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Forensic computer analyst

Forensic computer analysts investigate computer-based crime, often called cyber crime.

Potential salary

£20,000 to £60,000

Employment by 2024

+3.25%

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

Your tasks will depend on the type of organisation you work for and could include the investigation of:

  • hacking, online scams and fraud
  • political, industrial and commercial espionage
  • terrorist communications
  • possession of illegal pornography
  • theft of sensitive company information

Your first task on a project will be to secure the IT system or hardware so it can't be tampered with. Using forensic methods and specialist computer programs, your further tasks could include:

  • finding, recovering and copying data from disks that may have been hidden, encrypted or damaged
  • revealing digital images that have been altered to mask the identity of a place or person
  • analysing mobile phone records to trace devices to a particular location
  • following electronic data trails to uncover links between individuals or groups
  • carefully documenting each stage of your investigation
  • presenting technical findings to managers, law enforcement organisations and clients

You could work in a court, in an office or at a client's business.

With experience, you could progress to senior analyst, head of security or security consultant.

You can find out more about careers in digital security from the National Cyber Security Centre and The Chartered Institute for IT.

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