Criminal Justice Degree Career Options – Cyber Forensics

Do you have a love for technology and criminal justice? If so, then a career in cyber forensics may be your ideal choice. This dynamic and essential criminal justice career works closely with law enforcement agencies to retrieve vital information within computers and other digital environments. Due to the increase of computers in our society, the need for well-trained and talented cyber forensic professionals is on the rise. While this profession requires specialized training, the job outlook and average salary are well worth any additional training outside of a criminal justice degree.

Job Functions of a Cyber Forensic Analysts

When a digital crime occurs, or even a physical crime, cyber forensic analysts are called in to extract and investigate data gathered from digital storage devices and computers. The basic purpose of this job is to gather digital evidence to help clarify a crime. Based upon their findings, this evidence is then used for either the prosecution or defense in a criminal case. There are many times when a digital data is destroyed in an attempt to cover up a crime. Cyber forensic analysts are trained to recover damaged and lost data to help rebuild the digital landscape of a crime.

Once data is retrieved from its host, the cyber forensic analyst combs through this gathered information with the primary goal of detailing their findings in reports, which are used by law enforcement officers and attorneys to help clarify any situation that’s involved in a case. These professionals are also required to give their testimony of their findings in court cases for either the prosecution or defense. This professional-level career requires consistent training on the latest methodologies and technologies to gather digital information according to They must also be comfortable training others on how to handle and safeguard computer/digital evidence.

Salary Outlook for Cyber Forensic Analysts

While the exact starting salary for this professional can vary based upon the industry and employer, the U.S. Department of Labor states the average starting salary for this position in 2014 is between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. However, as you advanced in your experience, or if you obtain advanced-level degrees, this salary will increase. The highest paid cyber forensic analysts are those who work for private firms. Once you work your way up to senior management positions within digital security consulting firms, you can bring home anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 per year.