With the arrival of the computer age came a plethora of crimes. Forensic computer examiners collect and analyze data to uncover and prosecute electronic fraud, scams, and identify theft. As a forensic computer examiner, you will tackle cyber-crimes. In doing this, you must adhere strictly to the standards of evidence gathering found in general forensic science, being that legal cases depend on the integrity of evidence. Investigative and report writing skills will also be much-needed assets.

Forensic Computer Examiner Responsibilities

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

  • Design cyber forensic laboratories, prepare proposals for creation of government and military laboratories, and lead contract proposals.
  • Provide polygraph screening to members of the intelligence community (CIA, NRO, NGA, DOD, etc).
  • Court-Appoint specialist for DNA paternity tests
  • Follow lab standard operating procedures for evidence keeping as to prevent spoliation.
  • Conduct technical reviews of peer's examinations ensuring technical thoroughness and compliance with laboratory policies and procedures.
  • Design cyber forensic laboratories, prepare proposals for creation of government and military laboratories, and lead contract proposals.
  • Comply with DHS quality standards, format requirements and time frames for all documents and communications.
Forensic Computer Examiner 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.

Forensic Computer Examiner Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a forensic computer examiner does, you may be wondering, "should I become a forensic computer examiner?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, forensic computer examiners have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 14% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of forensic computer examiner opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 2,400.

On average, the forensic computer examiner annual salary is $67,381 per year, which translates to $32.39 an hour. Generally speaking, forensic computer examiners earn anywhere from $41,000 to $108,000 a year, which means that the top-earning forensic computer examiners make $67,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a forensic computer examiner, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a dna analyst, crime specialist, crime scene specialist, and crime scene analyst.

Forensic Computer Examiner Jobs You Might Like

Forensic Computer Examiner Resume Examples

Forensic Computer Examiner Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 15% of Forensic Computer Examiners are proficient in Forensics, FTK, and Cyber. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Detail oriented, and Math and science skills.

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

  • Forensics, 15%

    Use digital forensics software (EnCase Basic) for electronic discovery and moderately complex analysis of electronically stored information.

  • FTK, 11%

    Utilized the FBI Linux Boot CD and FTK Imager for creating copies of digital evidence.

  • Cyber, 10%

    Supported the Defense Cyber Crime Center's Computer Forensic Laboratory (ASCLD/LAB).

  • DOD, 9%

    Provided polygraph screening to members of the intelligence community (CIA, NRO, NGA, DOD, etc).

  • Forensic Analysis, 8%

    Developed detailed five-year plan to build forensic network capable of performing forensic analysis on multiple platforms to include wireless and mobile.

  • Forensic Examinations, 6%

    Conducted forensic examinations on digital evidence, research and development activities, and performed search and seizure operations.

Most forensic computer examiners list "forensics," "ftk," and "cyber" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important forensic computer examiner responsibilities here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a forensic computer examiner 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 forensic computer examiners can use communication skills to "comply with dhs quality standards, format requirements and time frames for all documents and communications. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform forensic computer examiner duties is the following: detail oriented. According to a forensic computer examiner resume, "forensic science technicians must be able to notice small changes in mundane objects to be good at collecting and analyzing evidence." Check out this example of how forensic computer examiners use detail oriented: "develop reports detailing procedures and findings and testify in 9 courts serving the city of atlanta and the surrounding adjacent counties. "
  • Forensic computer examiners are also known for math and science skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a forensic computer examiner resume: "forensic science technicians need a solid understanding of statistics and natural sciences to be able to analyze evidence." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "utilize leading-edge forensic tools to analyze computer/cell phone data; restore damages/erased hard drives to aid evidence collection and investigation. "
  • A forensic computer examiner responsibilities sometimes require "problem-solving skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "forensic science technicians use scientific tests and methods to help law enforcement officials solve crimes." This resume example shows how this skill is used by forensic computer examiners: "consulted clients on cyber awareness training and byod solutions. "
  • See the full list of forensic computer examiner skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a forensic computer examiner. We found that 57.2% of forensic computer examiners have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 19.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most forensic computer examiners have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight forensic computer examiners were not college graduates.

    The forensic computer examiners who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied criminal justice and nursing, while a small population of forensic computer examiners studied business and computer science.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a forensic computer examiner. We've found that most forensic computer examiner resumes include experience from Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Baltimore County Golf. Of recent, Lockheed Martin had 7 positions open for forensic computer examiners. Meanwhile, there are 2 job openings at General Dynamics and 1 at Baltimore County Golf.

    View more details on forensic computer examiner salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire forensic computer examiners from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include New Jersey State Police, Quest Diagnostics, and BAE Systems.

    In general, forensic computer examiners fulfill roles in the technology and professional industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the forensic computer examiner annual salary is the highest in the insurance industry with $102,056 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the media and technology industries pay $78,897 and $74,852 respectively. This means that forensic computer examiners who are employed in the insurance industry make 69.2% more than forensic computer examiners who work in the government Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious forensic computer examiners 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 $5,417 lower than what forensic computer examiners make on average every year.

      Even though forensic computer examiners and dna analysts have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require crime scenes, law enforcement, and criminal cases in the day-to-day roles.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A forensic computer examiner responsibility is more likely to require skills like "forensics," "ftk," "cyber," and "dod." Whereas a dna analyst requires skills like "lab equipment," "abi," "lims," and "data analysis." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Dna analysts really shine in the government industry with an average salary of $66,024. Whereas forensic computer examiners tend to make the most money in the insurance industry with an average salary of $102,056.

      Dna analysts tend to reach higher levels of education than forensic computer examiners. In fact, dna analysts are 12.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 2.6% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Crime Specialist?

      The duties of a Crime Specialist usually depend on their place of employment. Their responsibilities include visiting crime scenes, gathering and analyzing pieces of evidence, conducting interviews with witnesses, utilizing forensic equipment and techniques, taking photographs or videos, and preparing reports and other paperwork. They may also attend court hearings, provide insights, and train new members of the workforce. Crime Specialists work together with law enforcement, which requires an active communication line for a smooth and efficient workflow.

      The next role we're going to look at is the crime specialist profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $41,574 lower salary than forensic computer examiners per year.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real forensic computer examiner resumes. While forensic computer examiner responsibilities can utilize skills like "forensics," "ftk," "cyber," and "dod," some crime specialists use skills like "outbound calls," "anti-money laundering," "secrecy," and "suspicious activity."

      On average, crime specialists earn a lower salary than forensic computer examiners. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, crime specialists earn the most pay in the finance industry with an average salary of $32,299. Whereas, forensic computer examiners have higher paychecks in the insurance industry where they earn an average of $102,056.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, crime specialists tend to reach lower levels of education than forensic computer examiners. In fact, they're 13.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 2.6% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Crime Scene Specialist Compares

      The third profession we take a look at is crime scene specialist. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than forensic computer examiners. In fact, they make a $25,140 lower salary per year.

      By looking over several forensic computer examiners and crime scene specialists resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "crime scenes," "law enforcement," and "criminal cases." 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 forensic computer examiner resumes include skills like "forensics," "ftk," "cyber," and "dod," whereas a crime scene specialist might be skilled in "laboratory equipment," "latent prints," "body fluids," and "photography. "

      Crime scene specialists are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to forensic computer examiners. Additionally, they're 1.3% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 6.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Crime Scene Analyst

      The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than forensic computer examiners. On average, crime scene analysts earn a difference of $22,171 lower per year.

      While their salaries may vary, forensic computer examiners and crime scene analysts both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "crime scenes," "law enforcement," and "criminal cases. "

      Each job requires different skills like "forensics," "ftk," "cyber," and "dod," which might show up on a forensic computer examiner resume. Whereas crime scene analyst might include skills like "latent prints," "photography," "training programs," and "property damage."

      The average resume of crime scene analysts showed that they earn lower levels of education to forensic computer examiners. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 21.7% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.6%.