Breathe computers day in and day out? Learn how to become a computer forensic specialist, and put your skills to good use in the field of criminal justice.
The thing about electronic evidence is that it can easily be transformed, modified, or in worst cases, eliminated. The cyber thief is smart, and for every file you lock by bringing into use the most skilled utility programs, he can find the accurate key to unlock the preserved information. That said, with the increasing number of cyber crime cases today, the need for computer forensic specialists is rising continuously.
Today, a variety of freeware and shareware have made it easy for cyber criminals to hide, dissemble, disguise, or destroy electronic evidence from the media of storage, and for this very reason, computer forensic specialists are hired by investigation agencies who can extract information with accuracy by skillfully collecting it, and presenting it in front of the law.
Today, the dependence on technology has opened doors for a number of career opportunities for technology aspirants, and so, if you’ve decided to become a specialist in computer forensics, this article tells you how exactly you need to go about it, and the requirements you need to meet during the course.
The Basic Skills
The key duties of a computer forensic specialist are recovering, assessing, and presenting the computer data in such a way that they can be used as an evidence in investigation. They deal with the recovery of information that is not accessible to an ordinary user, and hence, the minimum qualification for any computer forensic aspirant is to gain as much knowledge in computers as they can.
Investigation of all kinds of computer media is an integral part of a computer forensic specialist’s job, and so, the more an aspirant is knowledgeable of how a computer works, and in how many ways can it help in recovering hidden information, the better the chances are for them to carve a niche for themselves in this field of career.
To gain expertise in basic computers, one could enroll for a training from a reputable institution after obtaining the bachelor’s degree in forensic science or any other associated field. Usually, aspirants graduate in information technology and systems, and in many cases, a master’s degree in the same is required, to begin with a career in cyber forensics.
After acquiring the basic skills, the aspirant is required to obtain certification in computer forensics, which he will receive only after going through the training program offered by a licensed certifying body of the respective state. These programs specialize in computer forensics, and help the aspirant understand the nitty-gritty of the career, along with practical experience.
Knowing that the aspirants are aware of basic computer science, the training involves recovering lost data from hard drives that are damaged in many cases. Moreover, many certification programs have their students visit the crime scene, and perform practical duties at the spot, such as fetching the lost data, finding out the damage done, and rectifying errors.
They’re also taught the various computer forensic techniques of data recovery, along with guidelines that help them create a lawful audit trial. Encrypting file systems, cross-drive analysis, and recovery of volatile data are major areas where the aspirant is trained rigorously. After the training is over, your certification body will hold an exam, passing which, you will obtain your certification, in order to start practicing as a computer forensic specialist.
To get your name associated with a reputable crime research firm, you need to have at least 5 years of work experience in hand. Hence, after obtaining your certification, start working as an intern in an organization, or become a consultant for the same. You could crack minor cases with your expertise, and develop your portfolio with each case you take up.
When you’re convinced with your profile, you can apply for a job in large-scale firms, and interview with them. However, if you want to work as an individual body, you can always start practicing on your own, or as a freelancer. Whatever path you choose, you’re sure to earn handsomely, for computer forensic specialists are paid on the basis of their skills and ability to prepare evidence in the littlest of time.
A job as a computer forensic specialist can fetch you an enviable salary figure lying somewhere between $70,000 – $100,000, depending upon the years of expertise you are in possession of. Even though it takes some hard work to become a forensic specialist in the field of technology, the results are definitely fruitful. With every case you crack, you unlock a mystery that helps you learn more and more. In the end, it totally depends upon how exactly you maximize your skills and proficiency.