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Computer Forensic: Training to be an Investigator in High-tech Law Enforcement
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL COMPUTER FORENSICS SALARY?
According to the USBLS, the annual salary for computer forensics examiner ranges from $21,000 to $72,000. The large discrepancy depends on experience, location, and industry of expertise. Nebraska and California, for example, have average salaries in the low $50,000. Those specializing in the telecommunication industry average in the mid $70,000.
Additionally, a computer forensic expert and consultant who has their own practice can make a lot more.
HOW TO BECOME A COMPUTER FORENSICS INVESTIGATOR?
Computer forensic investigators are specialized analyst trained on the job. The best computer forensics training is provided by law enforcement agencies. Hence, police departments, FBI, etc.
For a career in computer forensics, it is best to join law enforcement somewhere down the line. After enough experience and contacts, you can start your own private consulting practice or join private companies.
Video Clip on Computer Forensics
WHERE TO GET A COMPUTER FORENSIC TRAINING, DEGREE, OR CERTIFICATION?
The answer depends on who you are.
- Are you someone employed in or with experience in investigative, legal, accounting, or computer tech field?
- Or are you someone trying to get in for the first time, such as a high school student or making a career change.
Those already employed or with experience will only need to take a computer forensics certification. Online or campus don't matter so long as the proper credits are completed and a certificate is attained. Certificate school takes less than a year. Computer forensics online works best for those with jobs because of flexibility in time. Those trying to get in for the first time will should go to school and get a degree in accounting or computer technology. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that a degree in computer science or accounting is more helpful than a criminal justice degree. "An accounting degree provides good background knowledge for investigating fraud through computer forensics. Either of these two degrees provides a good starting point after which investigative techniques can be learned on the job." (USBLS)
Schools and colleges, more and more, are offering computer forensics degree. Classes towards an Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's are available in campus and online schools.
A Real Example of a Computer Forensics Lab
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OUTLOOK FOR COMPUTER FORENSICS JOBS?
The job market for computer forensics analyst is rising. The current Internet age paves way to many new type of cybercrimes. It's no longer just hacking. Among the major crimes troubling us today is identity theft. Bad guys use all kinds of technology to steal consumer's identity. The most vulnerable includes credit cards and computers. Soon, mobile phones and pda's will be at risk as well.
The USBLS rates the job growth for computer forensics careers as faster than average, but, the competition will be keen. This is because there are many young retiring law enforcement officers who are looking to start their own practice in the field.
Again, the best on-the-job training for computer forensics are provided by law enforcement agencies.
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