You may have heard of the field of computer forensics, but you may be unsure if you can get a job in forensics with a computer science degree. There’s actually quite a bit to know about forensics as it has to do with evidence retrieval from computers and other electronic media, and a degree in computer science provides a graduate with a versatile skills and knowledge in computer use. The two are very much related.
About Computer Forensics
Computer forensics, also known as computer forensic science, falls under the broader field of digital forensic science. It has to do with the legal evidence that can be found on computers and other media with digital storage means. Computer forensic specialists are able to use forensically sound methods to identify, preserve and analyze information found in order to assess and determine facts about such information. The evidence discovered is used in both criminal and civil investigations and is widely accepted in various courts. It is used to provide evidence in crimes such as child pornography, rape, murder, cyberstalking, espionage and fraud.
Forensic techniques are used to examine an electronic device such as a computer and determine its content, as well as it method of use. The storage mechanisms, like drives and memory, as well as the electronic documents, such as email and JPEGS, are examined. Information is retrieved and events are traced, putting together timelines and situational recreations.
How to Get a Job in Computer Forensics
Computer forensic specialists must have a knowledge base in networking, programming, encryption and computer science. They need to be able to take the data and evidence they obtain from technological systems and use it to compile strong evidence to present in court and other official capacities. Thus, getting a job in forensics with a computer science degree is absolutely possible, as that degree provides graduates with such a knowledge base and skill set.
The level of degree required to work in computer forensics varies with the type of job, work setting and responsibility involved. Some entry level positions with law enforcement agencies require only an associate’s degree in computer forensics, computer science or other comprehensive computer area of study. Other kinds of jobs often ask for a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or similar subject matter. Educational experience in computer engineering may be required for upper level jobs, such as those in the federal government.
The kinds of coursework you can expect to take while pursuing a computer science or other degree to become a computer forensic specialist are varied. There will be classes in computer programming, networking and databases. You will also need to become familiar with surveillance methods. These kinds of courses will focus on ways to track patterns in hacking, determine criminal activity and recover digital information. Courses in liberal studies like science, math and English are also required and relevant to the job.
As you can see, computer forensics is a broad and interesting field. And, yes, you can get a job in forensics with a computer science degree.