As mime went on, I discovered several career paths in the Computer and Technology field, each with its own sub divisions. But only one stood out to me: Computer Forensics. Computer forensics is a fresh and developing career field, emerging only in the last thirty years. The common availability and widespread use of computers has caused computer crimes to surge at a disturbing rate. Computers have given lawbreakers a new method to carrying out their crimes.
After a crime or a dubious act is detected on a computer, or any other form of technology, a digital investigation just follow. The computers investigated will typically be either those used to commit the crime or those which are the targets of the crime (Asana-Alison 2). Firstly, computer forensic specialists must have a four year college degree. This degree must be in either, Information Technology, Computer Science or Security and Risk analysis (“Computer Forensic” 2). These are long and strenuous courses; the candidate shouldn’t take them lightly.
If the specialist wanted to go into Law Enforcement or into private detective work, then an undergraduates study, such as n associates degree or a minor, in criminal Justice, is recommended, as it will prepare the candidate for the skills that will be required whilst on the Job (“Computer Forensics” 2). I am currently studying for my associates’ degree in criminal Justice. After I obtain this I will hopefully be pursuing my Security and Risk analysis degree at Penn State, where they have one of the best scenario labs in the western hemisphere. Next, computer forensic specialists have several roles.
The majority of specialists work for law enforcement agencies. The role of the specialist is to recover ATA like documents, photos and e-mails from computer hard drives and other data storage devices, such as flash drives, that have been erased, damaged or otherwise manipulated. Every action that is performed by a user on a computer or any other electronic device, leaves a digital finger print’ it is the specialists Job to find this data to prove what files were accessed, what files were modified and what websites were visited (Asana-LSI]olla 2).
As an information security expert, a computer forensic specialist may also use their knowledge in a corporate environment to protect amputees from penetration, discover how a computer was broken into or recover lost files. They support detectives and other officials examine data and evaluate its significance to the case under investigation. Specialists also hand over the evidence in a format that can be used for legal purposes and frequently give evidence in court themselves (“Computer Forensic” 1).
Also, a wide array of salary opportunities and financial benefits are available. The average salary of a computer forensic specialist, who enters law enforcement, is between $34,480 and $92,590 with a potential to earn up to $103,270 becoming a detective (Chorea-Macadam 3). Secondly, should the candidate choose to become a consultant, they would be able to charge an hourly rate for their time, as well as claiming for expenses such as mileage, accommodation, and any ‘office costs’. The hourly rate consultants can charge is typically up to $400 per hour.
Working a forty hour week, the Specialist can earn up to $832,000 per annum (Ruff 2). Finally, if the specialist were to go into government employment, then he/she would expect a salary somewhere between, $50,000 & $91,000, along with the financial benefits that o-inside with government employment, such as, health insurance, retirement plans and paid vacation (Chorea-Macadam 3). Computer forensic specialists require a very specific set of skills, skills that are acquired through numerous sources.
Some of the most important skills and qualities that are needed include a creative approach to solving problems, attention to detail, excellent IT skills and the ability to spot trends and patterns in large amounts of data. As well as this, it is generally recommended that the specialist is, well-organized assesses a methodical approach to work, has a working knowledge of information security standards and legislation and also has the ability to work under pressure and to impeccable standards (Chorea-Macadam 5).
I believe that I possess the majority of these skills, mainly through my previous employment in the IT field and also my experiences in the British Army Cadets. On the Law Enforcement sector of computer forensics, the candidates have to be trained in basic peace officer standards; this will be obtained by attending a police academy, who will then train the candidate for all aspects of being in the Law Enforcement Field.
The basic peace officer standards certificate must be renewed by the individual annually, in order to ensure that they are up to date on all protocol and legislation (Chorea-Macadam 5). However, in the private sector and consulting fields, the candidate, depending on the scenario of the Job, may be required to possess a private investigators license. This is to ensure that they acquire all information on the Job within strict legal guidelines, failure to do so will result in trick punishment within the confines of the law (“Computer Forensic” 2).
Finally, the outlook for computer forensics is above average for Job growth rate. Computer Forensics is a new career field, only developing in the last thirty years; it has more exhilarating opportunity’s offering itself every day. Susan Chorea-Macadam stated that “It has grown to be increasingly important”. This is due to all of the different and dangerous ways criminals are now using technology to their advantage, such as Hacking, Encryption and ETC/IP masking. Making this now one “of the fastest rowing areas of forensics” said Chorea-Macadam.
Looking over the next twenty years, we can anticipate seeing at least a 25% growth in employment opportunities (“Computer Forensics” 2). In conclusion, the world of the computer forensic specialist is still very young. However, it is a complex, dynamic and ever changing world. In the media we can see a seemingly endless cycle of cyber-crime and corporate fraud. This is an indication of criminals finding new ways of exploiting new technology for their own gain. Nonetheless, this is only expanding and pushing forward the computer forensics rarer field.
It is clear that the technology we have is not going to disappear. The technology is only going to get more innovative and complex. This brings a challenge for computer forensics specialists to keep up to date with each technology, but also inspires them to thwart the criminals who will exploit these technologies. Clearly nothing but broad horizons are in store for this career field. Works Cited “Computer Forensic Specialist Degrees”. Computer Forensic Specialist Degrees and Careers. N. D. Web. 1 April 2015. “Computer Forensics Analyst: Job Description, Duties ND Requirements”.