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Computer Forensic Agent

colleges offer programs related to this career near Ashburn, VA

Career Overview

With cybercrime on the rise, very few detectives are trained to use computers and technology to conduct a criminal investigation. Luckily, computer forensic agents are specifically trained to gather evidence and investigate leads using computers and the internet.Computer forensic agents, sometimes called forensic computer examiners or digital forensic analysts, specialize in computer-based crimes. And even though hacking and cybercrime are a big part of that, many physical crimes in the real world are often linked to online criminal activity. If anything related to computers or technology comes up during an investigation, it'll be your job to get any data or evidence you can find. This might involve tracing an IP address through the internet, tracking a person's online activities, and searching through credit card statements. But a lot of this is much easier said than done. These tasks can often take hours, even days at a time, all just to find one piece of information. Though the work might seem long and tedious, it's all worth it if you're able to help close the case and make the right conviction.Even though it's s a relatively new field, computer forensics has already become one of the most important aspects of criminal justice. It's the perfect intersection of technology and law enforcement. If you're good with computers and want to put the bad guys behind bars, then this might just be the career path you've been looking for.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$57,850
15,070
16.8 %
Virginia
$68,120
430
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Forensics, Computer Science, Information Technology, or related fields

Every employer requires a different level of education, but in the end, the education you need depends on how far you want to go in the field. If you're looking for something at the entry level, you can mostly get away with just an associate's degree, but many employers look for applicants with at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming. But if you're looking to move up the career ladder, you might need to earn your master's degree, as well as gain some investigative experience.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Quantitative Abilities
Problem-Solving Skills
Computer Skills
Detail Oriented.

Work Environment

Being a computer forensic agent can sometimes be very demanding. You might expect typical business hours, but it can often run longer than that, depending on how much computer work is needed for the case. And more often than not, the work you would be doing might not always be the most exciting. You might have to spend a lot of time simply reading through stacks of computer activity logs looking for one, tiny little needle in that huge haystack.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013