Career in Computer Forensics

Spike12Spike12 Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□

I've been reading these forums for the past few days in an effort to determine whether this may be the right path for me. There's certainly a wealth of information here! :)

I'm currently studying to obtain my Comptia A+ certification. I'm very much interested in pursuing a career path in computer forensics and perhaps "ethical hacking." My concern is that, although I've been using computers for 15 years, I've only held a computer-related job as a Technical Support Specialist for the last 7 months or so. I understand that this is just the beginning of a long journey.

I'm in my early 30s and I'm wondering whether it is possible to learn all those skills at this point in time, considering that some of the competition has been programming since the age six. I just want to make sure that I'm able to learn all that I need, and then more, to be successful in this field.

Thank you for any advice!


  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Member Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    LOL, oh yeah you are way to old... :) I'll be 30 this year so I found that funny.

    Not all of IT is about programming, but it does help to be familiar with it. Skim through the forums and you will find some nice threads on Computer Forensics. I don't work in Forensics, but I would like to in the future.

    Computer Forensics Certifications - IT Certification Blogs
  • idr0pidr0p Member Posts: 104
    Short answer yes.
    Yes it will be a long journey. If you want to expedite your process its going to take a lot of time or a lot of money. (Either reading alot of books or taking alot of certs.) then after that it will only get you interviews you will need to exp to back it. that takes time. With hard work you may be able to get yourself in a entry level forensics spot in a year.
  • YuckTheFankeesYuckTheFankees Member Posts: 1,281 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I currently have the goal of getting a CF job but I know it won't be easy. I'm a little bit younger than you but just like you, I've only been in I.T. for 7 months (NOC/Linux support) but I caught a very BIG break over the past couple of months in which I found a junior CF analyst internship (which starts next week).

    I would first look around in your area and see if there are any computer forensic/ e-discovery companies and then call/email them to see if they are interested in having an intern (you may have to do it for free). Next I would go to Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more and look at all the CF books they have out there and probably buy a few...or if you prefer e-books..try Safari Books Online |.

    I have no programming experience but I'm currently in the process of trying to learn a few (python, perl, C++). As of right now, I'm not trying to master the language but be able to look at a piece of code and know exactly what it's doing. After those basics, then I'll start getting more in-depth.

    Finally I would suggest networking with people in the field.

    * Follow CF professionals on Twitter
    * Add CF groups to your Linkedin account and look at their discussions...possible chime in on some of them.
    * Introduce yourself to the local CF professionals in your area
    * Possibly go to DefCon and network there.
    * Get to know the members on TechExams and, I found my CF internship by networking with people on both those it does work.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Very tough career field to get into. You're going to want to work on getting any type of forensic experience you can because that is what companies will look for. When looking for positions, at this point you will want to look for ediscovery related jobs. That should give you a firm base from which to work on. During that time, you will want to look at getting certified in at least one piece of forensic software. The real money will come into play when you are able to testify in court to the process you used to get the data. JD will back me up on this, the law background is just as important along with experience.
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  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,962 Admin
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    JD will back me up on this, the law background is just as important along with experience.
    This is true, even for people who think they will only be working in the technical side of digital forensics as a technician or high-priced consultant. You perform an examination, draw conclusions, write a report, and you may be asked to explain it in detail one day in a court of law. If you already have embarrassing photos and inane rants posted on social media sites, forget about having credibility as a forensics expert witness in the future.
  • Spike12Spike12 Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for the suggestions and feedback. I appreciate it very much!

    I have no illusions that this particular path field looks to be more challenging to get into than perhaps other IT fields. I realize that since I don't have a degree, the odds are greatly stacked against me. I was thinking of enrolling at WGU after getting my A+ certification and work on the BS IT degree (with no particular emphasis). This would allow me to get a degree and some certifications under my belt. Although they would not necessarily be related to Computer Forensics (CF), they would provide a foundation on which I can rely for other possibilities.

    The other alternative would be to delay the degree and work on CF related certifications. I'm not sure if this would be beneficial should I not be able to find an internship or job in the digital forensics. I'm interested in pursuing training next year to become a Reserve Police Officer. If I could combine the experience of law enforcement with any sort of computer forensics training I can accomplish, it would be ideal.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    If you become a reserve police officer, see if the department will allow you to take some add-on classes. Here in NJ, the police academies offer low cost courses in various law enforcement topics (computer forensics, accident investigation, gangs, etc). It will definitely help out with your future goals.
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  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,962 Admin
    The experience and understanding you would gain in the operations and procedures of a law enforcement department and the court system would also be invaluable. People who already have the LE knowledge and training will always be cheaper (and therefore preferred) to hire than those who lack experience and training.
  • KasorKasor Member Posts: 929 ■■■■□□□□□□
    In addition, a certified on CF without real job explanation. It's very questionable on performance. Most CF within private or LE agencies. If you are into CF, then another way is to become a police. Now, you can be part of the CSI. I am seriously recommending to all those young college folks want to do CF. Join the police first.
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  • ashaikh32ashaikh32 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Working with Law enforcement as Computer Forensic alongwith 11 years of IT experience in different cadres. Is someone can provide me lead to find a Forensic Job?
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,962 Admin
    ashaikh32 wrote: »
    Is someone can provide me lead to find a Forensic Job?
    In Pakistan? Have a look at law enforcement, city, county, state, and government jobs Web sites.
  • YuckTheFankeesYuckTheFankees Member Posts: 1,281 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I recently just started an internship with one of the 1st individuals trained by the government in computer forensics. I began to ask him question after question, and it's really interesting to hear answers from a professional who is known as one of the best CF examiners in the United States. One of the questions I asked him was how important it was to have law enforcement experience and he said it doesn't really matter. Law enforcement isn't going to teach you how to be a CF expert, unless your law enforcement job was related to CF in some way. Having the proper training, certifications, and work experience is the main thing agencies and companies are looking for. **Not only is there a shortage of CF professionals but you have to look at the quality of the current CF professionals as well.**

    He had me sit down and read a 24 page report he had put together from a recent case. Long story short, the plaintiff's CF examiner only found info that backed his client's story and didn't go into further detail to get the whole story. The plaintiff's CF examiner found the "info" in one of the 1st pre-fetch files (there were over 100 prefetch files in all) and then he stopped his research because it helped the plantiff's story. The defendant's CF examiner went through all the pre-fetch files and easily rebuttled what the plantiff's CF examiner found.

    The moral of that story is.. how easily it is for CF examiners to be unethical. As a CF examiner, your goal is not to make the plantiff or defendant happy, your goal is to find and report exactly what you found on the computer. If the information helps your client, well GREAT!..if it actually hurt their case, than too bad. Being ethical and through is very important!

    **The case I described was very vague but understand I can't give detailed information **

    **I'm writing this post from my Linux laptop and my cursor keeps jumping around on me, so sorry about grammar!**
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