Computer Forensics Degree
What is computer forensics?
Computer forensics is a relatively new discipline within the field of forensic sciences. There are several definitions and descriptions of what computer forensics is. Forensics means “pertaining to, connected with, or used in courts of law”, and is generally thought of as using different disciplines of science to gather evidence to present in court. So, basically computer forensics is bringing computer evidence into court. Like other forensic fields, computer forensics is used to find out what happened, how it happened, when it happened, and who was involved. Another way to think of computer forensics is the lawful retrieval and analyzing of data created and stored on computers to bring and present in a courtroom as evidence. If you would like to get started on this exciting and new career path you should start by looking into earning a computer forensics degree.
Where can I get a Computer Forensics Degree?
Since a computer forensics degree is a new discipline there are few schools that offer it. There are several online schools that offer the degree and a quick online search will help you find those schools. Most schools do see the demand for this degree increasing. Computers are now essential for most businesses, and the need for cyber security, data storage, data retrieval, and knowledge of computers systems is greatly needed. Schools that don’t offer a computer forensics degree do offer other degrees with a concentration in computer forensics. Those degrees are usually through other programs like computer science, information technology, information systems, or electrical engineering. Another option is for students to major in one of these degrees and minor in forensics.
What courses do I have to take to earn a Computer Forensics Degree?
As stated, a computer forensics degree is a new discipline; so many schools are still working on a curriculum for the degree. Classes for computer forensics generally consist of a mix of computer, science, and law classes. Students will take classes to teach them the skills and knowledge in computer operating systems, programming languages, common software applications, and various digital storage devices. Students will also learn general forensics techniques, investigative techniques, use of forensics software tools, how to collect evidence, how to examine evidence, how to present testimony in a criminal case, research, and strategies. On the law side, students will take classes in ethics, criminal law, criminal procedure, and possibly other law related classes. All of these classes help to build the technical, analytical, and critical thinking skills needed to successfully complete a computer forensics degree.
How do I pay for my Computer Forensics Degree?
If you can’t afford to pay for school yourself then you can apply for scholarships, grants, and loans. There are thousands of scholarships that are available for potential students. You should also look locally for opportunities. There are plenty of organizations that might offer scholarships specifically to students pursuing a degree in the criminal justice field. Students should also look at the availability of grants. The most known and widely available is the Pell Grant offered by the federal government. The great thing about scholarships and grants is that they are awards that do not have to be repaid. If you have exhausted your scholarship and grant opportunities then the last option for financial aid is taking out a loan. You should start with applying for federal loans like the Stafford loan or Perkins loan. These come with great, low interest rates and can be subsidized. Finally, you can apply for private student loans from banks or other financial institutions. They have low interest rates too. Some other advantages of a loan is you usually don’t have to start repaying the loan until after you have graduated and got a job; repayment terms can be 10, 15, or up to 20 years; and if you have several loans you can consolidate them into one single payment.
What can I expect after receiving my Computer Forensics Degree?
Job opportunities for a person with this degree are growing due to the rising number of criminal activities using computers and the pace that technological advancement is increasing. The knowledge needed to keep up with this is becoming apparent to law enforcement agencies, security firms, legal institutions, and government agencies. Jobs are available in a wide range of fields; for example, police forces, private security firms, law firms, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. Having a computer forensics degree will lead you to an exciting and rising career.