Digital forensics analyst careers

What is a digital forensics analyst? 

Have you ever wondered what a digital forensics analyst is, how much a digital forensics analyst earns, or how you can get your first job as a digital forensic analyst? Here is a quick overview of the digital forensics career path and its promising job outlook!   

Digital forensic analysts are part of an organization’s investigation and cybersecurity teams. Their primary role is to analyze data related to security incidents and gather evidence for legal use. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for digital forensics professionals is projected to grow by 32 % between 2022 and 2032. 

Digital forensics analyst careers

What does a digital forensic analyst do?

A digital forensics analyst, also known as a computer or cyber forensics analyst, is responsible for extracting and analyzing data from digital devices. They follow strict chain-of-custody rules and present the retrieved evidence in legally acceptable formats. In smaller organizations, they often wear multiple hats and may go by a more general title, such as computer forensic expert. Larger firms have entire teams focusing exclusively on digital forensics, so you'll likely find the digital forensic analyst title in these organizations. 


Digital forensic analyst job roles  

Digital forensic analysts work in both the private and public sectors. They work as consultants and as employees in the following roles. 

Related jobs and NICE roles: 

  • Incident handler
  • Incident response engineer 
  • Incident response analyst 
  • Incident response coordinator 
  • Computer security incident response team engineer 
  • Computer network defense incident responder 
  • Digital forensics and incident response analyst 

NICE work roles: 

  • Cyber defense forensics analyst 
  • Cyber crime investigator 
  • Cyber defense incident responder 

Digital forensics analyst job description 

A digital forensics analyst performs critical tasks such as capturing data from various digital devices and analyzing it to solve cases. They rely on many digital forensics tools to perform their duties.

According to Infosec Skills author and Paraben founder Amber Schroader, this role involves "capturing all the data" and then "doing the analytics" to answer the who, what, when and where questions. Your day will be split between imaging devices and analyzing data to pinpoint wrongdoings. 

Soft skills matter, too. Schroader notes you need to be "a really good writer" to translate your findings into clear reports. 

So, how technical is digital forensics? Watch Infosec Skills Author Robert McMillen and learn more about the skills you'll need and the difference between working as a forensic employee and a contractor.


Digital forensic analyst FAQs

A digital forensic analyst is a mid-level role within cybersecurity. These professionals rely on insights from others, so digital forensic analysts may work alongside SOC analysts, incident responders,  information security managers, security engineers and more. 

What is computer forensics?

Computer forensics is the practice of collecting and saving digital evidence from electronic devices. First, forensic experts make a secure copy of the data. Then, they look for important clues that can aid police and lawyers in settling court cases.   

When it comes to cybersecurity, this work is vital. Even with good firewalls, hackers can get in. Computer forensics professionals help find out what happened. They look for hidden data that's not easy to find. Their findings help make the system safer and can prove what happened in court.   

How long does it take to become a computer forensic analyst?

It usually takes 5-6 years for an aspiring computer forensics analyst to meet the criteria for entering the field. A bachelor's degree in computer forensics, cybersecurity, or a comparable field is the first step and takes four years to complete. After that, candidates typically need one to two years of professional experience in the cyber-digital field.  

How much does a digital forensics analyst make?

The average digital security forensic analyst salary salary for all digital forensics analysts lies between $59,000 and $132,000. Considering factors like education, certifications, years of professional experience, skills and location, salary ranges can vary widely. 

What is cryptology and how does it relate to digital forensics?

Cryptology involves creating and solving secure communication codes. In digital forensics, encryption methods can hide data, while cryptanalysis techniques help investigators decrypt and analyze that data. 

As a digital forensics analyst, you can use cryptology to both protect and uncover digital evidence. Cryptography keeps your data secure during an investigation. Meanwhile, cryptanalysis helps you decode encrypted information crucial to your case. 

What are a digital forensics investigator’s daily responsibilities?

The daily duties of a computer forensics investigator can vary based on the organization and sector they work in. Here are some of the common tasks they perform: 

  • Retrieve data from physical and virtual devices using specialized software.
  • Collect evidence of unauthorized network activities for identifying potential data breaches.
  • Reconstruct digital events to understand the cause and impact of a security incident.
  • Identify vulnerabilities in digital assets and recommend preventive security measures.
  • Maintain the chain of custody when collecting and storing digital evidence for legal cases.
  • Investigate file metadata to determine when and how data was accessed or modified.
  • Collaborate with law enforcement, legal departments, HR and compliance teams.
  • Assess current cybersecurity measures and recommend strategies for risk mitigation. 
Where can I find digital forensics jobs?

Wondering where to find digital forensics analyst jobs? You can search all of the popular job boards for "digital forensics analyst" — or related names like "security analyst" or "cyber forensics analyst." Find jobs here: Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and CareerBuilder.

There are also cybersecurity-focused job websites like, ClearedJobs and others.

Join Cybersecurity groups like ISSAISACA or Women in Cybersecurity to network, learn and find job openings. You can also attend local meetups or connect with other cybersecurity professionals on popular cybersecurity discussion boards.

How to become a digital forensics analyst

Becoming a digital forensics analyst requires a firm grasp of computer systems and networks. Hands-on experience is also crucial, as you'll need to understand technical processes deeply to perform well in this role. 


Digital forensic analyst requirements 

Becoming a digital forensics analyst requires a unique blend of skills. While proficiency in digital forensics tools like Faraday technology is essential, soft skills shouldn't be underestimated.  

Ondrej Krehel, a seasoned professional in digital forensics, emphasizes that you also need to be emotionally and intellectually balanced. He notes that "resilience under pressure is crucial, especially in government roles.”  

Krehel also emphasizes the importance of being a balanced team player who can handle heavy workloads to be successful in this rewarding career. Krehel explains in this short video, Skills needed to enter digital forensics in government.

Digital forensic analyst certifications 

If you're gearing up for a career as a certified cyber forensics professional, you'll need experience and certifications. See a few popular certifications below: 

DFI Forensics founder Tyler Hatch holds a CCFE and CMFE. Watch How to stand out and get hired in digital forensics for his job search and career advice. 


Digital forensics analyst interview questions 

Prospective employers might schedule an interview shortly after you've applied for digital forensics analyst positions. To be ready, prepare answers to likely interview questions in advance. 

  • Why is digital forensics important?
  • What data sources are typically used during investigations?
  • What is MD5 checksum?
  • What is an .ISO file?
  • What are some tools used to recover deleted files?
  • What are some common port numbers?
  • Explain digital forensics in your own words.
  • Name some common encryption algorithms that are used to encrypt data. 

Read our computer forensics interview Q&A article for the answers. For more tips, download our ebook: Cybersecurity interview tips: How to stand out, get hired and advance your career. 

Digital forensics analyst courses

Live digital forensic analyst boot camps and on-demand digital forensics analyst courses provide expert, guided instruction to build your knowledge and skills. A few popular options are listed below: 

Free & self-study digital forensics resources

Starting a career in digital forensics can seem tough. But remember, even the experts had to start somewhere. Begin by learning the basics of the field. Technical know how and tools are important, but curiosity and problem-solving skills are also key. Work on improving your writing and speaking, as you'll need to explain your findings clearly. If you stay focused and put in the effort, you can build a successful career in digital forensics.   

Want more career advice? Watch the Cyber Work Podcast or read these popular articles: