Computer Forensics Jobs
As a digital forensic analyst and expert you have several exciting job positions available to you. In evaluating your different career paths the most important step is to decide if you want to work in the private sector or work with a government body. Both of these entities need computer forensic professionals, there is a desperate need by both as you’ll notice by the number of computer forensics jobs available. As cyber crime and cyber terrorism continues to increase, computer forensic jobs will continue to become available and digital forensic experts will be needed.
A computer forensic specialist needs to decide for them self what they want to do with their position. Both government and private sector jobs offer advancement opportunities, although higher paying senior positions are easier to obtain and more readily available in the private sector. However, private sector computer forensic jobs typically have you defending against external and internal corporate espionage and sabotage. For many computer forensic security experts they enjoy the challenge of defending the companies network, avoiding cyber attacks, and tracing where attacks are coming from.
However, for others they want to get more out of their computer forensics job. They want to help the greater good of people instead of just one company. That is where working with the FBI or Department of Homeland Security comes into play. Corporation’s are not the only ones being affect by cyberterrorism. As more and more critical data is stored on computers and is accessible via an intranet or the Internet the risk of the United State’s enemies getting access to important information is ever increasing. The FBI for instance has developed a specialized task force devoted to defending against cyber terrorism. They have plenty of computer forensic jobs available and are eager to higher those with computer forensic experience that have a desire to help defend the nation against cyber warfare.
Computer Forensics Jobs in Government
Besides the defense of the nation against cyber terrorism, as was mentioned above, local agencies also have a need for digital forensic experts. There have been numerous cases where digital evidence has been recovered or collected by crime scene investigators or law enforcement officers that has ultimately led to the prosecution and ultimate conviction of criminals. Digital forensics has been used to determine the time line of serial killers, computer forensic analysts have used email records to determine the intent of murder’s, and text messages and cell phone data has been used extensively to prove the location of a suspect at the time of a crime.
Because of the great importance technology, computers, email, and cell phones have in our daily life they are becoming an even more important part of solving crimes and unraveling what truly happened. All of this analysis and recovery of information has lead to an increase in government forensics jobs. Experts in the collection of digital evidence are needed to help local law enforcement convict murderers, rapists, thiefs, and many other criminals.
If you are the type of person who wants their career to mean something and who wants to help people get justice through their actions, then you should look for computer forensics jobs in government and law enforcement agencies.
Computer Forensics Jobs in the Private Sector
If you decide that the long hours, low pay, and bureaucratic red tape of a government job are just not a good fit for you, but you enjoy computers, have a knack for solving puzzles, and want to put these skills to good use – then a computer forensic job with a corporation may be the best option for you.
The government digital forensic experts definitely help solve crimes, but so do private sector jobs. As a digital forensics security analyst you will have the opportunity to prevent cyber attacks, spot internal fraud, stop corporate espionage, and ultimately could prevent a corporation from going out of business – saving thousands of jobs and keeping all of those hard working people employed! That’s an important responsibility.
As a computer forensic expert your job within a company can vary – but more often then not it will be related to security. This could be securing employee’s work stations so that they cannot get attacked by a competing company or a hacker. You could also be responsible for securing the internal and external network. This would require you to analyze network access logs, diagnose potential digital threats, stop hackers from accessing sensitive data, and if there was a breach in the network determining where the breach came from and who was responsible for it. Obviously, all of these roles are vital to the safety and security of the company that has hired you – that’s why computer forensics jobs continue to grow in the private sector. They also pay extremely well, with an average salary of $96,000. Companies value the security of their private information and will compensate the employee’s that keep that information safe very well.
Companies also will offer computer forensic jobs that are devoted to handling data analysis. This could be in analyzing the internal database records or that of a potential merger. Your job would be to look for any patterns indicating there was data manipulation or that fraud is taking place. This is a very detail oriented position but one that is highly valued because of the complexity of performing proper analysis. Computer data analysis positions are well compensated with senior positions earning six figures a year for their hard work.
Digital Forensics Jobs – What to Expect
Now that you’ve decided that you want a digital forensics job what should you expect? Well, first be prepared to stay on top of new technologies, new digital threats, and new ways that criminals will try to avoid getting caught. This is part of what makes a career in digital forensics so exciting – because technology changes so rapidly a computer forensics job requires that you continually learn and stay on top of new technology. This means getting to continue your formal digital forensics education through certifications, continued education programs, and real world experience with new technologies. All very exciting stuff!
As with many computer careers, you should also be comfortable with performing a variety of job functions. As you are an expert in computers and digital devices don’t be surprised if your expertise is called upon in analyzing a computer network breach even if you are technically assigned to data recovery. This isn’t because your employer doesn’t value your data recovery expertise, but in fact it is because your knowledge and skill set is so specialized they value your opinion on all things tech related!
With cyber forensics jobs you should be comfortable working inside in an air conditioned office. This may sound like a fantastic thing, but some enjoy working outside. In digital forensics jobs most of your time will be spent in an office or in front of a computer, as long as you are comfortable with that – or even better if that’s what you desire then a digital forensic job would be a great career for you!
In a computer forensics job you will analyze a variety of things. One day you may be working with a batch of compressed data recovered from a criminals hard drive and the next day you may be looking through a suspects phone records to determine if his alibi is valid. Each day holds a new challenge and can be extremely rewarding for the person that likes to do a variety of things and enjoys variety. If you like change, enjoy learning new things, and ultimately look at everything as a problem that needs a solution then digital forensics jobs are right up your alley!
How to Move Up in a Digital Forensics Job
There are plenty of opportunities to advance in digital forensics jobs. Entry level positions are only temporary and if you are serious about making computer forensics your career then you should be very pleased to know that the advancement opportunities are practically endless and there’s a very defined path to follow to increase your position and salary.
The most important thing to know about advancing in forensics jobs is that specialization is your friend. Instead of being a jack of all trades and a master of none, instead make it your goal to have a great foundation of all things tech but ultimately be the absolute master of 1 or 2 sub sections of digital forensics. Becoming a master means that not only should you have plenty of experience in that field but you should be certified in it as well. If you are looking into computer forensics training then pick the training that suits your long term goals. For instance, if you plan on being a senior database analyst and architect then you would want to get a GCFA digital analyst certification. If on the other hand you are less interested in analyzing and examining but have determined your true passion is in network security you would want to get a Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator certification.
Certifications and specializations will help you in applying for higher paid digital forensics jobs. Beyond that, the more senior positions typically require formal education from a higher learning institution. Although some private sector companies only care that you have a degree, others will require that the degree be in a computer related discipline. If you have not already obtained a degree, then getting a digital forensics degree in an online program would be an excellent choice to further your long term career options.
Once you have obtained a degree, become certified in your desired digital forensics sub sector, now it is time to gain experience. This could be through both on the job experience or private experience. Ultimately if a corporation or government is going to be entrusting you with the safety of their entire network or data structure, or letting you handle and supervisor full digital investigations then they want to make sure you have the appropriate experience to properly handle the analysis, investigation, and reporting of the job at hand.
After acquiring on the job experience, having the appropriate certifications, and having a digital forensic degree you have positioned yourself perfectly to advance your computer forensic career and be suitable for your desired digital forensics jobs!