How to get a job in computer forensics

Written by katrina matterhorn
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How to get a job in computer forensics
Assess security threats in computer forensics (technology image by Stanisa Martinovic from

Computer forensics specialists examine and report on evidence of computer crime. You are usually required to be knowledgeable in such topics as intelligence analysis, incident response, intrusion analysis and security system planning. Getting a job in computer forensics includes training at the college level and internships or continuing education on the job. This is a fast-paced and dynamic field that requires a consistent updating of information technology education. Additionally, you need to understand network penetration testing and a variety of computer programming languages.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Complete a degree program in computer forensics. There are associate's, bachelor and master's degree programs. There is no standard in place for educational backgrounds, although many entry-level positions in computer forensics are geared towards those with bachelor's degrees. Also, acceptance into a 4-year degree computer forensics program also typically requires a background check. Courses in these programs can include: digital crime, computer ethics and information security systems planning. What companies are looking for (if you don't have a degree) is experience in computer security penetration, threat assessments, decryption and planning.

  2. 2

    Locate jobs you would like to apply for and ask of the requirements for the job. Some employers hire directly out of college and others ask for several years experience. Typical employers are government agencies such as the FBI, the CIA and law enforcement entities, as well as banks, law firms, technology and military defence companies.

  3. 3

    Try an internship program. This is usually organised during your second year of degree training. An internship can be beneficial where you can apprentice in computer forensics for on-the-job training under direct supervision. Consult with your undergraduate counsellor or you can contact local employers who are hiring specialists in this field to see if they have any internship programs available and if there are specific prerequisites for acceptance.

  4. 4

    Exhibit a working knowledge of intrusion methodologies, vulnerability assessments and the understanding of different programming languages. Understanding these is vital to a career in computer forensics. You can learn them through your degree or internship program.

  5. 5

    Complete forensics software certification. It is not required of all employers, but it can help you get ahead of your competition. Some prerequisites for taking the certification include documented classroom training or work experience. You will be tested on digital issues and security analysis. Organizations that offer certification include : Encase Certified Examiner Program (EnCE), Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) and the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE).

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