Computer Forensic Investigator

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Today’s Internet landscape is riddled with digital footprints. Some footprints are harmless while others destroy the area the moment they set foot in it. A computer forensics investigator uses a variety of techniques to figure out who is hacking into a system and what damage was done.

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Being a Computer Forensics Investigator
Computer forensic investigation is a demanding yet rewarding career. Investigators must uncover who is responsible for hacking into a system and what damage was done. In doing so, federal and state reporting requirements must remain in effect to ensure that confidential information isn’t exposed during a security breach.

As a computer forensic investigator you will recover data from hard drives, even after they have been erased. You will be analyzing data for clues or evidence that may help in an investigation. From using imaging software and copy data to taking custody of equipment used in crimes, a computer forensic investigator is paramount in today’s world of Internet crimes.

On top of completing the tasks required to trace a hacker, investigators must maintain the chain of custody for evidence, write out reports, document the procedures taken during an investigation and attend trial. In most cases, a computer forensic investigator must testify in court and present his/her findings to the jury, which will either make or break the case.

Becoming a Computer Forensics Investigator
To become a Computer Forensics Investigator, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Then, you should consider getting a degree in computer science or accounting as well as heading into law enforcement. Many colleges offer certificate programs, as well. Expect 15-21 credit hours of coursework specific to computer forensics. Universities offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer forensics and computer security, both being great paths to take if you’re interested in a career as a computer forensics investigator.

Expected coursework for computer forensic investigators include network administration, computer security, web development, and information systems management.

Because computer technology is constantly evolving, a computer forensics investigators education is constant. They must always be aware of new fraud techniques and detection, and all the new software being created to combat the constant Internet crimes.

There is not a specific license required of a computer forensic investigator however some states do expect them to be licensed as a private investigator. So, it’s important to find out what your state requirements are. Sounds interesting? Find a school offering computer forensics training.

Salary and Job Outlook for a Computer Forensics Investigator
Those who specialize in computer forensics investigation will earn a median salary of $75,660. Those in the lowest 10% will make $43,190 annually. But, those in the top 10% will see an average of $119,940 per year. Salary is experienced based so the longer you’re working as a computer forensics investigator, the larger your paycheck will be.

Due to the fact that our world is becoming more Internet savvy, job prospects for those going into computer forensic investigations will be good. Job growth between now and 2024 is expected to be 22% which is way above the average job growth prediction.

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