Computer Forensics… How do I get Started?
Computer Forensics… How do I get Started?
Everything has a starting point, even your career in computer forensics. I’m sure the question you’re asking yourself is, “how do I get started?” There’s really no one answer. It is highly advisable that computer forensics professionals earn at least a bachelor’s degree in computer forensics or a related discipline. A degree will help to prepare an individual for a career in the field. In addition, it will help significantly in terms of credibility. Remember, you will likely be called upon to testify in court as an expert in the field.
A computer forensics professional needs to have a strong IT background. Depending upon the degree you choose to pursue, you will likely have plenty of exposure to IT. However, will that be enough? Maybe; maybe not. You may need to look elsewhere in order to attain the level of IT knowledge that will help you to succeed in the computer forensics field. You can do it on your own. However, you may decide upon a more formal approach.
Technical or Vocational Schools
If you really want to go the formal route, you may want to start by looking at a technical college. What students can expect from most of these schools is an environment that provides a focused, hands-on approach to learning IT. A great example of this learning environment is found in Tennessee. Tennessee has 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) across the state and all of these schools have a Computer Information Technology (CIT) program. So, if you live in Murfreesboro, for example, and want to become a computer forensics investigator, you can attend the CIT program at the TCAT-Murfreesboro to strengthen your IT background. This program will also help to prepare you for industry certifications, such as CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+.
The Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA, is an IT certifying body. Its certifications are accredited by the American National Standards Institute and are vendor neutral. So, a CompTIA certification is meant to signal to a potential employer that a person has general knowledge in a specific area of IT. The point is, if you are going to spend all that time and effort learning about IT, you may want to strongly consider earning CompTIA certifications. As InfoWorld reported in a recent article, IT certifications not only help to confirm an individual’s level of IT knowledge, it also helps him or her command a higher salary. So, certifications provide much more than merely resume fodder.
Preparing for CompTIA Certifications
There are a number of ways to prepare for CompTIA certifications. As stated earlier, technical colleges are a tremendous help. Taking practice examinations is a popular choice. Also, there are books that are specifically tailored to the passing of IT certification examinations. One author, Darril Gibson, writes plenty of these books and he is one of the best at it. I defy anyone to find me a bad review on one of his books. Well, I’m sure there are one or two out there, but these are usually from people that did not prepare and took it out on the author of a book. In any event, if a person reads and studies a Darril Gibson book, he or she will be prepared for examination. His books are thorough, engaging, and interesting; you will not be bored out of your mind as you would be reading other exam prep books.
Another popular source for CompTIA certification exam preparation is Professor Messer. Professor Messer has a Youtube channel and has hundreds of videos that cover all CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ exam topics. He also has his videos for download and has exam study material available on his website. Go to Reddit and read posts from individuals that have passed a CompTIA examination. I would bet that around 85% of these posts will state that they watch Professor Messer videos and read a Darril Gibson book in preparation for an examination.
The road to a career in computer forensics is a long one. And, there’s more than one road to take. Make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance to become a computer forensics investigator. Earning a degree will help tremendously, and so will putting forth plenty of effort into learning IT.