Forensic computer analyst

cyber security professional cyber security consultant
Computing and ICT

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would investigate cyber crime to protect people from hackers, thieves and terrorists. Your work would help to prevent others from becoming victims of similar crimes.

You could work for the police or security services, a bank or an IT firm.

You would use specialist computer programs to investigate crimes like:

  • hacking, online scams and fraud
  • Political, industrial and commercial spying
  • Terrorist communications
  • Possession of illegal content or images
  • Theft of confidential information

On a typical case you might:

  • Secure the system so it can’t be tampered with again
  • Find and copy data from disks that are hidden, encrypted or damaged
  • Unlock digital images that have been changed to hide the identity of a place or person
  • Use mobile phone records to trace devices
  • Uncover electronic links between individuals or groups
  • Keep records of your work
  • Present your findings to managers, law enforcement organisations and your clients
  • Appear in court as an expert witness
  • GIve general advice on cyber security

It would be important to have good knowledge of information security standards and laws. You would also need to keep up to date with technology, investigative tools and criminal methods.

Working conditions


The number of hours you work each week will depend on the type of investigation, when it needs to be completed, and how complex it is. In some cases you may have to work overtime.


The majority of your work would be office-based.

UK employment status



Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Presenting to people
  • Programming computers
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being logical
  • Coping with pressure
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


To work as a forensic computer analyst you will usually need a background or qualification in IT or a related field.

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but qualifications and experience that demonstrate expertise in ICT/Microsoft Windows operating systems, understanding and experience of the information security profession and the capacity to learn will be important. 

Relevant qualifications such as a Computer Security & Forensics degree (SCQF Level 9/10) may be helpful especially if they involve a related work placement.

To enter a forensic computing degree (SCQF level 9/10) will require National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers at BBBC or above.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most employers)
  • Maths (required by most employers)
  • ICT
  • business 
  • science subjects