Computer Forensic Analyst

Computer Forensic Analysts use forensic tools and investigative methods to find specific electronic data, including Internet use history, word processing documents, images and other files.


Sample of Reported Job Titles

Digital forensic analyst, cyber investigator, information security specialist, cyber security analyst, or ethical hacker



The field of computer forensics is the information security branch of law enforcement and is closely related to forensic science and criminal justice work; therefore, most computer forensic analysts work for law enforcement agencies. The role of the analyst is to recover data like documents, photos and e-mails from computer hard drives and other data storage devices, such as zip and flash drives, that have been deleted, damaged or otherwise manipulated. Analysts often work on cases involving offenses committed on the Internet ('cyber crime') and examine computers that may have been involved in other types of crime in order to find evidence of illegal activity. As an information security professional, a computer forensic analyst may also use their expertise in a corporate setting to protect computers from infiltration, determine how a computer was broken into or recover lost files.

They must be familiar with standard computer operating systems, networks and hardware as well as security software and document-creation applications. Analysts must have expertise in hacking and intrusion techniques and prior experience with security testing and computer system diagnostics. As their title suggests, analysts are expected to have excellent analytical skills, to be highly conscious of details and to be able to multi-task efficiently.


Educational Requirements

A 4-year degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science or Information Technology, is required to begin a career as a computer forensic analyst. Combining undergraduate studies with criminal justice, forensic science, and accounting classes can also help prepare analysts for the types of skills and experience they need in the workplace.


Salary Range 2012



Want to know more?

Education Portal-Computer Forensic Analyst

Purdue Cyber Forensics

Criminal Justice School-Computer Forensics


Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

High Technology Crime Investigation Association

Digital Forensics Association LinkedIn Group

Digital Forensics & EDiscovery Professionals LinkedIn Group

Association for Computing Machinery

List of Professional Organizations

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Research & Internship Listings

Many employers prefer candidates with a degree or with prior experience in a law enforcement or investigative environment. Forensic computer technicians may gain entry-level jobs with law enforcement agencies or private organizations.

Success Tips:

  • Get a job with law enforcement. Gaining initial experience in an investigative setting provides hands-on experience in gathering evidence and dealing with computer-related crimes. According to the BLS, many workers in the field start their careers in law enforcement to gain training and establish strong reputations before transitioning to private organizations.
  • Research licensure requirements. Although becoming licensed as a forensic computer investigator is not usually a requirement, some states may require forensic computer technicians to be licensed as private investigators. Licensure eligibility requirements vary from state to state, but generally include being fingerprinted, passing a private investigator test and having some work experience.


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