Getting a job in any area within the cybersecurity field can be extremely challenging as a lot of employers seek experience with a wide range of tools. Computer forensics is not much different as there is not one specific toolset a digital forensics analyst should have, but they also need a digital forensics certification, experience, and training.
Computer forensics jobs exist in all levels of government and the private sector. It does not matter how big or small a company is, if a security incident compromises PII or PHI, computer forensics plays a major role in the investigation. The forensic data analyst might be charged with analyzing either a single computer or hard drive or an entire network, depending on the severity of the incident. Digital Forensics Analysts may end up working odd hours just like a regular detective that solves a homicide. Computer forensics investigators may be called to a crime scene to perform an immediate investigation based on the severity and urgency of the case.
Industries hiring Digital Forensics Professionals
5 Common tasks of a Digital Forensics Analyst
One of the most important things a Digital Forensics Analyst must follow is a chain of custody. When a proper chain of custody is followed, any evidence found can be used in a court of law to help the case. To put it another way, the evidence presented in court is the same evidence seized at the crime scene and that it was, at all times, in the custody of a person designated to handle it and for which it was always accounted for. This helps rule out any tampering with evidence.
Here are 5 other common tasks that a Digital Forensics Analyst might perform:
- Advising on the availability and reliability of digital evidence
- Working with investigators to acquire digital evidence through onsite and virtual searches
- Conducting examinations of digital evidence and preparing evidence for trial
- Conducting interviews and taking statements concerning computer evidence
- Supervisors will also train other investigators and stay up to date on current events in the industry
8 Skills needed for computer forensics
As mentioned before, a certified forensic examiner requires an array of skills to excel in this career field. Here are 8 common skills needed to be a Digital Forensics Analyst:
- Knowledge of Various Technology
- Digital Storage Devices
- Computer Operating Systems
- Computer Programming
- Malware Types
- Ethical Issues regarding Data
- Legal Issues regarding Data
- Ability to learn new things
- Analytical Thinking
- Critical Thinking
- Communication Skills
- Problem-solving Skills
The average salary of a Digital Forensics Analyst
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2018 median pay for a Digital Forensics Analyst was $98,350 per year or $47.28 per hour. This can depend on whether the forensic investigator is salaried with a company or if they solely do contract work.
The lowest 10% earned less than $56,750, while the highest 10% earned more than $156,580. The experience needed can be less than 5 years, but it depends on what the employer needs. If they don’t require a lot of experience, they may want to bring in someone fairly new and train them on their equipment using their procedures. A lot of government clients pursue this method. Employers like to see candidates with at least a Bachelor’s and may substitute experience with the level of required degree.
The job demand for Digital Forensics Analysts is expected to rise by 32% from 2018 to 2028. This is most likely due to the increasing demand for cloud services and Artificial Intelligence. To be prepared for what’s to come, employers recommend going through a digital forensics course such as EC-Council’s Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) Certification. With more companies adopting cloud infrastructure, the threat landscape is constantly evolving, further increasing the demand for the sharpest minds to investigate security incidents and bring the adversaries to justice!