Cyber security professional
Forensic computer analysts investigate computer-based crime, often called cyber crime.
Salary Range: £20,000 to £60,000
How to become a forensic computer analyst
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- training with a professional body
You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- forensic computing and security
- computer science
- cyber security
- digital forensics
- financial technology
Courses with industry placements will help you develop your skills.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can do a cyber instrusion analyst or cyber security technologist higher apprenticeship.
You can also take a cyber security technical professional degree apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You could start work as an IT support technician, network engineer or developer after doing A levels. You would then work your way up by taking further training on the job.
You’ll need to be working in IT security or have a lot of experience to do this.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass security checks
What you’ll do
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.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could progress to senior analyst, head of security or security consultant.