Crime scenes exist both in the online and offline world. Cyber crime investigators are the people who investigate online crime scenes. With cyber crime becoming more severe and prevalent, there is an increasing need for cyber crime investigators, and they are well-paid for their expertise.
What Is Cyber Crime Investigation?
To understand cyber crime investigation, you must first understand what cyber crime is. Cyber crime occurs when a crime is carried out that involves the use of a digital device, like a smartphone or computer, that is connected to one or more networks. When a cyber crime takes place, electronic devices can serve two purposes: They can launch the attack or be the victim.
With cyber crime investigation, the crime is investigated by computer science experts. These people have a strong knowledge of software, networks, file systems, various operating systems, and hardware. With this knowledge, they can paint a full and clear picture of what happened and why it happened. They can go as far as to tell who performed the crime, when it happened, the device it happened on, and more. Many cyber crime investigations involve helping victims protect themselves from further damage.
How Does Someone Become a Cyber Crime Investigator?
A quick look at a cyber crime investigator job description will help you understand what these investigators do and why they need the knowledge they need to excel in this occupation.
Cyber Crime Scene investigator Job Description
- Perform extensive background checks
- Verify sources
- Conduct lengthy research
- Recover lost or deleted files on systems
- Analyze digital crime scenes
- Recover password-protected/encrypted files
- Identify sources of hidden information
- Reveal hidden information
- Encode and decode data
- Assess software design for flaws
- Recommend methods of data preservation
- Create reports outlining their findings
To become a cyber crime investigator, you don’t necessarily need a college degree. Some investigators excel in this line of work because they have taught themselves throughout the years how to work with (code) and recover data. Their talents and skills with handling cyber crimes speak for themselves. However, many employers of cyber crime investigators mandate a bachelor’s degree in computer forensics or a related field.
Many cyber crime investigators agree that holding a degree or certification has helped them in their career paths. If you decide to earn a degree, it is highly-recommended to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer forensics. Becoming a certified forensic analyst will also be helpful in becoming a cyber crime investigator.
There will likely be some on-the-job training provided after getting hired as a cyber crime investigator. With technology advancing at such a fast speed, those working in this occupation must refine their skill set on an ongoing basis to keep up with the latest hacking methods and solutions.
What Does the Cyber Crime Investigator Salary Look Like?
One of the top advantages of pursuing a career in cyber crime investigation is that you don’t need advanced computer-based knowledge to start a degree program. And because cyber crime wreaks a loss of more than $6 trillion annually across the globe, there is a high demand for cyber crime investigators and employers are willing to pay top dollar for them. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the median salary for a cyber crime investigator is $67,000, while the University of San Diego says the median income for those working in this occupation is $95,510.
What Are the Jobs for Cyber Crime Investigator?
You will have several career paths to choose from as a cyber crime investigator. You can even be a freelance investigator, working as a sole proprietor. Some investigators open up their own firms and hire other investigators to help them with cases. It’s important to remember that cyber crime investigators often find employment or work under a different job title. Some of the more common titles and cyber crime investigator jobs are:
- Technical support specialist
- Cyber legal advisor
- Systems administrator
- Encryption expert
What Types of Cyber Crime Investigation Training Are There?
There are various cyber crime investigators courses that you can take to broaden your knowledge of cyber crime. Expanding your knowledge on this topic does show you a different side of the world that many people are unaware of, but with the right skill set, you can play a vital role in combating crimes all around the globe.
If you aren’t sure whether this is the right career path, you can always take a cyber crime investigator course that provides a closer look at these investigators and how they perform in their roles. There are many courses to choose from, so it’s important to look for ones with good reviews. Also, look for ones that exist within actual training or degree programs. This way, if you do decide to continue your training, the course will count toward a certificate or diploma. Keep track of all the hours you spend outside a formal setting learning or combating cyber crime. You can list this experience on resumes and discuss it during job interviews.
Some employers may want you to be a certified cyber crime investigator in order to work for them. Receiving certification will most likely give you more career options and may even help you earn more money upon your initial hiring. It definitely helps when asking for a raise.