As a forensic professional, you can learn many techniques on your own, although, you need a set of undergraduate degrees in the following:
- Computer science
- Information technology
Make sure you also take up courses on security issues and policies along with networking. You need to possess excellent computer skills in order to succeed. Additionally, you need to have a good understanding of the law and its enforcement. As a forensic professional, ensure to work upon your writing and communication skills for the board handling. Efficiency, determination, and enthusiasm may enable you to enjoy the essence of this work experience.
Just like every other career, a forensic expert requires a set of skills.
First, you need to possess great communication skills. This is important since you will be working with a collaboration of professionals at times. To add, you need to have substantial analytical and organizing skills. These traits will help you in effectively analyzing, organizing, and then presenting the findings of a cybercrime. In times when you will be working independently, you need a certain degree of self-discipline and self-motivation. By adhering to these skills, you can better comprehend the behaviors of those cybercriminals.
To deal with operating systems and computer software and hardware, you need to be proficient in CS and IT knowledge. UNIX/Linux, MS Windows, programming languages, and networks should be on your running fingertips. You need to have a professional understanding of ITIL and COBIt frameworks, ISO levels, and particular security system technologies. A set of hard skills like evidence control, usage of eDiscovery tools, and cryptography application are essential. On the other hand, software skills include the knowledge of Encase, FTK, Cellebrite, and Helix.
A bachelor’s degree in forensics will be a combination of IT and law programs. Courses will include white-collar crimes, criminal investigations, criminal procedures, and criminal laws. Whereas operating systems, fundamentals of networks, and Python will be covered in a computer science course. Since it’s related to cybersecurity, the IT forensic courses cover three key areas:
Operating system forensics
As a forensic examiner, you’re supposed to know different types of operating systems, file systems, and a wide range of tools that aid in the suspected machine’s forensic examination. You can track valuable information from those modern-day operating systems, to use as evidence during a forensic investigation. So, this domain will give you sufficient information on the latest operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, etc. You’ll learn forensic examination steps, data acquisition methods, and analysis of the operating system.
Digital forensics analysis
This part of the course offers insights on the digital data that can be retrieved and used in a forensic investigation. You’ll learn how to determine the scope of investigation by enquiring about the focus of examination, nature of the matter, the time when the events happened. Digital forensics analysis involves examining logical or deleted data, data leakages, and keywords.
This part of the course deals with investigating the ability of the malware to affect the security of your system. You’ll learn to investigate how the malware spread, what actions it has carried out, and how you can track down the attacker through it. Usually, you’ll be learning about email and browser forensics, network forensics, and other related aspects. But more importantly, you’ll get a great deal of knowledge about different malicious software in practice, including Spyware, Adware, Virus, Trojan, and the likes. If you want to include a forensics experience in your resume, you can enroll yourself in a variety of internship programs. Besides getting experience, the on-field exposure will keep you updated with the latest trends in cybercrimes.
The job experience for a forensic expert can fluctuate as per your employer, location, position, and industry. However, if you are opting for an entry-level position, you need to have a minimum of three years’ experience. Although, as a senior forensic analyst, you need to gain a maximum of five years of experience or even more, you need to opt for relevant internships and certification to add to your resume. The more the experience you possess, the higher the position you achieve. After you complete your education, you will have to actively participate in workshops and training sessions. These workshops will be based on methods of handling and analyzing particulars and courtroom evidence. Every now and then, you will have to take classes to stay updated with the latest developments and advancements.
To add to your credentials, like a forensic specialist, you will surely not mind opting for any optional certifications. Basically, there are two types of certifications:
These certifications encompass best practices related to a specific field, like project management or security management. You’ll get general information related to that field, which can really improve your chances of getting an entry-level position. There are different vendor-neutral certifications, including the following:
- Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE); offered by The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists, commonly known as IACIS
- Certified Computer Examiner (CCE); by International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE)
- Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC); you can get five GIAC certifications in the field of digital forensics, such as Reverse Engineering Forensics, Certified Forensic Analyst, Network Forensic Analyst, Advanced Smartphone Forensics, etc. These programs are run by SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network Security) institute.
Vendor-specific certifications are offered by different vendors who provide computer forensic tools. Getting any of these certifications means you’re an expert in using their forensic applications. At present, there are two most popular vendor-specific certifications:
- AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE)
- EnCase Certified Engineer (EnCE)
- Certified information security manager
- GIAC incident handler
- Certified information system auditor
- Certified penetration tester
- Certified ethical hacker
- Offensive security certified professional