A Career As a Computer Forensics Investigator
Computer forensics is actually a branch of criminal justice pertaining to digital evidence located on computers and other electronic storage media. It covers crimes such as identity theft, fraud, intellectual property theft, terrorism, piracy, spamming, spam messages, computer fraud, scams, etc. Basically, the study of cyber crimes is also included in this branch of criminal justice. It is very important for any company to have a good investigation arm, which can track down hackers and spies. Moreover, it is very important to have the best computer crime prevention system for the protection of its valuable data and assets.
The main skills required for becoming a computer forensics professional are technical skills and discipline, which can be learnt easily through online training programs. However, you must have a solid bachelor’s degree with a major in Computer Science, Business, or any other related science. After graduation, you must acquire a strong set of computer forensics tools and equipment such as Cisco security appliances, Microsoft word, database server, etc. In addition, you should also have solid experience in data recovery, hacking proof environment, network security testing, software utility and knowledge of exploit mitigations.
There are many job openings in cyber forensics industry. You can choose to work for private investigators, government agencies, or corporations. Most private investigators specialize in either computer forensics or digital forensics. Government agencies, on the other hand, hire people who have a strong background in law enforcement and intelligence.
Corporate organizations especially, hire computer forensics investigators, analysts, and inspectors for corporate data protection and information systems. Legal issues also pose problems for corporations. In order to prevent against legal issues, it is essential for corporate executives and employees to be knowledgeable about legal issues and their possible remedies. Computer forensics investigators and inspectors should know how to detect, isolate, and destroy any electronic device that can be used in legal proceedings.
As compared to criminal justice jobs, the salary for forensic computer analyst or inspector positions is higher. However, the starting salaries for this position are quite low. Forensic computer analysts or inspectors can expect average starting salaries of around $30k per year. A major plus for many professionals are that the starting salaries are subject to change due to inflation. In other words, the starting salary for your career may increase if you acquire certain certifications or special skills or attain advanced degrees.
Computer forensics salary offered by employers is affected by several factors including education, specialized experience, field of specialization, and industry. Starting salaries for entry-level position in computer forensics may start at $19k per year. For experienced professionals, the starting salaries can go up to $32k. Industry-specific factors include the type of certification and training received; number of years worked in the field; the degree in computer systems analysis; specialized experience in particular computer forensics subjects like digital forensics, mobile forensics, or corporate investigative methods.
A person with a Bachelor’s degree in computer forensics or related field may pursue an IT degree and pursue a job as a forensics officer. A bachelor’s degree in IT is required to work as a forensics officer because it requires knowledge of computer systems and legal issues specific to digital cases. A four year college degree will provide students with the basic IT knowledge necessary to perform general IT functions such as managing office networks, operating systems, routing and communication. The bachelor’s degree programs may also train students in the more technical aspects of forensics. A typical curriculum includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.
One common job for a bachelor’s degree holder is a software engineer, where the person works as a hardware designer working for a company or government agency. IT graduates who want to pursue this type of position will need to take additional courses in information technology. A bachelor’s degree can also help graduates become an audiologist or an information systems analyst, which are highly specific roles within the field.