The computer security and forensics career path combines information technology and law into an interesting occupation. The need for computer forensic specialists is growing every year, so getting a head now can set you up for great opportunities in the future.
What do They do?
Computer forensic specialists work with private businesses, firms, or law enforcement to retrieve information on various types of electronics. The specialist extracts data from flash drives, smart phones, tablets, laptops, and computers. They use tools and the latest technology to retrieve these data and turn it over as evidence to law enforcement, specialists, or attorneys as needed.
The growth of the computer and forensics career is expected to grow in the next 10 years. From 2012 until 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects 120,000 more jobs in this field for an increase of 22 percent.
The salary for a computer forensic specialist can vary greatly depending on the area you work in. In 2012, the average salary was £56,696. The lowest earning specialists’ salary was £32,364 where the highest earning was £149,827. One thing that can help increase your earnings is the certifications you have along with your degree. Another factor is experience. The more experience and certifications you have, the more money you can potentially earn.
Computer security and forensics specialists work under many titles. Some of these include:
- Digital forensics detectives
- Computer forensics investigators
- Digital media analysts
Is This the Career for You?
Being a computer forensic specialist can be exciting once you find the data and evidence needed to put away the criminal, but it does take time to collect this data. Patience is a big part of this career as it can take days to months to fully collect quality evidence.
If you have a curious mind, desire to learn, and a passion for the field then you are on a great start to becoming a computer forensic specialist. It does require a bachelor’s degree and certifications in forensics and cyber security. Some experience in criminal justice may be helpful but it is not always necessary. For example, the FBI trains computer forensics specialists to be agents at Quantico, so there is no prior law enforcement experience needed.
An internship may be required during your schooling. Throughout this time, you will work with local businesses to gain hand-on experience and knowledge to prepare you for your career. They can last for a few weeks to a couple of months depending on the program you are in. After you graduate, this experience can be the helpful in getting a job.
A career on the computer security and forensics field can be both exciting and interesting. While it does take patience, finding the evidence and data needed could be rewarding. This career path does require a bachelor’s degree, some certifications, and an internship may be helpful. There are both traditional programs and online programs for your convenience.
Ken Wilson is a Tech Guru and Security Specialist at ThePCDoctor, Australia’s Number 1 Computer Support company.