Advantages to Earning A Computer Forensics Degree
A computer forensics degree provides individuals with the knowledge necessary to expand educational backgrounds, propel personal goals, and build successful careers. Computer forensic degree programs allow students to detect and prevent computer crimes, collect electronic evidence, create a defensible forensic process, and gain a solid understanding of information technology, computer systems, and the legalities involved in computer forensics. As the field of computer forensics has significantly risen in relation to advancing technologies and the rise of the digital age, many colleges and universities have developed innovative curricula to train professionals within the field.
Additionally, as students manage work and family responsibilities while pursing degrees, many colleges and universities have created extensive online degree programs to extend education to students unable to attend on campus classes. Most online degree programs provide students with virtually the same educational experience as their traditional brick and mortar counterparts. Online courses generally consist of classes of 25 students who receive the same course materials and instruction as their on campus equivalents. Online courses generally offer students the added benefits of 24 hour access to course information and one on one chats with instructors and other students. Online courses also give students an added degree of flexibility in course scheduling and a more personalized educational experience to advance personal and career aspirations.
What Students Learn Within An Online Computer Forensics Degree Program
Students enrolled within an online computer forensics degree program gain the skills and knowledge necessary to perform as qualified professionals who detect and prevent computer crime. Students enrolled in an online computer forensics degree program learn how core courses in information technology, including operating systems, programming, databases, and computer system concepts. Students also learn career specific, specialized training related to collecting electronic evidence, creating defensible forensic processes, and network security. Courses for students seeking an associate’s degree in computer forensics include: computer forensics for the first responder, cybercrime and digital forensic tools, evidence collection and preservation, Windows and Linux forensics and networking, evidence analysis and presentation, criminal law, introduction to criminal justice, criminal investigation, constitutional law, OS platforms and computer technologies, fundamentals of networking technologies, information security fundamentals, and professional procedures and portfolio development. Graduates from a two year degree program in the field of computer forensics may advance to entry level positions in various agencies or go on to higher degree programs.
Students enrolled in a computer forensics bachelor degree program participate in courses like: criminal law, criminal procedures, networking and security, laboratory forensic science, financial accounting, operating systems, law of digital evidence, computer theory, criminal investigation, TCP/IP or Linux/Unix systems administration, anti-forensics or network forensics, computer forensics, white collar crime, forensic accounting, cybercrime, digital forensics, and forensic accounting.
Graduates from a bachelor degree program may advance to employment or go on to attain their master’s degree in cybersecurity with a specialization in computer forensics. Classes generally include: cyber intelligence, critical national infrastructures and national security, principles of cybercrime investigations, cyber counterintelligence, domestic terrorism and extremist groups, counterterrorism and cyber conflict, advanced topics in cybercrime investigations, computer forensics investigations, advanced telecommunications forensics, and critical incident command, response, and all hazards. Graduates from a cybersecurity/computer forensics master’s degree program are generally qualified as experts in the field and work as experts in the field.
Prospective Jobs For Graduates With A Computer Forensics Degree
As technology advances and the incidence of cyber crimes increases, the demand for qualified professionals within the field of computer forensics is expected to rise. Employment potential for graduates who obtain a computer forensics degree is dependent upon skill level, educational background, geographic location, and related work experiences. Many computer forensics graduates work as private detectives for state or local governmental agencies, law firms, stores, and financial institutions. Graduates with advanced degrees often work as senior investigators, computer forensics specialists or consultants.
Many graduates with master’s degrees in computer forensics hold jobs like: security network analysts, counterintelligence analysts, IT investigators, and computer forensics specialists. Some graduates may begin their own businesses as computer forensics consultants upon gaining relevant work experiences and adequate funding. Most computer forensic graduates work closely with individuals, attorneys, businesses, governmental agencies, and governmental workers to collect evidence used in investigations or recover, analyze and present data to clients.
Salary Range For Graduates With A Computer Forensics Degree
Earnings for graduates who complete a computer forensics degree vary tremendously and are based upon the organization of employment, skill level, educational background, and areas of specialty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that earnings for computer forensics investigators range from $30,870 to $59,060 annually. Earnings for public sector computer forensics professionals and private sector computer forensics professionals vary significantly. Public sector computer forensics professionals’ salaries are based upon pay scales and union wages. Private sector computer forensics professionals’ salaries are generally based upon market rates. Earnings for private sector computer forensics investigators generally range from $50,000 to over $200,000 annually.
Career Outlook And Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With A Forensics Degree
Computer forensics graduates are expected to be able to find many job opportunities as employment growth is predicted to increase at a much faster than average rate in comparison with other occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects employment in the field of computer forensics to grow by 22 percent through 2018. As the incidence of criminal activity on the Internet rises, employment opportunities are expected to be competitive and numerous. Most computer forensics graduates learn skills necessary for work through on the job experiences. Individuals beginning as entry level investigators receive training dependent upon the organization of employment. Many work their way up to positions with greater job responsibilities and increased salaries. Individuals who work within large corporations often receive formal training in management structure, finance, and business practices and gain skills on a case by case basis under the supervision of senior investigators. Graduates with advanced degrees generally begin with jobs with higher responsibilities and work as senior investigators or experts within the field.