How to Become a Cybercrime Agent:
The Definitive Guide


Are you into computers, crime, or safety?

Do you ace any puzzle you can get your hands on?

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then you may want to think about a career as a cybercrime agent.

The world is becoming even more technology-focused every day, having a leg up in the digital world will get you far in your career and in life.

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What is a Cybercrime Agent?

Though a cybercrime agent may go by many different names, computer forensic investigators, specialists or what have you, they all do the same thing.

These intelligent computer wizards are tasked with the job of uncovering and describing information found on computer systems, hard drives, CDs, and other digital storage devices.

People in this field can find work in organizations like the government, accounting firms, banks, software companies, law firms, the list goes on.

Due to the nature of the field, there is quite a lot that goes into becoming a cybercrime agent.

You’ll need to earn a Bachelor’s degree and become certified before you can get a job.

Duties

As a cybercrime agent, you will be tasked with providing information about what is going on on the internet.

Some of the duties that you may experience can include:

  • Protect computer systems
  • Recover deleted or encrypted files
  • Analyze data
  • Provide reports, feedback, and testimony when required

You must be knowledgeable about computers and forensics in order to do this job.

If you think that this sounds like fun, then keep on reading!


Salary

The average salary for a cybercrime agent in the United States as of 2019 is around $60,000 a year.

The range for this career can typically fall between roughly $56,000 and $66,000.

Depending on the amount of education you’ve completed, if you have any specializations or certifications, and how long you’ve worked in the business, you may see a difference in your salary.

Those individuals that have worked longer in the career and have special certifications will likely make more money than a person just started out in the career.

Another major component of the difference in pay grade is the community in which you work.

Those that work in larger communities will likely make more money than those that work in smaller communities.

Average National Salary: $60,000

$56K
$58K
$60K
$63K
$66K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
*Salary information last updated 2019

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$56,326
Alaska$67,387
Arizona$59,433
Arkansas$55,440
California$67,147
Colorado$59,933
Connecticut$65,043
Delaware$63,119
Florida$57,108
Georgia$58,160
Hawaii$63,071
Idaho$56,736
Illinois$61,737
Indiana$58,731
Iowa$57,529
Kansas$57,048
Kentucky$56,567
Louisiana$57,589
Maine$57,950
Maryland$61,981
Massachusetts$65,404
Michigan$60,162
Minnesota$61,496
Mississippi$52,299
Missouri$57,288
Montana$54,493
Nebraska$55,124
Nevada$61,616
New Hampshire$61,015
New Jersey$66,462
New Mexico$54,944
New York$64,502
North Carolina$57,348
North Dakota$56,447
Ohio$58,695
Oklahoma$56,507
Oregon$59,873
Pennsylvania$59,993
Rhode Island$63,360
South Carolina$56,266
South Dakota$51,457
Tennessee$54,613
Texas$59,030
Utah$56,953
Vermont$57,889
Virginia$59,753
Washington$64,201
West Virginia$53,261
Wisconsin$59,212
Wyoming$53,501

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $67,387

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $67,387
California - $67,147
New Jersey - $66,462
Massachusetts - $65,404
Connecticut - $65,043

How to Become a Cybercrime Agent

Step 1Earn Your Bachelors Degree

In order to become a cybercrime agent, you will have to obtain your Bachelor’s degree.

Although you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in a specific area, some of the majors you should consider are criminal justice, computer science, or cybersecurity.

Even before you get to college, you should start thinking about what types of classes you’ll need to take in high school to help you along your path.

Some classes you may want to consider are:

  • Foreign language
  • Computers and technology
  • Science classes

Each of these different subjects will give you certain skills that you’ll need for the job of a cybercrime agent.

Foreign language classes can help you learn what people in other countries may be doing to put you or your employer at risk.

Computers and technology classes will teach you the basics for the job, and science classes explain how different information can be used to collect data that is required.

Step 2Become an Intern

After you graduated from college with a Bachelors’s degree, you’re going to want to start an internship.

This is something that you may even be able to do while you are still in school.

Many government agencies offer internships, so if you are looking for something in that sector, you’ll want to contact your local government.

The FBI has a volunteer program and an internship where you can make money.

The Secret Service also has a volunteer program.

Aside from government agencies, you may be able to contact local banks, law firms, or software companies to see if they can help you with an internship.

An internship is used to gain experience and education in an everyday job.

Step 3Gain Experience

You are going to gain quite a lot of experience while working as an intern.

This doesn’t mean that you are going to walk right into a job and know everything that is needed to do the job right.

Some of the areas that you are going to want to gain experience in are accounting, computer science, finance, and information technology.

Having a broad range of knowledge can lead you to many different job opportunities.

Along with having the specialized experience, you are going to need around three years of work experience in order to become part of a special agent training program.

Step 4Special Agent Training

If you have always dreamed of being a member of the FBI, you may be able to get your chance.

The FBI has introduced a new agent training program.

Of course, there are extensive requirements to be selected for the program.

You’ll have to apply for the program, pass several written and verbal tests.

If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll have to train for 21 weeks before you can become a special agent.

Step 5Continue Your Education

Several different employers offer advanced courses and certifications in computer technology and other areas.

It may be wise to look into classes available through your employer.

Another great career path would be to return to school and obtain a Masters’s degree.

Having a Masters’s degree can help with job prospects as well.


Education

It may seem that it takes a while to become a cybercrime agent, but getting a good education is the foundation of this career.

In order to begin your career as a cybercrime agent, you’ll want to gain a Bachelors’s degree in computer forensics or a similar major.

It’s even promising to begin your college career at a community college, where it is possible to earn an Associates’ degree in computer forensics, and then move on to a bigger university to earn a Bachelors.

Some of the courses that you can expect to take in this field are:

  • Analysis of digital media
  • Computer and network security
  • Criminal evidence and investigation
  • Criminal law and procedure
  • Cybercrime
  • Ethics
  • Forensics

You’ll also gain hands-on experience in crime labs or other companies.

It is possible to become specialized in a specific area of cybercrime while in school, this can include:

  • Child pornography and internet child exploitation
  • Financial fraud
  • Hacking

Being a cybercrime agent is one of those fields in which you will constantly want to educate yourself.

Technology is everywhere, and it’s becoming more common every day.

This means that there is going to be a point in time when you’ll need to further your education to keep up with the changes in the world.

You can take individual classes to brush up on new developments in the world.

Or, you can even obtain a Masters’s degree so that job prospects are even greater.

If you begin with an Associates’s degree, this can take you around two years to finish.

A Bachelors’s degree will take around four years, but you can also earn a minor in another field that could help with your future.

Depending on the further education or Masters’s degree program you may take, the length of the programs differs.

Video About The Career


Certification

The growing need for cybersecurity means that there is a multitude of unique certifications you can obtain in order to further your career.

Certifications can be costly, as each one is around $350 to around $2,000, depending on which one you are interested in, and the amount of education that goes into it.

Let’s take a look at some of the different certifications that a cybercrime agent can receive:

  • Certified ethical hacker- this certification is offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants. This certificate ensures that the owner has excessive knowledge about hacking practices.
  • Certified Information Security Manager- This certificate is offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and explores the world of auditing and security.
  • GSEC: SANS GIAC Security essentials- This certification is an entry-level credential that will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of security terminology
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner- This certification includes cryptology, malicious coding, analyzing and monitoring, as well as communications and networks
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor- This certification is also given out by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. With this certification, you can work on information systems that include implementation, acquisition, operations, development, auditing, and maintenance.

There are many more types of certifications that someone interested in a cybercrime agent career can access.

Each certification can offer you the opportunity for better job placement.

Keep in mind that you will need to become recertified after a specific number of years.

Each certification is different depending on new developments in the industry.

Certifications can be a great way to get your foot in the door, but the best thing you can do in this type of career is to gain as much experience as possible.

The more experience that you have to work on computers, the easier it will be for you to find employment.

However, certifications show that you are competent in the field and are serious about the occupation you are in.

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

Many of the certifications that you will acquire as a cybercrime agent require you to take an exam to show your expertise.

Training programs can take from two weeks to a month, depending on what certification you are going for.

It’s also important to remember that you will need to become re-certified after a number of years.

That number varies depending on the certification that you receive, so you’ll want to inquire with the organization you are certified with.

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Job Outlook

The job outlook for a cybercrime agent as of 2019 looks incredible.

This career is expected to grow around 32 percent in the next ten years.

This is much faster than many other careers in the same field.

The use of technology to attack users has become much more prevalent.

Banks and financial institutions are using cybercrime agents to increase security, and this is something that will continue to grow as the years go on.

With the expansion of electronic medical records used in hospitals, patient privacy is a large concern.

This means that companies are going to hire people who can ensure the safety and security of their digital documents.

Employment Growth Projection: 32%

112,300
2016
147,700
2026

That's a higher than average projected growth of 35,400 jobs.

Cybercrime Agent: Interest Over Time


Should you become a Cybercrime Agent?

Overall Satisfaction

Overall Satisfaction: High

For most cybercrime agents, the job they do is very satisfying.

Not only do they get to do what they love, working with computers, but they also get to keep the company, or country, that they work for, safe.

However, the hours can be long, which can be strenuous for anyone.

Also, certain situations may make it difficult to do the job the way it was intended.

The continual changes in the career are also an issue for many cybercrime agents.

Average Salary

Average Salary: High

On average in the United States, a cybercrime agent can make around $60,000 a year.

It is possible to make up to $66,000 a year, and as little as $54,000 a year.

When you start out in this career, you will likely make less than someone who has worked in the field for a while.

Certifications and experience can get you to the higher tier of the yearly salary.

Salary can also vary depending on if you work for a private company, the government, or another public sector.

Job Growth Outlook

Job Growth Outlook: High

Within the next ten years, the career cybercrime agent is looking to grow over 30 percent.

The use of technology is rising, every day people use computers, phones, tablets, watches, and so on in order to communicate with each other around the world.

This trend is not going to end any time soon, so having a career as a cybercrime agent is perfect job security.

Banks, hospitals, doctor’s offices, government buildings, and many more places are using cybercrime agents to keep their records safe.

Education Duration

Education Duration: 4+ Years

The education in order to become a cybercrime agent can take some time.

In order to work as a cybercrime agent, you will at least have to have a Bachelor’s degree.

Many people decide to get their Masters’s degree as well.

This means that education can take anywhere from four years and beyond.

Certifications and specializations may take a year or more as well.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

The job of a cybercrime agent is one that needs specific people.

Some of the personal skills that you’ll need to have in order to do well in this job include:

  • Technical aptitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding of law and criminal investigation
  • Comprehension of cybersecurity
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Desire to learn

It takes a special person to become a cybercrime agent, one that cares about their community and the people in it.

This career can be very taxing, as you’ll spend a lot of time on the computer.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a cybercrime agent?

Cybercrime agents work with certain companies using computer skills and special agent training to investigate cybercrimes and to make sure that their companies security is top-notch.

A cybercrime agent is someone who needs to be very knowledgeable about computers.

Not only do you need to understand computers, you must enjoy working on them as well.

As a cybercrime agent, you’ll work to secure your companies data.

You can work in fields like the government, FBI, in hospitals, doctor’s offices, as well as banks.

If you have a background in computer programming, security, database administration, malware analysis, digital forensics or ethical hacking you could be a great asset as a cybercrime agent.

Q. How much does a cybercrime agent make?

As of 2019 in the United States, a cybercrime agent can make around $60,000 a year on average.

If you are just starting out in your career as a cybercrime agent, you likely won’t make that much.

Those that start out with little experience can expect to make around $56,000.

People with more experience, certifications, and specializations can make up to $66,000 or more.

If you work in the government for the FBI, you will likely make more money than a cybercrime agent who works for a bank.

Check around your area and in jobs that you apply for to see the range of salary in your state.

Q. How much does it cost to become a cybercrime agent?

In order to become a cybercrime agent, you must obtain a Bachelors’s degree.

Typically, it costs upwards of $35,000 to acquire a degree.

Most colleges may even cost more.

If you would like to become certified in different specializations, this can cost anywhere from $350 per exam to $2,000 per exam.

Also, it may be beneficial to gain a Masters’s degree as well.

This can cost another $50,000 to $100,000.

Though it may not be the cheapest career to get into, it’s a very important one that needs educated people.

Q. What is the demand for cybercrime agents?

There is a high demand for cybercrime agents.

The world is becoming more and more digital every day.

We spend nearly half of our day, if not more, on the internet in some way.

In order to feel safe, many companies are employing cybercrime agents to ensure the security of their companies’ data.

This type of security will be on the rise as more and more companies take their products into the digital age.

Not only that, but many threats and attacks come from hacking and cybercrime these days.

That means that there will be an even larger demand for cybercrime agents in the future.

Q. How long does it take to become a cybercrime agent?

The time that it takes to become a cybercrime agent really depends on how much education you want to gain before you start working.

Most people go to college to get their Bachelors’s degree, and then begin work after an internship which can last around 6 months.

Other people may go back to get their Masters’s degree after getting work experience.

Typically, it can take from four years to upwards of ten years to gain all of the certifications and education you could gain from this field.

The more education and experience you have, the better job opportunities will be waiting for you.


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