Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that includes the identification, recovery, investigation, validation, and presentation of facts regarding digital evidence found on computers or similar digital storage media devices. Although we often think of these terms in connection with cop shows we see on TV, this science involves much more. Learn what it takes for a career in this field.
What Training is Required?
To work as a forensic science technician, a candidate should have at least a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or a natural science. Forensic science programs offer various areas of specialization, and digital forensic is one them. Although bachelor degree programs are the minimum, many employers prefer individuals who have master degrees.
Students in a forensic science program with a digital forensic emphasis may complete courses in cybersecurity; digital forensic technology and practices; advanced forensics; and problem-solving in cybersecurity, among others. Many colleges and universities offer forensic science programs through distance learning.
Most forensic technicians are required to complete on-the-job training before actually starting their careers. This is a career where individuals benefit most from actual work experience on the job. As important as it is to have a degree in this field, Forbes reports that might not be enough. In addition, the candidate should possess the following skills.
• Analytical skills – The candidate must have the skills needed to analyze and solve a problem.
• Computer/tech skills – Because the majority of digital forensic work is based around computers, the candidate must be familiar with computers, computer programming, and similar fields.
• Knowledge of cybersecurity – Digital or forensic science is all about solving cybercrimes, so it’s important the individual know not just about solving crimes but also how to prevent them.
• Organizational skills – The forensic technician must be organized physically and mentally so that he or she has the ability to organize data and present it to others.
• Communication skills – The candidate must be able to communicate freely because he or she will probably be part of a team.
• The desire to learn – Technology continues to grow and the digital tech must be willing and able to keep up with training as needed.
Certification is really important in this career. Upon graduating from either an undergraduate or graduate forensic science program, the candidate can pursue the following certifications.
• Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)
• Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
• Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
• Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
• Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
• Access Data Certified Examiner (ACE)
• EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the decade of 2016-2026 should see an employment growth of about 17 percent for forensic science professionals. They also reported that about 2,600 jobs in this field with be created. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual wage of about $56,750 as of May 2016.
Graduates of a computer forensics program with the digital forensic concentration may find careers working as the following.
• Cybersecurity office
• Digital forensic investigator
• Crime analyst
• Business intelligence analyst
• Digital forensic specialist
• Computer forensics investigator
• Computer systems analyst
• Homeland security professional
Digital and forensic science technicians work at government jobs, in medical facilities, and for law enforcement. Because the volume of cyber attacks grows every year, these professionals are kept busy. With technology continuing to grow year after year and everything turning to digital format, digital forensics is a field that not only would be rewarding but constantly in demand.