A Computer Forensics Technician investigates cases from a digital perspective. They specialize in gathering and analyzing digital evidence from devices such as computers, flash drives, cell phones, tablets, and other technologies. There are also instances where they use special software and tools, recover or retrieve files, and unseal documents while adhering to government laws and regulations. When it comes to employment, they may work for government agencies, law enforcement, or even private investigators.

Computer Forensics Technician Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real computer forensics technician resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Set up and manage all Linux labs campus-wide.
  • Ensure that all CODIS hits have written fax notification and fax verification to the user agency.
  • Conduct feasibility and practicality assessments of devices capable of rapid genotyping in relation to JCIDS criteria (i.e.
  • Identify, collect, preserve and impound evidence including developing fingerprints and/or footprints and collecting DNA and stain evidence.
  • Train employees and subcontractors on the use, maintenance and troubleshooting of genetic analysis and real-time PCR system instrumentation and software.
  • Compose comprehensive DNA analysis reports.
  • Maintain chain of custody documentation of all forensic specimens.
  • Work with all agencies submitting evidence to laboratory to determine status and CODIS eligibility.
  • Examine specimens and secure chain of custody vital to fitness for duty resolutions and criminal investigative cases.
  • Conduct preliminary and final reviews of statements of personal history and relate data prior to initiation of background investigation procedures.
Computer Forensics Technician Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.
Math and science skills combine the basic components of reduction and addition with observation and measurement.

Computer Forensics Technician Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, computer forensics technician jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 14%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a computer forensics technician?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of computer forensics technician opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 2,400.

A computer forensics technician annual salary averages $67,271, which breaks down to $32.34 an hour. However, computer forensics technicians can earn anywhere from upwards of $37,000 to $119,000 a year. This means that the top-earning computer forensics technicians make $82,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a computer forensics technician. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a dna analyst, criminalist, latent fingerprint examiner, and crime scene analyst.

Computer Forensics Technician Jobs You Might Like

Computer Forensics Technician Resume Examples

Computer Forensics Technician Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 22% of Computer Forensics Technicians are proficient in Laboratory Equipment, Present Evidence, and Digital Evidence. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Detail oriented, and Math and science skills.

We break down the percentage of Computer Forensics Technicians that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Laboratory Equipment, 22%

    Maintain laboratory equipment and instrumentation (e.g., troubleshooting, conducting preventative maintenance, calibrating and repairing)

  • Present Evidence, 12%

    Collaborated with investigators and promoted laboratory capabilities and full potential of physical evidence to detectives and attorneys.

  • Digital Evidence, 11%

    Provide guidance to criminal investigators and non-technical audiences on computer search strategies and digital evidence recovery.

  • Maintenance Logs, 8%

    Follow quality control procedures; maintain laboratory records, maintenance logs, quality control charts, reagent and standard logs.

  • Proper Chain, 5%

    Maintained proper chain of custody of all forensic material under examination.

  • Law Enforcement, 5%

    Respond to inquiries from law enforcement investigators or attorneys regarding the status or location of evidence, ensuring confidentiality of information.

"laboratory equipment," "present evidence," and "digital evidence" aren't the only skills we found computer forensics technicians list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of computer forensics technician responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a computer forensics technician to have happens to be communication skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "forensic science technicians write reports and testify in court" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that computer forensics technicians can use communication skills to "provide communication via computer technician and fellow assistant technicians. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling computer forensics technician duties is detail oriented. According to a computer forensics technician resume, "forensic science technicians must be able to notice small changes in mundane objects to be good at collecting and analyzing evidence." Here's an example of how computer forensics technicians are able to utilize detail oriented: "prepared detailed reports documenting actions at crime scenes and all aspects of evidence-collection. "
  • Math and science skills is also an important skill for computer forensics technicians to have. This example of how computer forensics technicians use this skill comes from a computer forensics technician resume, "forensic science technicians need a solid understanding of statistics and natural sciences to be able to analyze evidence." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "maintained windows xp, windows server 2003 and active directory on medex network assets. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "problem-solving skills" is important to completing computer forensics technician responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way computer forensics technicians use this skill: "forensic science technicians use scientific tests and methods to help law enforcement officials solve crimes." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical computer forensics technician tasks: "extracted dna from fta paper through the use of fta solution and tris-hcl reagents. "
  • See the full list of computer forensics technician skills.

    Before becoming a computer forensics technician, 63.2% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 7.9% computer forensics technicians went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most computer forensics technicians have a college degree. But about one out of every seven computer forensics technicians didn't attend college at all.

    Those computer forensics technicians who do attend college, typically earn either a criminal justice degree or a biology degree. Less commonly earned degrees for computer forensics technicians include a chemistry degree or a psychology degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a computer forensics technician. We've found that most computer forensics technician resumes include experience from Georgia Department of Economic Development, Aerotek, and TAD PGS. Of recent, Georgia Department of Economic Development had 2 positions open for computer forensics technicians. Meanwhile, there are 1 job openings at Aerotek and 1 at TAD PGS.

    View more details on computer forensics technician salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Quest Diagnostics, BAE Systems, and New Jersey State Police. These three companies have hired a significant number of computer forensics technicians from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious computer forensics technicians are:

      What DNA Analysts Do

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take dna analyst for example. On average, the dna analysts annual salary is $24,406 higher than what computer forensics technicians make on average every year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both computer forensics technicians and dna analysts positions are skilled in laboratory equipment, present evidence, and law enforcement.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a computer forensics technician responsibility requires skills such as "test order," "digital evidence," "maintenance logs," and "quality control charts." Whereas a dna analyst is skilled in "data analysis," "rt-pcr," "diagnostic tests," and "legal proceedings." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Dna analysts tend to reach higher levels of education than computer forensics technicians. In fact, dna analysts are 20.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 7.1% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Criminalist?

      A criminalist works in the forensic science or law enforcement field. Their duties depend upon the agency or place they work for, but they are often responsible for conducting crime investigations, studying crime scenes, gathering and examining evidence, processing evidence, and coordinating with investigators. They must also prepare and process documents, present detailed results and reports to investigators, and sometimes testify in court.

      Next up, we have the criminalist profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a computer forensics technician annual salary. In fact, criminalists salary difference is $30,457 higher than the salary of computer forensics technicians per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Computer forensics technicians and criminalists both include similar skills like "laboratory equipment," "present evidence," and "law enforcement" on their resumes.

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, computer forensics technician responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "test order," "digital evidence," "maintenance logs," and "quality control charts." Meanwhile, a criminalist might be skilled in areas such as "body fluids," "quantitative analysis," "firearms," and "court proceedings." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      In general, criminalists study at higher levels of education than computer forensics technicians. They're 15.9% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 7.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Latent Fingerprint Examiner Compares

      The latent fingerprint examiner profession generally makes a higher amount of money when compared to the average salary of computer forensics technicians. The difference in salaries is latent fingerprint examiners making $8,489 higher than computer forensics technicians.

      By looking over several computer forensics technicians and latent fingerprint examiners resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "present evidence," "law enforcement," and "evidence collection." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from computer forensics technician resumes include skills like "laboratory equipment," "test order," "digital evidence," and "maintenance logs," whereas a latent fingerprint examiner might be skilled in "afis," "fingerprint classification," "identification system," and "fingerprint cards. "

      Latent fingerprint examiners typically study at lower levels compared with computer forensics technicians. For example, they're 7.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.6% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Crime Scene Analyst

      The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than computer forensics technicians. On average, crime scene analysts earn a difference of $7,652 higher per year.

      While their salaries may vary, computer forensics technicians and crime scene analysts both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "laboratory equipment," "present evidence," and "law enforcement. "

      Each job requires different skills like "test order," "digital evidence," "maintenance logs," and "quality control charts," which might show up on a computer forensics technician resume. Whereas crime scene analyst might include skills like "police department," "emergency," "photography," and "training programs."

      Crime scene analysts reach lower levels of education when compared to computer forensics technicians. The difference is that they're 13.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 5.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.