As digital crimes increase aggressively, computer forensics job prospects also increase with it. Computer forensics examiners have become popular mostly because of the notorious breaches that have happened in recent years. Although computers were initially known for being implemented to commit crimes, forensics has now become the norm to capture perpetrators who believe their footprints to be untraceable when committing certain crimes.
How does computer forensics work?
Computer forensic investigation typically follows the normal digital forensic phases or methodologies, including acquisition, investigation, preservation, analysis, and presenting facts and information about digital evidence. The evidence gathered from computer forensics investigations are normally exposed to the same practices and procedures of other digital evidence.
The target of the computer forensics approach is to identify, preserve, analyze, and report information on computer systems that may be used as evidence in a civil or law court. For instance, the FBI uses IT experts to acquire critical evidence in their investigations and these crimes can be simple as cyber theft, hacking, bank fraud, phishing attacks, ransomware, or cyber espionage.
Every computer forensic investigation is unique. Some investigations may take months to complete, while others can be completed in a week. All these are dependent on factors such as the expertise of the IT professional, the amount of storage the investigator must sort through, the number of computers being examined, the presence of passworded files or encrypted files, and whether the malicious attacker tried to delete or hide information.
Is Computer Forensics a good career?
There is a high demand for expertise in computer forensics. Following the increasing reliance on the internet and computer technologies, computer forensics has become a significant part of business and law and a very lucrative career path.
As digital forensics continues to mature, so will the processes and methodologies used to support an organizations’ recovery from cyber-attacks. Computer forensics job plays a significant role in an organization’s disaster recovery approach from a cyber-attack. Recovery can start to play out when forensics processes are carefully and properly followed in the aftermath of an attack.
The input of computer forensics in criminal investigations is only going to increase in demand since the necessity for support in recovering information that can be tapped as evidence is getting more challenging for law enforcement agencies. Moreover, this growing field demands IT professionals, or cybersecurity professionals, who are experts at this type of data recovery for law enforcement and corporate settings.
Having expertise in this field is not only a critical demand but also one that improves the efforts of law enforcement with IT expertise and techniques to solve court cases and make an actual difference.
Computer forensics job salary
According to PayScale, the average salary for a computer forensic analyst is $73,892. Similarly, Salary.com suggested that the median salary for an entry-level forensic computer analyst is $64,091. This salary is determined by a number of factors, including experience, skill, education, employer, forensics job description, and the location of the job.
What is the highest paying forensics job?
You should always remember that the amount paid is determined by your level of education, experience, certifications, locations, among other subjective factors. The following are some of the highest paying forensics jobs (in no particular order).
1. Forensic Engineer
You should consider being a forensic engineer if you really want to earn an upper-level salary in this field. According to the Payscale, those who work as forensic engineers can expect to earn a median salary of 83,395 USD.
2. Cybersecurity Analyst
According to Payscale, the average salary of a Cybersecurity Analyst with forensics skills is $82,038 per annum. While the entry-level salary for this position is estimated to be close to $65,000, an experienced Cybersecurity Analyst with over 10 years of experience can earn an average of $126,000 per annum.
3. Forensic Accountant
Since several crimes involve money laundering and complicated transactions to cover up illegal activities, this is where forensic accountants and auditors come to play. According to Payscale, the median salary for a forensic accountant is $ 68,115, which can also rise to a salary of $116,000 depending on varying factors.
4. Forensic Computer Analyst
You may want to become a forensic computer analyst if you want to work in any criminal justice department. In this role, you’ll apply the skills and knowledge you gained to handle computer hard drives and storage devices to analyze user patterns, using different computer programs to recover information from destroyed media devices and prepare detailed reports after running computer analysis software applications, among others.
According to Payscale, the average Forensic Computer Analyst with forensics skills salary is $73,851 per annum.
5. Information Security Specialist
For this role, you will need a bachelor’s degree in any forensics-related course, or you will need to become a certified forensic interviewer. According to Payscale, the average Information Security Specialist with forensics skills salary is $133,192 per annum.
How to Start a Career in Digital Forensics
About EC-Council’s CHFI Certification Program
The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification program offered by EC-Council aims to validate the candidate’s competence in identifying an intruder’s footprints and also accurately gather all the relevant evidence needed to prosecute the perpetrator in the court of law. The certification program will cover the different types of computer forensics programs and imparts the core skills for data recovery that includes detecting hidden data residing in a system and retrieving deleted, lost, damaged, or encrypted data. It also recommended that one possesses basic network defense skills or IT or cybersecurity experience before pursuing a career in digital forensics.
Visit our course page for more information.