How an MS MIS can prepare you for an FBI career path

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a critically important resource in the fight against digital crime and a bulwark for U.S. national security. While most people tend to focus on the agency’s field-work, the FBI offers a broad range of specializations beyond crime scene investigation, including electronic surveillance, encryption, biometrics, cybersecurity, and more.

Laptop wrapped in crime scene tape.

In fact, the FBI’s IT staff is organized into a variety of unique departments, each with its own operational purview, such as:

  • Laboratory Division
  • Operational Technology Division
  • Cyber Division
  • Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division
  • Information Technology Branch

The agency brims with talented IT professionals who work around the clock to protect government institutions, private companies, and citizens from sophisticated cyber intrusions and data theft, yet many aspiring students are unsure how to pursue a career in the FBI. As data breaches grow more common, the organization will increasingly look to universities to supply the next generation of computer analysts and digital investigators, making it the perfect time to continue your tech-focused education.

If you’re interested in working for the federal government, consider these IT-related roles with the FBI:

Computer Scientist (CS)

This dynamic position is tasked with thwarting cyberattacks that threaten government and private sector institutions. Computer scientists with the FBI work in a collaborative environment to investigate incidents of fraud, bank robberies, counterintelligence plots, and more. This position also gives IT professionals the opportunity to develop new tools and methods for identifying cybersecurity risks and protecting important data from theft or exploitation. The FBI isolates, analyzes, and preserves its digital assets by creating custom applications, which allows the agency to anticipate new threats and take decisive action when illegal activity is identified.

Qualifications:

Eligible candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in computer science, or an equivalent degree with at least 30 semester hours in a combination of courses, including mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Applicants must also have first-hand experience with differential and integral calculus.

Key Skills:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Technology awareness
  • Interpersonal ability

Information Technology Specialist (ITS)

IT Specialists play a crucial administrative role in the FBI, as they are responsible for providing technical analysis, assistance, and general guidance to ensure the agency’s systems are running efficiently. Unlike investigative roles, this position is focused on maintaining and improving the integrity of the FBI’s general and field office computer systems. IT specialists are primarily stationed in the Criminal Justice Information Services Division or the Information Technology Branch, though there are opportunities to work with the agency’s domestic and international law enforcement partners. IT specialists will become increasingly important as government agencies continue to move toward a synchronous intelligence sharing model.

Qualifications:

Although the education requirements are less strict compared to other positions, this role demands a good deal of technical expertise. Applicants must have at least one full year of experience providing help desk support for a range of computer issues. IT specialists regularly troubleshoot basic and complex technical problems with the FBI’s workstations, while also developing new data and application management processes on the back end.

Key Skills:

  • Interpersonal ability
  • Problem resolution
  • Attention to detail
  • Technical mastery
  • Verbal and written communication

IT Specialist — Forensic Examiners (ITS-FE)

This investigative position works in tandem with the FBI’s special agents to conduct comprehensive forensic examinations and technical analysis of computer-related evidence. Forensic Examiners largely deal with computer-based crimes — hacking, data breaches, identity theft, and digital fraud — but they’re often consulted on important cases that involve seized computer technology or mobile devices. The day-to-day work entails decrypting data collections, examining digital media on multiple operating systems, and documenting logs associated to cyber intrusion incidents. Most forensic examiners work at one of the FBI’s field offices as part of the agency’s Computer Analysis and Response Team.

Qualifications:

To qualify for this position, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in computer science or information management with at least 20 semester hours in a relevant discipline, including information systems analysis, mathematics, computer engineering, and/or technology science. Additionally, every candidate must be able to demonstrate an aptitude for a variety of complex tasks, such as analyzing memory dumps, using virtual machines, and manipulating system components within Windows, Unix, or Linux.

Key Skills:

  • Packet-level analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Technology awareness
  • Information management

What UAB’s online MS MIS can do for you

The master’s degree in management information systems online program provides a range of valuable skills that students can utilize while working for the federal government. The FBI, in particular, looks for candidates with a strong technological background and an aptitude for solving complex problems, as computer systems are always advancing and evolving. MIS experts must be flexible and adaptable to meet the agency’s eligibility requirements, which is why UAB’s online program is dedicated to the real-world skills that can help you stand out during the interview process.  The program features two unique concentrations, including:

  • Cyber Security Management: Learn about cyber attacks and the cutting-edge threat mitigation techniques that IT professionals use to protect sensitive information. This concentration can teach you the ins and outs of digital forensics and information security management, providing the insight you need to fill a computer scientist or forensics examiner role with the FBI.
  • IT Management: Gain firsthand experience with technology planning and the incident response processes that IT specialists use to develop robust system infrastructures. This concentration can teach you how to create and maintain complex computer networks, providing the expertise you need to pursue an information systems career path with the FBI.

If you’re interested in pursuing an FBI career path, reach out to an enrollment advisor for more information.

Recommended Reading:

Learn to combat today’s emerging cyber threats with an MS MIS degree

What you can learn about digital forensics

Skills you can learn while pursuing your MS MIS

Sources:

University of Alabama at Birmingham MS MIS

University of Alabama at Birmingham MS MIS course descriptions

FBI Jobs in STEM

How to become a Computer Forensics Investigator by InfoSec Institute

Cyber Crime by The U.S. Department of Justice

Digital Forensics by The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies