Digital Forensics Concentration
A career in Digital (or Computer) Forensics can be exciting, dynamic, and financially
rewarding. Typical Job Titles and Responsibilities may include:7
Job titles in the digital forensics field can include:
- Computer forensics analyst
- Counterintelligence studies and policy analyst
- eDiscovery and data restoration specialist
- eDiscovery and forensics project manager
- Forensics analyst
- Forensics consultant
- Forensic science technician
- Information systems security analyst
- Junior software developer
- Manager of network and data security
- Security consultant
- Systems administrator
- Technology risk management professional
Responsibilities for these positions might include:
- Performing comprehensive technical analyses and interpreting computer-related evidence on a variety of network environments, software, media and storage systems.
- Ensuring that collection of evidence and chain of custody processes are achieved consistently with industry best practices.
- Providing advisory services to enhance forensic and e-discovery engagements.
- Acquiring and developing comprehensive knowledge of client operations, processes and business objectives as well as internal operations, and using this information to identify additional opportunities for achieving client objectives.
With the skills acquired from the Holy Family University Digital Forensics
concentration, graduates may select from a variety of career tracts:
In the wake of far-reaching scandals such as Enron and WorldCom, and sweeping legislation like the Sarbanes-Oxley act, there is a growing demand for the services of forensic accountants. These specially trained individuals possess fraud examination skills which can help organizations in the detection and deterrence of fraud. Forensic Accountants combine their accounting knowledge with investigative skills, using this unique combination in litigation support and investigative accounting settings. Forensic Accountants may be employed by firms specializing in risk consulting and forensic accounting services. Forensic Accountants look for fraud including GAAP violations, money laundering, asset misappropriation, insurance claims, embezzlement, contract and procurement fraud, and securities fraud. Typical services performed in this career include: financial data analysis, evidence integrity analysis, testifying as an expert witness, damage assessment, tracing illicit funds, locating hidden assets, and even business valuation. Due to society’s heightened awareness and growing intolerance of fraudulent activity, demand for forensic accountants is rapidly increasing. 6
Private Sector Careers
As an IT security professional, you’ll design, build, and manage highly secure information systems that support organizational goals and drive productivity for your organization. As new cyber attacks increase, computer security specialists are in more demand than ever in protecting today’s enterprises. The need for end-user support is vital to protecting information.
Federal Government Careers
Federal government agencies are required to test their computer systems for security vulnerabilities and do contingency planning in the event of an attack or outage. Computer forensics professionals are employed by the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as other governmental agencies and bodies.1
The United States military employs many people in an effort to monitor web traffic related to national security and military bases abroad. Investigators monitor communications, bank transactions, transportation records and digital images from closed circuit and publicly accessible cameras. These electronic trails are followed in order to monitor the activity of organized groups, cells, and individuals plotting against the United States.2
Police are increasingly utilizing digital forensics to track and catch perpetrators of crimes including identity theft, child pornography, money laundering, and activities associated with organized crime. A Holy Family University graduate may be asked to find and collect passwords, emails, images, bank records and other data that is evidence of a crime, and possibly asked to testify in court about the findings of their investigation. 2
In today’s digital world, virtually all banks staff a department responsible for acquiring and analyzing digital information to prevent crimes such as fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and other financial improprieties. These investigators also assist in monitoring traditional and digital audits, providing digital security, and maintaining records.2
Private Security Firms
Many private security firms employ trained digital forensics personnel to assist in providing their clients with improved security and to track and apprehend anyone making threats to those clients. These investigators locate and analyze images from digital cameras or phones, collect email and voice mail recordings, and uncover traces of evidence from other computer memory devices. Private security firms may also be engaged to gather information against an employee that a company suspects is engaging in unauthorized activities on its computer network.2
Job Outlook and Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the field of forensics are expected to grow by over 20% in the 2008-2018 decade.3 This growth rate exceeds the average for all occupations. The number of FBI regional computer forensics labs grew from 3 in 2003 to 16 in 2008.4 Investigations handled in that time more than quintupled, leaving marketplace demand for qualified technicians higher than supply. Computer Forensics Investigators or Forensic Analysts are in high demand in this technologically-driven world. With abundant opportunities in both public and private sectors, the job outlook is excellent. The outlook is especially good for Analysts with master's degrees and pertinent certifications. 5
Analysts who work for state or federal law enforcement agencies usually earn a starting salary of between $50,000 and $75,000. Salary can increase with experience, advanced degrees, and security clearance. Analysts may also take home larger salaries when employed by private government contractors.5
Private corporations or consulting firms pay starting salaries of between $50,000 and $60,000. Analysts who work in major cities like Washington DC and Los Angeles can make more than those who work in less high-tech cities. More experience and advanced degrees can bring higher salaries. Analysts who move on to senior managerial positions within consulting firms can earn between $100,000 and $200,000. 5
Courtesy of the Infosec Institute 5
3 BLS Occupational Handbook 2010-11 Edition: Science Technicians