Digital Forensics Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become digital forensics expert. Learn about where to work, career outlook, and required education to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Forensics Technician?

Digital forensics involves gathering, identifying and categorizing clues stored in information systems, typically computers. Computer forensics technicians examine these systems in order to assist investigators on any potential evidence, from verifying if said evidence is reliable to preparing evidence for court cases.

The following chart provides an overview of the closely related field of forensic science technicians.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Justice administration; digital forensics
Key Responsibilities Identify and analyze digital evidence; retrieve deleted files; testify in court
Job Growth (2014-2024) 27%* (all forensic science technicians)
Median Salary (2015) $56,320* (all forensic science technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Should I Study?

For jobs in the field of forensic science, a bachelor's degree in forensic science or another natural science is usually necessary. To learn the technical, communication and analytical skills you need to work in this field, you might pursue a bachelor's degree in justice administration with a concentration in digital forensics. You would study such subjects as operating systems, computer networks and information systems security. You would learn to use scientific tools and software and act as an expert witness at trials.

You might also find undergraduate programs available through community colleges that would prepare you for work as a computer forensics analyst, a computer engineering technologist or an electronic and cyber discovery specialist. You could enroll in a short term certificate program or an associate's degree program in computer and digital forensics.

Where Might I Work?

Forensic science jobs might be found in a police department, government agency, law firm, insurance company or consulting firm. You might find work in law enforcement, law firms, accounting firms, software development companies or banks. You could also start your own business as an evidence analyst evidence or expert witness.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that forensic science technician positions were expected to grow 27% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). State and local governments will be in need of professionals who use forensic methods to investigate, solve and avert crimes.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A similar career is becoming an information systems security analyst, which requires a bachelor's degree and deals with similar aspects of computers and analyzing data. Additionally, you could pursue a career as a private detective, which would put you in in the field beyond digital evidence, gathering evidence for ongoing investigations. Such a career only requires a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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