Forensic computer analyst

Alternative titles for this job include Cyber security professional

Forensic computer analysts investigate computer-based crime (cyber crime).

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become a Forensic computer analyst

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly and getting training on the job


You'll need to study a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in subjects like:

  • forensic computing and security
  • computer science
  • cyber security

Courses with industry placements will help you develop your skills.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information


You could also start with an advanced apprenticeship as an infrastructure technician.

Tech Partnership also has a range of cyber security apprenticeships, including some at degree level.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

More information


You could start work as an IT support technician, network engineer or developer after doing GCSEs or A levels and work your way up while taking industry qualifications.

More information

Further information

The Chartered Institute for IT has information about qualifications and training.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • This job requires a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on the type of organisation you work for and could include the investigation of:

  • hacking, online scams and fraud
  • political, industrial and commercial espionage
  • terrorist communications
  • possession of illegal pornography
  • theft of sensitive company information

Your first task on a project will be to secure the IT system or hardware so it can't be tampered with. Using forensic methods and specialist computer programs, your further tasks could include:

  • finding, recovering and copying data from disks that may have been hidden, encrypted or damaged
  • revealing digital images that have been altered to mask the identity of a place or person
  • analysing mobile phone records to trace devices to a particular location
  • following electronic data trails to uncover links between individuals or groups
  • carefully documenting each stage of your investigation
  • presenting technical findings to managers, law enforcement organisations and clients

Working environment

You could work in a court, in an office or at a client's business.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior analyst, head of security or security consultant.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

GSK Cyber Security Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £16,500.00 Annually
  • Location: Brentford TW8 9GS

Cyber Security Apprentice

  • Wage : £15,750.00 Annually
  • Location: TA1 4DB

Courses In England

Forensic Computing and Cyber Security

  • Provider: Gloucestershire College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: CHELTENHAM

Forensic Computing and Cyber Security

  • Provider: Gloucestershire College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Gloucestershire

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