Forensic Computer Analyst

Job Description:

Forensic computer analysts investigate computer-based crime (cyber crime).

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

You’ll be involved in a range of investigations, like:

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

One of your first tasks on a project will be to secure the IT system or hardware so that it can’t be tampered with.

You’ll then use forensic methods and specialist computer programs to:

  • find, recover and copy data from disks that may have been hidden, encrypted or damaged
  • reveal digital images that have been altered to mask the identity of a place or person
  • analyse mobile phone records to trace devices to a particular location
  • follow electronic data trails to uncover links between individuals or groups
  • carefully document each stage of your investigation
  • present technical findings to managers, law enforcement organisations and clients

You’ll work for the police or security services, a bank, or for an IT firm that specialises in computer security.

You might also work in a broader security role, like acting as a cyber security consultant to companies and organisations.


You’ll need:

  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • persistence and determination
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Forensic Computer Analyst, you should focus on building a strong foundation in computer science, digital forensics, and related subjects. While there are no specific requirements for this career, certain subjects and skills can be advantageous. Here is a list of subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring Forensic Computer Analysts:

  1. Mathematics: A solid understanding of mathematics is essential for various aspects of computer science and digital forensics, such as data analysis and cryptography.
  2. Computer Science: If your school offers computer science courses, consider taking them to build a fundamental understanding of computer systems and programming.
  3. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICT courses can provide you with practical skills in using computer software and hardware, which are valuable in digital forensics.
  4. Science: While not directly related, science courses can help you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for forensic analysis.
  5. English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary for documenting findings and presenting forensic analysis reports.

Post School

You’ll usually need a background or qualification in IT or a related field.

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.

Employers may also look for industry certification awards.

You could start this career as a support technician, network engineer or developer. With experience and training, you may then be able to move into a more specialised security or analyst role.

You could also do a higher-level apprenticeship in information security.

Working Hours and Environment:

The number of hours you work will depend on the type of investigation and how complex it is. In some cases you may have to work overtime.

Most of your work will be office-based, but you’ll also meet with colleagues and other agencies working on the case.

You may also go to court to give evidence as a technical or expert witness.

Career Path & Progression:

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