The internet has 64,000 GB of traffic every second. That also represents limitless ways for modern criminals to hurt others in the digital landscape. To combat cybercrimes, organizations will seek out a computer forensics analyst to limit the damaging effects cybercrime can have.
If you enjoy a challenge, this role will keep you engaged. The types of crimes are expanding, and so are the organizations who are being affected. You will tackle everything from phishing, identity theft, and hacking, to terrorism and sex crimes. All in a days work!
The pay for an important job like this is great. The income for a cybersecurity candidate holding a bachelor’s degree can be upwards of $88,000. That is 76% higher than the average earning of a bachelor holder in the USA.
Unsure about what you would do day to day? You work could require retrieving evidence after a crime. This oftentimes means viewing highly sensitive documents and media. For this reason, complying with security checks is commonplace.
You will research criminal activities, malware, and those who are responsible. Once you have data from past crimes, you will use it to spot risks for future crimes. When you find something, you will be expected to present your intelligence reports or discovery of new threats.
Most of your time will be in front of a computer. You will be asked to secure digital devices so that they cannot be tampered with. You can also be asked to follow digital data trails to find suspects or link groups with their communication.
Important work like this will require you to be mentally sharp, and test you in every way. It can seem very heavy at times, but the victories make it all worth it.
The skills for digital forensics jobs are balanced between hard and soft skills. First, you must have proven technical expertise.
You will need to be able to work with:
- Computer Forensics
- Network security
- Operation system security
- Data recovery
- Information Security
- Network-based attacks
- Network intrusion detection and prevention
- Malware Analysis
- Malware Engineering
The role of a forensics computer analyst is not an entry-level job. You will need to plan a professional journey that can often take around seven years. The first step is to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Degrees in computer science, digital forensics, computer forensics, or computer security transfer best. Any of these areas of study will prepare for the next step of becoming a computer forensics analyst.
The next step is to continue deeper into the field with a Masters program. This gives you specialized expertise. You will become even more valuable to employers.
Where to Work
The biggest employers are Government offices and Law enforcement agencies. These places will usually have openings. Legal professionals also will need help to find data with evidence for their cases.
Modern businesses all have something at stake online. As companies begin to become more digital, they will experience the need for your skills.
Becoming the Best Candidate
Your technical “hard” skills are key. Great candidates will support these foundational skills with softer skills.
Recruiters will look for organizational skills that you will use to manage their resources and priorities. Your attention to detail will also be examined. This demonstrates your alertness and professionalism.
Recruiters want the best person for the team. Your ability to anticipate what should or could happen next will show that you’re forward-thinking. The information you gathered has to be passed on. Your presentation skills will be very important. Along with presenting, your writing and general communication skills will help set you apart. Lastly, you have to excel at teamwork. You will need to cooperate and research together with others. You should be able to assist and contribute to a collective effort.
To further show that you are the best candidate, you will want to seek to be certified. Certifications show that you are up to date in your field and that you are committed to improvement.
Many job listings require that you have at least one certification. This isn’t recommended for new graduates though. If that’s you, then work experience and pursuing a Masters should be main priorities.
The most commonly requested certifications are:
- GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
- GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst
- EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE)
- GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner
The field of forensic computing has a lot of options for upward mobility. There are entry-level careers that feed perfectly into becoming a computer forensics analyst. Here is a list that shows what opportunities are available, and how to identify them:
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Become a Computer Forensics Analyst
Cybercrime cost the world $600 billion in 2017. Much of the increase can be attributed to easier access to technology. The growing losses and threats put a forensic computer analyst in high demand. The cybersecurity field is expected to grow by 37% within the next ten years. Now is a great time to begin
Have you decided if this is right for you? Imagine being able to have experiences like this:
“I am inherently nosey; I am always poking around and finding things. It’s what I love most about my job, that and seeing attacks all over the world and tracking the attacker groups. It could be China one week, Russia the next.”- Gavin O’Gorman, principal threat intelligence analyst at Norton
At the end of a career, we’d all be proud to have a few stories like that.
Not sure what to do next? We can help. Come see our career roadmap to help you decide your next move in pursuing a career in cybersecurity.