digital forensics. There are several strong reasons to start a digital forensics career, such as high job growth and salaries.

With the necessary knowledge, education, and skills, you can land a good job in a law firm, the private sector, law enforcement agencies, or with a government agency.


Can You Become a Forensic Computer Analyst Without a Degree?
You must have either a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. If you don’t have your bachelor’s, you may be able to satisfy the requirements by attending a bootcamp and getting certified. You can get a bachelor’s degree in any IT, cyber security, or digital forensics field.
Is It Hard to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst?
It isn’t hard to become a forensic computer analyst. With the right qualifications, knowledge, and skills, you can land a job as a forensic computer analyst with a good company.
How Do You Become a Forensic Computer Analyst?
To become a forensic computer analyst, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree or enroll in a bootcamp in an IT or cyber security-related field. Afterward, you can obtain a certification to give you an edge when job hunting.
Is Computer Forensics a Good Career?
Yes, computer forensics is a good career for anyone with an interest in cyber security, investigations, or any IT-related field. With the right skills and qualifications, you can land a high-paying job in this career. According to PayScale, the average salary of a forensic computer analyst is $74,720.
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