Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on IACIS Certified Forensic Computer Examiner
Posted on
July 21, 2023

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CFCE can you add to your qualifications for a career in computer forensic examination.

Forensic examination, especially if you can believe what you see on TV, has become a lot more important to solving crimes in recent decades. Computer forensic examination is not limited entirely to criminal investigation, but that is absolutely part of the job. A skilled computer forensic examiner can identify and recover evidence (typically in the form of data) even from a damaged device.

That brings us to IACIS Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) (No. 75 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list), a professional credential for those who have experience and training the realm of computer forensics. Here’s what the salary picture looks like for CFCE holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $65,260
Median Annual Salary: $47,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 12.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 29.2 percent
Satisfied: 50 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 6.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 2 percent

The "I" in IACIS stand for "International" — as in International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists — but we weren't able to recover enough data about CFCE holders who live outside the United States to include any information here. (See what we did there? That's a little forensic examination humor for you.) So everything you'll read here is referencing only credential holders who live and work in the United States.

A rare and striking majority of the CFCE holders who responded to the survey are women (52 percent). That's all but unheard of in the cybersecurity realm. Men accounted for just 45.3 percent of credential holders, leaving a tiny handful of those surveyed who either chose not to identify their gender (1.4 percent) or are gender variant/nonconforming (1.3 percent). The CFCE Salary Survey cohort is also surprising youthful, with most rspondents either between the ages of 25 and 34 (47.9 percent), between the ages of 34 and 45 (22.9 percent), or between the ages of 19 and 24 (12.5 percent). Everyone else is between the ages of 45 and 54 (16.7 percent of respondents), with nary a soul older than 54.

More than 95 percent of the CFCE holders who participated in the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most CFCE holders is either a bachelor’s degree (25 percent of those surveyed), master’s degree (31.4 percent), associate’s degree (also 25 percent), doctorate (8.3 percent), or professional degree (6.3 percent). The outliers are the 2.1 percent of respondents who exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training and the 1.9 percent who are currently in the process of furthering their education.

A modest 64 percent of CFCE holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time. The rest either have part-time jobs (9.3 percent of respondents), are primarily students (5.3 percent), are enjoying a sabbatical (12 percent), or are out of work altogether (9.4 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most either put in the standard 40 hours per week (31.3 percent) or are on the clock for between 31 and 39 hours per week (18.8 percent). The rest have a full-time work schedule of either more than 50 hours per week (6.2 percent of respondents), between 41 and 50 hours per week (12.5 percent), between 20 and 30 hours per week (14.6 percent), or fewer than 20 hours per week (16.6 percent).

In the post-COVID working world, 66 percent of CFCE holders are spending the lion’s share of those hours in a traditional workplace setting, working from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (42.3 percent of respondents) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (24.4 percent). The rest are notably more familiar with what has become the norm for many, working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (22.2 percent of those surveyed), between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.7 percent), 40 hours per week (2.2 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (also 2.2 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CFCE holders we heards from (56 percent of those surveyed) are employed at the manager level. The rest, in descending order, are either senior managers (14.7 percent of respondents), rank-and-file employees (14.6 percent), directors (13.3 percent), executives (9.3 percent), senior specialists (6.7 percent), or specialists (5.4 percent).

A bit more than one-third (37.3 percent) of the CFCE holders who participated in the survey are relative IT newcomers, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between 3 and 5 years. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (20 percent of respondents), between 6 and 8 years (32 percent), between 9 and 10 years (6.7 percent), or for more than a decade (4 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CompTIA CFCE holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification:
Several times a day: 8.1 percent
Several times a week: 40 percent
Several times a month: 32 percent
Occasionally: 12 percent
Rarely: 7.9 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 24 percent
Agree: 33.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.7 percent
Disagree: 6.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 9.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 28 percent
Agree: 24 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.6 percent
Disagree: 14.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 14.7 percent
Agree: 40 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.6 percent
Disagree: 10.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 8 percent

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

Posted to topic:
Jobs and Salary

Important Update: We have updated our Privacy Policy to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

CompTIA IT Project Management - Project+ - Advance Your IT Career by adding IT Project Manager to your resume - Learn More