Cyber Forensics involves recovering data in computer and information systems that would otherwise be difficult to find. It is a field that combines a background in computer science and forensics to solve cyber and electronic crimes, especially for criminal justice and accounting departments.
1. What Does Cyber Forensics Professionals Do?
The following are some of the duties you should expect to perform:
- Digging through physical and logical storage in IT systems
- Conduct digital investigations using forensic tools
- Locating valuable information for research, business or legal processes
- Aiding law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system or private firms recover and restore data
- Planning and carrying out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems
- Finding hidden patterns and unexpected correlations in data
2. Work Environment
Cyber forensics professionals often work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. However, you may get contracts for short-term work for various firms depending on their requirements. Most long-term work will be attached with computer firms, security facilities, and business and financial companies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can expect to earn more than $40 an hour for work and an average annual salary of $86,000.
4. Entry Requirements
Cyber forensics is a field that requires the highest level of technical skills at entry level. You need to have a 4-year degree in subject areas such as Information Technology or Computer Science with a specialty in computer forensic analysis. Some of the colleges offering study programs in Computer and Cyber Forensics at an undergraduate and postgraduate level are:
- Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont
- Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts
- University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida
Advanced degrees give you a better opportunity at specializing your skills and increasing your knowledge. In addition to this, you need to be certified by any one of the following organizations in order to practice professionally:
- International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE)
- International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS)
Since information systems are constantly changing, you may need to sit an examination and renew your certification every three years.
5. Important Qualities
To be a competent cyber forensics professional, you need:
- Good analytical and interpretative skills
- Familiarity with existing operating systems
- Expertise in hacking and intrusion techniques
- Sound knowledge and consciousness of technological gadgets
- To constantly update yourself on technological trends and advancements
- An understanding of the laws that govern data protection
- Excellent organizational skills
- The ability to translate and communicate techniques, methodologies and findings to clients
- Knowledge of various settings under which your profession is required such as security, business and law enforcement
6. Career Advancement
Governments and private firms have come to realize the need to protect their information systems and prevent loss of data, which is why the field of cyber forensics is gaining prominence and relevance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers optimistic figures for progress in the cyber forensics field. Within the decade starting 2012, the field will experience a ‘much faster than average’ growth of up to 37 percent.
7. Job Opportunities
Cyber forensics is still a new field with a lot of openings and opportunities. The following are potential employers of cyber security professionals:
- Criminal Justice Department
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Consulting Firms
With time, you can also set up a consultancy and make your career a business.
A career in cyber forensics offers exciting opportunities to work with the latest technology. Apply for an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field to kick-start an amazing career.