Salary and Career Info for Cybercrime Specialists

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cybercrime specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and training requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Cybercrime specialists, also known as computer security specialists, are experts in using computer and digital forensics to help fight cybercrime. Depending on the position, educational requirements these positions vary from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree. Computer skills are also needed, and training is sometimes required.

Required Education High school diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Computer skills,
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 37% for information security analysts, 2% for detectives and criminal investigators, 11% for private detectives and investigators
Median Annual Salary $64,349 for computer security specialists (2014)**, $76,730 for detectives and criminal investigators (2013)*, $46,250 for private detectives and investigators (2013)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

Salary Information for Cybercrime Specialists

As of September 2014, PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for computer security specialists was $64,349. Detectives and investigators may also specialize in Internet crime. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2013, detectives and criminal investigators in general earned a median salary of $76,730 and private detectives and investigators earned $46,250 (www.bls.gov).

Career Information for Cybercrime Specialists

Specializing in cybercrime allows cybercrime professionals to acquire skills in computer technology and digital forensics. Cybercrime specialists can expand their career by taking other positions, such as computer-digital examiner or computer systems specialist. Usually, no formal degree is required. Financial institutions, Internet providers, software developers, and other small to large businesses employ them. Government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security, also employ detectives, investigators or agents specifically for cybercrime investigations.

Job Outlook

As technology evolves, the need for more Internet and computer security increases. According to the BLS, job growth for information security analysts is expected to increase faster than average from 2012 to 2022, at 37%, as companies - private and public - try to stay ahead of cybercrime. An increase of only two percent from 2012-2022 for detective and criminal investigator positions was forecasted from the BLS. Private detectives and investigators may also specialize as computer forensic investigators. The BLS predicts an 11% increase in job opportunities for private detectives and investigators from 2012 to 2022.

Educational Requirements

Though there is no formal degree requirement among most employers, taking educational and training courses can increase the chances for employment. Certificate programs and college degree programs that teach cybercrime and computer forensics are available through community colleges and technical schools. Typical courses would include some of the following:

  • Computer operating concepts
  • Criminal justice and procedures
  • Operating microcomputers
  • Technology in cybercrime

Students can choose to major in computer and digital forensics and earn a two-year associate's degree. Some of the courses may include some of the following:

  • Cyberlaw
  • Mathematics
  • Cyber Forensics
  • Physics

Students can expand their career opportunities by earning a bachelor's degree, such as the B.S. in Cybercrime Investigation. This could increase employment opportunities to federal agencies such as the FBI. Federal agencies generally require a bachelor's degree and prior work experience for employment. Employment by the FBI also requires candidates to complete an 18-week training program, according to the BLS.

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