cyber security careers

Forensic Computer Analyst Jobs

Forensic computer analyst jobs… did you know?

Cyber crime is all around us. It’s your job to investigate computer-based crime. Hacking, child abuse, spies and politics… your work isn’t always pretty, but it’s VERY important. The computers we use every day need to be kept crime-free, and you can uncover mysteries that other detectives would find impossible to solve.

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Forensic computer analyst job trends

How much money can you make as a forensic computer analyst?

£20,000 to £60,000

Recent labour market information says you can earn between £20,000 and £60,000 a year as a forensic computer analyst, which is a specialised form of IT/digital analyst.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a forensic computer analyst will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

There are three ways into this career – do a university degree, apply for an apprenticeship, or get on-the-job training while you work.

Whichever route you take, you’ll normally need five GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, or their equivalents. Your GCSEs will need to include English and maths. You may also find it useful to include a science or technology subject.

If you want to do a degree or higher apprenticeship, you will also need two or three A-levels or their equivalent.

Some course providers or employers will let you use equivalent level qualifications.

University and degrees

You can study for a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in areas like

  • Forensic computing and security
  • Cyber security
  • Computer science

See Computer Forensics World for more info on how to become a forensic computer analyst.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

You can apply for a range of digital apprenticeships to get your foot in the door and earn a salary while building up the skills, knowledge and experience you need to go far with this career.

As an example, you can apply for:

  • Cyber security apprenticeships (including some at degree level)
  • Infrastructure technician advanced apprenticeship (one year)
  • Data analysis higher apprenticeship (two years)

Career progression

With time and experience, you can progress from an apprenticeship or junior role into a more specialised analyst or security role. You can move into forensic computer analysist from the following roles, with further training:

You could then go on to become a senior analyst leading a team, a head of security or a security consultant who is self-employed and advises all kinds of top-level clients.

What experience do you need for forensic computer analyst jobs?

Work experience

It can help your application if you have previously done work experience or volunteering in a digital environment, especially if involved working with computer networks, operating systems, software, data analysis or security.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Year-long industry placements on a sandwich degree course

Volunteering and extra-curricular activities

Having a keen interest in digital software and how computers do things is important in this career, because you’ll need to stay up with the latest tech trends to keep up with hackers and other cyber criminals.

Extra-curricular activities could involve:

  • Learning about computer network administration (like firewalls)
  • Setting up and looking after operating systems like Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • Building up your programming and web development skills (e.g. hosting your own WordPress blog could help you see if you’ve got a taste for exploring what goes on behind the websites that users see!)

What skills do you need for forensic computer analyst jobs?

What life and work skills do you need to be a great forensic computer analyst?

Useful skills to highlight and develop in this career include:

  • Self-belief skills – it takes trial and error to catch criminals, because cyber crime never sleeps. So you need to have the confidence to persevere and keep on top of the latest trends.
  • Good communication skills and teamworking skills – you’ll be working as part of a team, keeping everyone in the loop about what you’re doing. Sometimes you may have to keep a positive attitude as you’re faced with horrendous crimes or working hard to catch a criminal before they strike again.
  • Good problem solving skills – as a forensic computer analyst it’s your job to research data evidence, and you could face all kinds of problems, from locating the source of a hack to getting evidence from a computer that someone has tried to destroy! You need a creative approach as well as a logical one.
  • Good organisation skills – You need a logical approach to what you do, and your work will consist of lots of data analysis and breaking big problems down into manageable chunks. Good organisation will help with this.
  • Self-management skills – you’ll often receive training from your employer, but it’s up to you to have a keen interest in all things digital and have the passion to top up your skills.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

Start building these skills right now – sign up for free Young Professional training.

What does a forensic computer analyst do?

Where could you work?

  • Police force
  • Government
  • Security services
  • Bank
  • IT firm specialising in computer security

What could you work on?

  • Industrial fraud
  • Online scams
  • Hacking
  • Political or business-related espionage (spying)
  • Terrorist communications
  • Possession of illegal pornography

What could you do?

  • Securing IT systems or hardware so criminals can’t tamper with them
  • Finding, recovering and copying data from disks that have been hidden, encrypted or damaged
  • Analysing mobile phone communications to trace devices
  • Following digital data trails to link people or groups
  • Documenting everything you do
  • Cleaning digital images to reveal the identity of a person or place
  • Presenting your technical findings to managers, the police or clients
  • Giving evidence in court as an expert technical witness.

Your first steps into forensic computer analyst jobs

Forensic computer analyst jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Cyber security apprenticeship
  • Junior cyber security analyst
  • Junior security content engineer
  • Junior cyber intel analyst
  • Junior threat researcher
  • Junior Incident Response Analyst
  • Junior forensic computer analyst

Jobs you might also like...

View job descriptions with estimated salary, useful qualifications and a variety of routes into this career (because degrees are not required for every job). Or see our full list of careers in protective services!

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