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Pros and Cons of Computer Forensics Jobs

Computer forensics jobs give you the opportunity to track down criminals digitally for a living. Before embarking upon a career, it's important to look at the pros and cons.


Getting a career in forensics always seems glamorous on paper, because you’re literally responsible for the catching and capturing of criminals in some way shape or form.  With so many Hollywood movies and TV shows dedicated to what you would be doing, there seems to be a lot of glitz and glamour that should make for a really exciting work environment.  But that’s not always the case with your average computer forensics jobs, which is something you have to be prepared for before taking on the work that it takes to become one.  With any career there are going to be pros and cons, and it’s important that you understand those, before you sign up for any sort of job.

Basically that means you want to really get an understanding of whether or not this is the career for you, by weighing those positives and negatives together.  So to start off with, here are some pros that you’re going to find with this type of a career path:

                -Varied interesting work.

One of the major positives of most computer forensics jobs, is that they entail a lot of interesting and new challenges, as you attempt to track criminals in all sorts of different ways.  One day, you could be going through a database looking for clues as to how or when something was accessed.  Another day you could end up trying to pull any data that you possibly can find off of a hard drive that’s been through a fire.  That means you’ll never be short of challenges, and other such interesting dilemmas.

                -Plenty of career options.

Whether you’re looking to work for a government agency, or in the private sector, there are a ton of positions for those with a computer forensics degree.  You’ll find that they are in really high demand with some high ranking agencies like the FBI as well as CIA, and then there are also the need for experts on local police forces as well.  But many corporations also employ forensic experts as well, for internal corporate investigations.

                -Decent salary career outlook.

Another thing that you’re going to find, is that you’re almost guaranteed to get a good salary, even as a starting forensics expert.  Most jobs are going to start you off at $40,000 a year, and the salaries go up from there.  For the really expert technicians, you can pull down close to six figures with the right certification and job history, leaving plenty of opportunities for success.

And alongside those great positive opportunities offered by computer forensics jobs, here are some of the negatives to watch out for:

                -Difficult career path.

You’re going to find that the road to becoming an expert in the field is really complicated.  That’s because you require a specialized computer forensics degree, so you’re going to have to learn the trade for at least a four year bachelor’s degree.  But it’s important to note that most corporations and other jobs require that you have a masters degree to really become eligible.

                -Tedious work.

While the work can be carried and a lot of fun, the vast majority of computer forensics jobs are going to be pretty boring and tedious.  It’s mostly a study in going throughout files slowly, so that you can sweep without missing anything.  What’s more, it can be a study of the smallest details, which take a lot of time and effort for you to be able to pick out, making it one of the more boring computer activities to have to do at times.

                -Major background checks required for most jobs.

Another huge facet of any sorts of computer forensics jobs, is that they require some pretty serious background investigations.  This is especially true if you hope to join the FBI or the CIA.  For either type of position, you can expect literally everyone in your family, as well as most of the people you know, even past teachers and employers to be interviewed about you.  This way they can ascertain that you’re not a threat, and that you can be trusted to be employed at such a position. Not everyone is comfortable with this, so you have to be prepared to give up a big part of your privacy to really land the best jobs.

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