What are the Different Types of Computer Forensic Jobs?

Carol Francois

There are four different types of computer forensic jobs: law enforcement, consulting, financial, and academic. A computer forensics professional has specialized skills in data retrieval, analysis, systems integration, and security software. Many computer forensic jobs require advanced degrees in computer science and technology.

Experts in forensics, including computer forensic specialists, may be required to testify in court.
Experts in forensics, including computer forensic specialists, may be required to testify in court.

People who report the greatest job satisfaction in computer forensics are detail-oriented, enjoy working with numbers, and like solving complex problems. In order to succeed in this career, candidates must be tenacious, hard working, and meticulous. The method used to retrieve the information is as important as the data retrieved. This is especially true if the data is going to be used in a court of law.

Computer forensics and data recovery are specialties within the computer science field.
Computer forensics and data recovery are specialties within the computer science field.

Most computer forensic jobs are found in the law enforcement sector. The increased availability of technology has resulted in crimes committed using computers. The computer forensics professional can find employment opportunities either in a police department or in a crime lab. In both environments, the expectation is to follow the accepted procedures and be prepared to testify in court.

Professionals with at least ten years of work experience often branch out and become full-time consultants. A computer forensics consultant can expect to find consulting opportunities working for small government agencies, lawyers, accountants, and private security firms. A large number of computer forensics professionals join a consulting firm. This allows them to delegate the daily management to someone else and focus on their area of expertise.

Within the financial services sector, there are an increased number of computer forensic jobs available. These roles are both preventive and evidence gathering. Many financial institutions have found that the official law enforcement response is slow. As a result, they often hire their own staff, collect evidence, and provide the complete data to the police to file charges. This process results in increased criminal charges and prosecutions.

Many computer forensics professionals have a wealth of knowledge they would like to share through teaching roles. As an academic, they have the freedom to teach, conduct research, write books, or participate in government think tanks and related associations. Computer forensics courses are available in the senior years of a computer science degree and at the graduate level.

The need for computer forensic jobs is only expected to increase. Trends include a focus on child pornography, financial fraud, and consumer fraud. Other trends may involve corporate espionage, political, and international crime issues.

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Discussion Comments


What about solid state devices? I heard you can't recover data from solid state because it's not the same as a hard drive and when you write 0s and 1s to the nand memory, the digital files are gone.


In the field all you need to know is 1) is this ethical? and 2) am I going to regret what I do? these questions are simple and can get you out of problems. Forensic tool like FTK and others can find pornography and other negative files on all media and drives, even virtual and non-local drives. Even Hex editors can find things. Just watch your neck! Be honest and ethical.


I am a hacker who is currently studying computer forensics at ITT. An experienced computer forensics analyst or a true elite hacker can retrieve files that have been deleted, formatted, and many times even smashed. The only true way to protect your files from being retrieved is to make sure they never exist in the first place. <#405


It really is pretty amazing how retreivable data on a computer is even after you delete it. There are services offered to the public to really delete files so that even a computer forensic technician can't get to it. Sometimes smashing the hard drive is really the only way to ensure data is truly gone.

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