How Do You Get a Job as a Cybercrime Investigator?

Cybercrime InvestigatorAdvancements in information technology (IT) have allowed computer security professionals to remain only steps ahead of cyber criminals, and an IT professional who wants to get a job as a cybercrime investigator has plenty of open options. Nearly all businesses use networked computers to accomplish activities for critical operations and back office support. The data generated, collected, processed and stored by these organizations attract cyber thieves of all types. Subsequently, every organization is vulnerable to attack. Cybercrime investigators help to deter negative security incidences by solving crimes that are conducted in cyber space and gathering feedback from those cases that will help secure networks from future attacks. Here are some steps that it takes to become a cybercrime investigator as well as an overview of job prospects for these investigators.

Education and Training Required

One of the first steps needed to gain employment in cybercrime investigation is to earn an undergraduate degree. Most professionals wo-rking in the career field either have broad based computer related degrees in areas such as computer science, computer engineering and information systems. Others have degrees in more focused computer topics like network engineering, information security and information assurance and forensics. The trend is for undergraduates to gain the broad skills needed for entry level cyber security job functions like programming, database management and knowledge of network systems. These skills are most commonly taught within computer science degree programs. Undergraduates who want to prepare early for cybercrime positions also consider a minor in accounting which will enhance their investigative skills into financial related cybercrimes. Seasoned IT professionals who already have a broad based computing degree often cross train into the cybercrime investigation field via an advanced degree in a specialized area like information assurance. These degree programs give practitioners a competitive edge because they build upon the technical competencies that are learned during undergraduate school and in more junior level job positions. Graduates with advanced degrees in these security focused programs often develop specialized technical, policy making and management skills that relate directly to senior level cybercrime investigator positions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which is a major employer of cybercrime investigators also has several training programs for their agents who want to specialize in this career field. Cybercrime investigators must understand how computers and networks operate as well as how their operations get compromised in order to effectively apply computer forensic techniques.

Professional Certifications

Another way that cybercrime investigators set themselves apart from the competition is by gaining industry recognized certifications in their field. Some of the popular ones for cybercrime investigators include the Certified Cybercrime Investigator credential that is administered by the International Fraternity of Cybercrime Investigators (IFCI), Certified Computer Hacker Forensics Investigator, Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst and Certified Fraud Examiner. These certifications verify that practitioners have skills relating to identifying network attacks, conducting fraud investigative analysis and evaluating application security. Prospective cybercrime investigators may choose to pair these specialized certifications with a broad based undergraduate computing degree program in lieu of more expensive advanced degree programs.

Employment Outlook for Cybercrime Investigators

Jobs in cybercrime investigation are expected to grow faster than the average for all jobs. Two of the main ways that prospective investigators obtain employment in this specialized field is to apply for an FBI internship and network within professional associations like the IFCI and the Association of Fraud Examiners.

Related Resource: Information Assurance


Because there is a widespread demand for cybercrime investigators in both the public and private sectors, these IT professionals have opportunities to work with stakeholders in various industries. For example, if they get a job as a cybercrime investigator, they can help shut down financial scams, foil international espionage plans within the defense industry, stop privacy infringement or thwart industrial spying in corporations.