Information security analysts ensure their employers' digital information remains safe from hackers. Typical job duties include maintaining firewalls, examining breaches' causes, and keeping up to date with IT best practices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the need for these workers to grow 31% from 2019-2029, more than seven times the median projected growth rate for all U.S. careers.
These professionals enjoy not just a strong job market but also a median salary exceeding $103,000 annually. Learners enter the computer security field by earning a bachelor's in computer forensics. Fortunately, numerous reputable colleges and universities offer this degree entirely online.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Forensics
Is there a high demand for expertise in computer forensics?
The BLS projects strong growth in the computer forensics field from 2019-2029. However, changing economic conditions may affect the need for information security analysts.
What is the difference between computer security and computer forensics?
Although professionals in both fields possess a similar skill set, computer security experts protect networks from hackers. Computer forensics professionals analyze why breaches happened and how to prevent future attacks.
What forensic job makes the most money?
A career offering a high salary includes computer and information systems manager. These professionals oversee other IT workers' job duties and earn a median salary exceeding $150,000.
Why Get a Degree in Computer Forensics?
An online computer forensics degree offers multiple advantages, such as numerous lucrative career opportunities. A bachelor's degree also allows students to explore other academic topics, such as the humanities, mathematics, and the natural sciences. These courses help learners develop in-demand transferable skills employers expect applicants to possess. Some degree-seekers with broad academic interests pursue a minor.
Online degrees open up higher education to learners who could not otherwise attend college. Asynchronous learning allows students to schedule assignments and lectures around working full time or raising children. Other advantages include exploring top bachelor's in computer forensics programs throughout the country.
How Much Does a Computer Forensics Degree Cost?
A bachelor's in computer forensics' tuition depends on whether learners attend an in-state or out-of-state public school. Many public colleges and universities charge out-of-state students a much higher tuition rate than in-state degree-seekers. However, some public schools attract applicants by charging all students the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Typical learners at a private school pay the most for their online computer forensics degree.
Online Learning Benefits
Online learning features many financial benefits, such as not paying for on-campus housing or meals. Learners save money on commuting costs. Students with small children need not hire a babysitter or childcare service while in school, allowing them to put more money toward education-related expenses.
Some universities charge major-specific fees. Learners identify these fees by researching a school's undergraduate tuition or a bachelor's in computer forensics program website. Financial aid advisors, too, provide prospective students with this information while helping them determine their financial aid needs.
Additional Online Student Fees for Computer Forensics
Learners earning an online computer forensics degree need a computer capable of meeting their school's minimum technology requirements. A laptop or desktop must include a microphone, camera, and enough processing power to run industry-leading software suites. Other technology-related expenses include a stable internet connection.
Other student fees include textbooks. Prospective learners on a budget should research programs offering free textbooks and schools including course materials in tuition costs. Learners should also budget for a graduation fee and industry certifications.
How Much Do Computer Forensics Majors Make?
Many factors influence salary, including the employer. Information security analysts working for an information, finance, or insurance company earn $2,000-$8,000 more annually than their peers employed by a management or support services organization. However, information security analysts in all industries make more than professionals in computer occupations.
Aspiring analysts should not ignore a geographic location's role in determining salary. Information security analysts in California, New York, and New Jersey make approximately $20,000 more than their profession's median salary. Positions in Washington, D.C. and Virginia also pay well. However, professionals in these locations may experience a high cost of living, especially if they reside in a large metropolitan area.
Workers with a bachelor's in computer forensics increase their salary potential through professional enrichment. Some companies reserve management-level positions for employees with a graduate degree. Other options include earning one or more professional certifications, as they demonstrate mastery of industry best practices.
Courses in Computer Forensics
Online computer forensics degrees emphasize computer ethics, logic and design, information ordering, and digital crime evidence and procedure. Some colleges train students for the job hunt by requiring a career development course. Typical programs conclude with a senior capstone project wherein learners demonstrate their skills and professional growth by developing a product.
The following sample curriculum introduces three typical core courses that degree-seekers take as part of their program's major curriculum. Please remember that course and graduation requirements vary by college. Speak with an enrollment counselor to learn more about their school's bachelor's in computer forensics, the student experience, and graduate outcomes.
Digital Forensic Analysis
Digital forensic analysis introduces degree-seekers to the legal and technical knowledge computer forensic experts must possess. Topics cover evidence handling best practices, different forensic software suites, and forensic image creation. Students implement what they learn in digital forensic analysis in advanced courses and on the job.
Introduction to Operating Systems
This technical course emphasizes Windows and Linux fundamentals, basic programming, and user interfaces. Information security analysts use these skills to monitor computer networks and respond to threats. Other course topics cover backup and recovery, two technologies allowing professionals to preserve data. Typical introduction to operating systems courses do not require prerequisites.
Information security analysts must understand how hackers think and operate. Ethical hacking features coursework in security vulnerabilities and penetration testing. Professionals perform the latter on their company's servers to evaluate security measures' reliability. Learning outcomes include the ability to secure data storage and networks from hackers.
How to Become an Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Students interested in this career major in programming, computer science, information assurance, or a related field. Some positions require a master's degree, such as an MBA with a concentration in information systems.
Top positions require professional experience in addition to a computer forensics bachelor's degree. Career counselors help students explore their career goals and research relevant entry-level jobs.
Students prepare for a successful job hunt by honing their analytical and problem-solving skills. Some employers ask applicants to demonstrate these skills during an interview, such as by solving a hypothetical problem.
Certifications and Licensure for Computer Forensics
Information security analysts earn certifications to show their value to employers. Typical requirements include possessing relevant experience and passing an exam. Workers maintain their certification by taking continuing education courses. Professionals unsure about which certification may benefit them the most should speak with a supervisor or human resources manager.
CCSPs use their knowledge and skills to protect their employers' data and digital infrastructure. Candidates must possess at least five years of paid work experience and agree to a four-point code of ethics. The certification exam features questions on cloud concepts, data security, and cloud security operations.
CISSP appeals to chief information officers, security analysts, and IT managers with at least five years of experience. Candidates prepare for the certification exam by taking a self-paced course covering asset security and security operations. Some candidates purchase additional study materials, such as textbooks. CISSPs maintain their certification by paying an annual fee.
Cybersecurity professionals with at least one year of experience pursue the SSCP. The comprehensive exam assesses candidates' mastery of access controls, incident response and recovery, and network and communications security. Candidates prepare for the exam by taking a virtual or in-person course. Those who pass the exam undergo a background check.
Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics
#1 Online Computer Forensics Degrees
SUNY at Albany
- Albany, NY
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
SUNY at Albany's online bachelor of science in forensic criminology program benefits distance learners seeking career advancement. With a main campus in Albany, New York, the school delivers academic programs in various fields.
The online program offers a high-quality learning experience with flexible scheduling options. This flexibility can help busy learners complete degree requirements. Online degree candidates can engage with peers and develop lasting professional connections. Most undergraduate degree-seekers can graduate from a bachelor's program in four years of full-time study.
Online learners benefit from affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce their financial burden. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Financial aid counseling can help students reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#2 Online Computer Forensics Degrees
Dakota State University
- Madison, SD
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Learners interested in computer forensics can pursue the bachelor's in computer forensics from Dakota State University in a flexible online format. In addition to educating students at its Madison, South Dakota, campus, the public institution enrolls students in 37 online programs. Among the school's online offerings are 13 online bachelor's programs.
The virtual classroom environment allows distance learners to complete coursework from anywhere. Students complete core major classes and specialized courses. General education requirements help degree-seekers develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Gaining professional experience during internships can benefit graduates applying for positions in their field.
A leader in online education, the school supports distance learners through academic advising, online tutoring, and career services. At the accredited institution, students who demonstrate financial need can qualify for federal aid. Financial aid counseling can help students explore options for reducing out-of-pocket expenses, including loans, scholarships, and grants.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission