Hilbert College Global Online Blog

Forensic Computer Analyst: Salary and Career Outlook

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Mar 20, 2024
A forensic computer analyst working on a computer and writing notes.

Forensic Computer Analyst: Salary and Career Outlook

Cybercrime’s impact on individuals and organizations has grown in recent years, and cybersecurity professionals recognize that understanding how these attacks happen is a crucial step in preventing them from happening again in the future.

Forensic computer analysts work directly with law enforcement and private organizations to investigate cybercrimes. They search data for clues after a cyberattack to better understand exactly what happened and what systems and data were affected. This information can be beneficial for preventing future attacks as well as recovering and restoring compromised data.

Those interested in a dynamic career that involves data analysis, investigation and cybersecurity should learn more about what it takes to become a forensic computer analyst, including the salary potential for the role, and the benefits of a foundational cybersecurity education to develop critical skills.

What Does a Forensic Computer Analyst Do?

Forensic computer analysts, or forensic computer investigators, are professionals who study digital systems in the wake of a cyberattack, using their skills and knowledge of cybersecurity to analyze the effects of the attack and determine how to prevent future breaches. They also attempt to restore compromised or damaged data, analyze the system for vulnerabilities and write reports detailing their findings and recommending ways to improve the system’s defenses.

Similar to a criminal investigator at a physical crime scene who searches for clues and evidence that can lead to a suspect, a forensic computer analyst searches computer hard drives, mobile devices and company networks to extract metadata that can reveal a hacker’s digital tracks. The evidence they gather can be used by private organizations and law enforcement to help identify cybercriminals and prevent future attacks.

Unlike cybersecurity analysts, forensic computer analysts don’t directly work on preventing cybercrimes. Rather, they work as part of a response team that cleans up and fixes the results of cybercrimes that manage to slip through an organization’s digital defenses. They are vital cybersecurity team members, and their reports often offer invaluable insights into where an organization’s digital vulnerabilities lie and how to eliminate them. Due to their expertise, forensic computer analysts are sometimes asked to testify during criminal trials for cybercrimes.

Where Do Forensic Computer Analysts Work?

Cyberattacks are a threat to organizations in nearly every industry, giving forensic computer analysts significant versatility in choosing an employer. They may be hired directly by an organization or work with an agency that offers its services to companies and government bodies. Following are a few of the industries that employ these professionals:

  • Government: Forensic computer analysts assist with criminal investigations in law enforcement agencies, like the FBI.

  • Law: Legal agencies employ forensic computer analysts to help them gather data from cyberattacks to assist with their cases.

  • Banking: Banks hire these professionals to investigate instances of fraud or to help them improve their digital security after a cyberattack.

  • Technology: Tech companies use forensic computer analysts to help them improve the security for their software, both internally and in the products they sell to customers.

Forensic Computer Analyst Educational and Skill Requirements

Those looking to become a forensic computer analyst should first pursue a foundational education, such as by enrolling in a cybersecurity degree program. Earning a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can benefit individuals pursuing this career by teaching them the skills needed to analyze large sets of data and the critical facets of cyberthreats like malware.

Employers typically look for candidates with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but pursuing a master’s degree can help professionals stand out among other job applicants. Aspiring forensic computer analysts also should look to develop critical skills through their education, such as the following:

Technical Knowledge

Forensic computer analysts must have in-depth knowledge of various computer systems, programming languages, digital devices and types of cyberthreats. This knowledge is critical when gathering data as part of cybercrime investigations and writing reports that detail how the cybercrimes were committed.

Forensic computer analysts frequently work in law enforcement to help agencies respond to cyberattacks. They need to understand cybersecurity laws to determine if they’re being properly followed; organizations are required to ensure that data related to customers or other individuals is protected.


A forensic computer analyst’s role is to review large amounts of data following a cyberattack. The ability to analyze this data is critical in determining what data was compromised, what data can be recovered and how the cyberattacker was able to breach the organization’s cybersecurity defenses.


Forensic computer analysts create reports detailing their investigations and analysis, and they must be able to effectively convey technical information about a cyberattack’s effects. Since their testimonies are sometimes required in court cases involving cyberattacks, they should also be able to clearly explain these concepts.

Forensic Computer Analyst Salary

As is true of many positions in the cybersecurity field, forensic computer analyst jobs generally come with competitive salaries. According to data from the compensation website Payscale, the median annual forensic computer analyst salary was around $77,800 as of February 2024. The exact amount an individual in this position earns depends on their job location, work experience, level of education and other factors.

Crack the Case on Your Career as a Forensic Computer Analyst

Pursuing a career as a forensic computer analyst can be an excellent choice for those interested in combining cybersecurity and digital investigation. To best prepare for this role with a foundational education, consider the benefits of enrolling in Hilbert College Global’s online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cybersecurity degree program.

This program can help you develop the critical technical skills you’ll need to understand the latest trends in cybercrime along with the analysis skills necessary to be able to uncover how a cyberattack took place.

Discover your potential to solve cybercrimes with Hilbert College Global’s BS in Cybersecurity program.

Recommended Readings

5 Types of Cybercrime

Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science: What Is the Difference?

How to Start a Career in Cybersecurity


Indeed, “How to Become a Forensic Computer Analyst (With Salary Info)”

Indeed, “What Does a Computer Forensic Investigator Do? (With Skills)”

Payscale, Average Forensic Computer Analyst Salary

TechTarget, “What Is Computer Forensics (Cyber Forensics)?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forensic Science Technicians

Learn more about the benefits of receiving
your degree from Hilbert College