Would you like to learn how to become a computer forensic investigator? Perhaps, you want to become one of the best computer forensic investigators under a prominent company in your country. Well, if your dream is to become the best digital forensics in a specific business company, then building up your foundation, including your skills and educational attainment, is a must.
Computer forensic investigators play an essential role in the safety protection and financial status of the public. As a forensic computer analyst who knows how to scrutinise and investigate crime scenes, you can help government agencies and businesses identify and neutralise cyber security threats.
With the rapid increase of cybercrime issues, computer forensics analyst tends to become in demand in these recent times. Indeed, the BLS or Bureau of Labor Statistics had projected that there’s an increase of 14% in forensic jobs in the next 10 yrs.
Cybercriminals could permanently deny their cybercrime acts. This is where forensic investigators or computer forensic professionals come in. Computer forensic specialists may gather clues that may tell the right and true stories within the crime scenes.
If you are ready to learn how to become a computer forensic investigator, start knowing its actual computer forensics jobs, the technical and soft skills requirements to become computer forensics investigators, the qualifications needed, and the average salary. By learning these things, you could set your expectations once you’re hired as a computer forensic analyst in any government or private sector.
What is Computer Forensic Investigation?
A computer forensic investigation is a process of gathering, scrutinising, analysing, and making some investigations on digital evidence and computer data. A computer forensic investigator, also known as a computer forensics specialist or forensic investigator, must earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science that deals with forensic analysis.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in line with a computer forensics career, then you could work within international, national, local, and state law enforcement agencies. You may also work in some accounting firms, law firms, and law enforcement agencies since these firms and agencies badly need some digital forensics examiners who can work under their agencies.
What Does a Computer Forensic Investigator Do?
Digital forensic experts are like detectives who try to solve crimes, including ethical and legal issues. These forensic computer analysts utilise forensic tools and effective methods in performing criminal investigations or performing digital evidence into legal procedures. The clues which these forensic investigators uncover can help in solving crimes that occur in these digital time-beings.
A computer forensic investigator is expected to do the following duties and responsibilities:
• Gathers digital evidence from USB drives, hard drives, computer systems, or other storage devices
• Utilises effective programs which analyse computer registries, mobile devices, computer files, internet, and emails
• Uses file viewers, both network & database type of forensic tools, disk, and captured data tools
• Recovers encrypted or deleted files like critical images and electronic documents
• Provides oral and written findings reports
• Investigates security data breaches while ensuring strong cybersecurity level
• Presents digital evidence to law enforcement, court, and to the company officials as well
These things are expected to be performed by any computer forensics analyst. By exceptionally doing those things, both government agencies and private companies can somehow analyse every critical evidence they need to solve.
What Technical skills are Required?
Both technical and computer skills are needed for you to become one of the best computer forensics investigators of a specific agency. Generally, computer forensic investigators work with digital storage pieces of equipment and computers. That’s why it is expected that computer forensics analysts have a deep understanding of the functions of forensic computing networks, which include topologies, network protocols, and others.
Aside from that, computer forensics specialists must have extensive knowledge of the use of various operating systems. With a firm grasp of these systems, computer forensics professionals can effectively uncover digital information and navigate different platforms and tools needed for criminal investigations.
Aside from computer skills, a computer forensics analyst can understand how software systems and computer hardware function. Moreover, they must utilise different programming languages like HTML, Python, Java, and some other codes. They are also knowledgeable in various digital forensic tools such as FTK Imager, EnCase, Xplico, and different kinds of software.
What Soft skills are Required?
To become a certified computer examiner who professionally works under software development companies, soft skills are also required. Here are the fundamental soft skills which you need to enhance or develop when planning to work as a forensic investigator:
- Communication Skills
A computer forensics investigator needs to prepare reports, findings, and summaries of information or data which a digital forensics analyst finds during the investigations. Legal firms and law enforcement agencies utilise these reports and results as digital evidence in their legal cases. That’s why computer forensic investigators must have strong communication skills — be it in oral or written type.
- Critical-Thinking Skills
Since a computer forensics investigator works on the investigation process of crime scenes, computer forensics analysts must also possess critical-thinking skills, which would help them solve cases and problems. These skills can help the National Security Agency and law enforcement agencies convert digital data into helpful information for criminal justice procedures and investigations. Forensic computer analysts can uncover deleted or hidden data from various types of storage devices with these skills.
What Qualifications are Required?
As a computer forensics investigator, high qualifications are expected to be met so that anyone can effectively perform the duties and responsibilities associated with this computer forensics career path. Here are the basic qualifications which you need to know if you want to become a computer forensic investigator under a government agency or any private sector:
With Extensive Knowledge in Professional Development
Professional development is one of the qualifications which the employers wanted for the applicants. In this way, an applicant is expected to perform growth and development for himself, affecting the while agency and organisation.
Has Professional Certification
Professional certification is another requirement and qualification if you want to become an experienced computer forensics analyst. You may want to consider a Global Information Assurance Certification that offers GCFA credentials in assisting and guiding professionals to specialise in their investigation and cyber security skills.
The certificates will serve as your advantage to become a GIAC certified forensic analyst who has the opportunity to work in popular organisations. A GIAC network forensic analyst awaits lots of options with the other digital forensics experts who work in forensic companies.
Knows How to Navigate Computers and Other Digital Storage Devices
As a computer forensics investigator, you must understand how to navigate computers, different applications, and other digital storage devices. Computer forensics analysts will utilise these tools and computer systems in doing criminal investigations, reports of findings, etc.
Has Wide Experience Related to Computer Systems
A computer forensic investigator or a forensic computer analyst must possess broad experiences related to the job itself. In this way, he can efficiently perform his tasks and retrieve data or digital evidence, which law enforcement officers can use to present investigations for the crimes.
Graduate of Specific Related Courses for the Job
If you want to become one of the best computer forensic investigators in a particular company, you should take courses related to digital forensics examiner jobs. You may choose a degree in computer science, computer engineering course, or even some other allied courses offered in different universities. A National Computer Forensics Institute offers some digital forensic types of systems with various experience levels. So, you may grab those opportunities and finish a computer science course that would bring you into your dream.
What is the Average Salary for a Computer Forensic Investigator in the UK?
The average salary of a computer forensics investigator is about $95,510. However, this numerical data may vary depending on the location and individuals’ skills as digital forensics specialists. If you’re a GIAC certified forensic examiner and with advanced knowledge, expertise, or skills who accurately adapt such emerging technologies, then you can even earn up to $153,090 every year.
At some point, the entry-level position as a forensic computer analyst or a security consultant who manages internet safety is around $58,762 per year.
Steps on How to Become a Computer Forensic Investigator
The exact career paths, location, educational attainment, and other conditional factors may affect how you become information security analysts or computer forensics investigators. But aside from those apparent requirements and qualifications, people may follow some simple steps to become computer forensics analysts:
Earn Related Degrees from Specific Colleges or Universities
To start an entry-level position for this job, you must have a diploma from a specific university. Then, you can begin to apply to HEIs or Higher Education Institutions that offer degree programs. In this way, you can still build your skills in managing digital data and computer systems.
Pursue some Learning Opportunities to Earn Experiences
While you are enrolled in your degree program, you may want to consider pursuing some learning opportunities like fellowships, internships, and part-time jobs. These experiences would help you get different occasions in the computer forensics’ field; thus, these will serve as your edge in looking for a computer forensics job in the market.
Become a GIAC Certified Computer Forensics Analyst
Although this is not a requirement to become a computer forensics investigator, it would still be advisable to earn professional certificates in the computer forensics field. With this, you can become legit professional computer forensics analysts.