Apprentice forensic computer analysts help investigate computer-related crimes (cybercrime), including data breaches, security lapses, and other online criminal behaviour.
As a forensic computer analyst, you will use specialised software and other methods to preserve, retrieve, and analyse data connected to various criminal activities.
Data saved on personal or commercial PCs, tablets, mobile phones, the cloud, and flash drives might be the subject of your investigations.
You might work for the police or other law enforcement agencies, a computer forensic company or investigative team, or a large enterprise such as a bank.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- investigate hacking, fraud and theft
- research political, industrial and commercial espionage
- track terrorist communications and other illegal activities
- secure IT systems and hardware to protect them from security threats
- recover and secure data
- analyse mobile phone records to track location
- follow electronic data trails
- document each stage of the investigation
- present technical findings and evidence.
- Typical starting salaries for apprentice forensic computer analysts range from around £21,000 to £25,000 a year.
- With experience, you can earn £30,000 to £45,000 a year.
- Analysts can earn up to £80,000 in more senior roles.
Working hours are typically 35 to 40 hours per week; however, you must be adaptable since particular hours may change based on the kind of project or inquiry you are working on.
Some organisations need round-the-clock coverage, with staff working on a call-out schedule to react rapidly to incidents involving information and cyber security and criminal activity.
You could work in a court, in an office or at a client’s business.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice forensic computer analyst include:
- Level 4 Cyber Security Technologist – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification takes 24 months to complete.
On a forensic computer analyst apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- 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
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications.
Among the primary employers are law enforcement agencies and computer forensic businesses that specialise in digital forensic investigations.
Any business or organisation exposed to security incidents and data breaches may benefit from computer forensics.
There is a high need for digital forensic experts, and job prospects are plentiful, particularly if you are willing to travel.
Because of cybercrime’s fast-paced and ever-changing nature, you’ll need to remain current on industry innovations and be prepared to learn new investigative tactics and technologies.
Your firm may encourage and support you in pursuing forensic computing training and certification in techniques, tools, and software. FTK, Data Recovery, Expert Witness, Forensic Toolkit, Encase, XRY, Cellebrite, X-Ways, and ISO 17025 and ISO 27001 certification are all options.
As you acquire more experience and expand your abilities via professional development courses and applicable industry certifications, you may rise to a senior analyst post, heading a team of analysts and associated workers and ultimately becoming head of security. With expertise, you can work for yourself as a security consultant.