Cyber crime is on the rise, and with it, the demand for cleared cyber crime fighters. The demand for professionals who can assess, detect and stop illegal activity is only increasing. From federal jobs to federal contractors, the field is booming, offers good salaries, and continues to be tailor made for cleared veterans.
Currently, the FBI takes the lead in federal cyber crime investigations. This includes cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions and cyber fraud. The FBI’s Cyber Division is devoted primarily to computer intrusions, computer-based crimes including fraud, child predators, and pirating of national intellectual property, and partnerships with the private sector.
In addition to headquarter jobs, the FBI has cyber squads in all 56 field offices nationwide, cyber action teams that travel internationally, and 93 computer crimes task forces trained to work with federal, state, and local agencies.
Fighting cyber crime – not a typical job title
Cleared professionals interested in working for the FBI as cyber crime fighters may not find these jobs listed as such. For example, job descriptions might call for furnishing analytical, financial and technical support to undercover operations. But the job title? Program maintenance and support specialist.
More common are openings for intelligence analysts. On the low end, GS7 analysts earn $34,000 to $54,500, while GS12 analysts earn $78,000 to $101,800. Those candidates with a security clearance and a bachelor’s degree in computer science fields will have an edge. Military experience specific to intelligence and technology is also a plus.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) actively look for cleared candidates to fill cyber crime positions. As a rule, their postings include specific information about the requirements, education and experience. As with other federal agencies, NSA and DHS salaries have a broad range. For example, a current opening for an intelligence analyst at NSA in Texas lists the salary range from $57,982 to $126,949.
Cleared veterans may want to check out the National Initiative for Cyber Careers and Studies. Run by the Department of Homeland Security, the site offers information about career paths, education requirements, training specific to federal cyber crime, and additional information about who is hiring.
Private sector cyber crime jobs
Similar to the demand for cyber security professionals, which cuts across defense, corporate and financial sectors, cyber crime jobs are specific to monitoring, hunting, catching and thwarting computer-based illegal activity. In the private sector, that means assessing cyber threats for malware, botnets, viruses, hacktivism, mobile vulnerabilities and emerging threats.
For many of these jobs, duties involve analyzing and reporting of data, providing incident briefs and conducting threat assessments on organized cyber-criminal groups.
Special technical skills hiring managers look for include experience with applications such as OllyDBG, IDAPro, WireShark, RegShot, static reverse engineering techniques, programming, Python and Linux. Softer skills, like excellent oral and written communications skills are also hotly demanded due to the fact that cyber analysts frequently write reports, make presentations and must clearly explain their assessments.
Bachelor’s degrees are generally required, with particular preference toward those in computer science, information technology, information assurance, software engineering, cyber law, mathematics and business management.
A career path with no geographic boundaries
Cyber crime job opportunities extend across the nation. A current sampling includes demand for a malware analyst at the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance in Pittsburgh, computer forensics and intrusion analyst at General Dynamics in Maryland, cyber threat intelligence analyst at VeriSign, and information security analyst at GE Corporate in Virginia. In all of these, a clearance is a requirement.
As of July, 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the median salary at just under $77,000 for cyber detectives and cyber crime investigators. Job growth in the field is projected to increase by 37 percent in the next six years. As usual, geography plays a role. A cybercrime analyst in New York, averages $98,000, while in San Antonio, it is closer to $66,000, and in Chicago, $86,000.