Forensic computer analyst

cyber security professional cyber security consultant

Career outlook for forensic computer analyst

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

Average UK salary

£35,360

Currently employed in Scotland

4,500

Five year job forecast

+4.96%

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

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

Hours

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.

Environment

The majority of your work would be office-based.

UK employment status

Full-time

60%

Part-time

27%

Self employed

13%

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 needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Resilience
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Innovative
  • Problem solving
  • Social conscience
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Ethical
  • Understanding

Build your skills

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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.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

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