Research Outline

Career Overview: Criminal, Digital Forensic, and Financial Crimes Investigations


To provide an overview of criminal investigations, digital forensic investigations, and financial crimes investigations careers including their similarities, differences, and popular career paths, including salary information, the potential for increased job demand, opportunities for growth within the field, and the competitive edge a master's degree allows for each specialization vs. a bachelor's. This will be used for marketing purposes and showing the careers' links to investigations.

Early Findings

Criminal Investigations

  • Criminal investigations involve the collection of evidence relating to crimes for purposes of informing criminal trials.
  • Some tasks completed by criminal investigators include responding to emergencies, analyzing crime scenes for evidence, collecting evidence, including voice recordings and video, obtaining warrants for arrest and arresting criminals, filing for and securing search warrants, interviewing witnesses, testifying in court, writing case reports, and maintaining meticulous case records.
  • Detectives and criminal investigators earn a median annual wage of $83,170 with police and detectives at the federal level earning a median annual wage of $88,060 and state and local police and detectives earning $68,610 and $63,410, respectively.
  • According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, a full 37,500 new police and detective positions are expected to be created between 2018-2028 with a 5% job outlook growth.

Digital Forensic Investigations

  • Digital forensics, also known as computer forensics, involves the uncovering and describing of the state of digital artifacts or information contained in storage devices, including hard drives, computer systems, CDs, electronic documents, emails, and JPEG images.
  • The possible job titles for a career in digital forensic investigations include computer forensics analyst, computer forensics investigator, computer forensics specialist, computer forensics technician, digital forensics specialist, and forensic computer examiner.
  • Some tasks completed by digital forensic investigations include protecting the computer system, recovering files that may have been deleted or encrypted, analyzing data, providing reports, feedback, and sometimes testimonies, to determine unauthorized access of a user into a system.
  • The salary range for digital forensic investigations varies widely within the public and private sector with related occupations, such as information security analysts, earning a median salary of $98,350 per year.
  • The digital forensics sector is projected to grow rapidly with the growth of cybercrimes. According to the BLS, the related occupation of information security analysts is expected to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2028 with an anticipated creation of 35,500 jobs.