The field of digital forensics is one that hasn’t received much press, until lately. With the onslaught of social networking sites, email/internet abuse and criminal cases involving computer files, almost everyone has a use for a computer forensics expert.
This field is thriving but it’s not one that a person can just jump into. Computer forensics is a very specialized field that requires years of experience and education in order to be successful.
There are many good schools one can attend, or even the military would be a good place to receive proper training. The skill set is much different than you might expect and you really don’t know what is involved until you start working. Even the most computer savvy individual wouldn’t do much good for a digital forensics firm on their first day of work.
Many people start off by finding internships, whether they went to school or not. You are much more likely to receive a good internship straight out of college but being at the right place at the right time doesn’t hurt either. Be persistent with a company that is offering any kind of position as on the job experience is really the only way to break into this field.
A computer forensics expert could be asked to do a large variety of jobs on several different types of cases. A large area of employment is from the police force. Forensics experts are brought on when a case involves anything with a computer, phone or other electronic devices that store and send information. Many of the cases involve sexual crimes and the illegal solicitation of pictures across the internet.
When a computer forensics expert comes in they first assess the case and establish what needs to be done. Once this is determined the acquisition of evidence starts. Forensic images are created of the relevant media to preserve and maintain the integrity of the evidence. Analysis then begins and all key evidence is determined and a strategy is put together. A report is generated to properly explain what information was found and how it is pertinent to that specific case. If needed, a digital forensics expert will be able to testify in court in a clear and concise way that benefits the client.
One can make a pretty good living doing solely criminal cases as once you become knowledgeable about court proceedings and how to properly handle yourself in a court room you will become a valuable commodity to many. Of course, it depends on your success rate and how well you are able to access relevant information on the job, but the right demeanor in court can take you a long way.
Many computer forensics experts don’t want to be in the spot light so they choose to refine their skills behind the scenes. Becoming proficient in the acquisition and analysis stages of a case can set you apart from the rest of the field. There is no set way to operate and finding new techniques and strategies will prove you to be a well respected professional in the field.