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Computer forensics has many names-digital forensics, cyber computer investigation, network threat analyst, security analyst, cyber forensics analyst, and more depending on the company. The Infosec Institute defines a Computer Forensics Investigator or Forensic Analyst as a specially trained professional who works with law enforcement agencies, as well as private firms, to retrieve information from computers.

TechTarget defines computer forensics as the application of investigation and analysis techniques to gather and preserve evidence from a particular computing device in a way that is suitable for presentation in a court of law. The goal of computer forensics is to perform a structured investigation while maintaining a documented chain of evidence to find out exactly what happened on a computing device and who was responsible for it.

Education

You can acquire the knowledge and skills to work in this field from a variety of degree choices. Some undergraduate programs are dedicated to digital forensics, whereas others are available through coursework or specialization. We will cover some of these degree options to illustrate these points.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations

This particular online degree teaches students to employ fundamental computer theory, adhere to professional ethical standards, and apply the principles of effective digital forensics investigation techniques. You will learn to interpret and appropriately apply the laws and procedures associated with identifying, acquiring, examining, and presenting digital evidence. As a graduate, you will adhere to the ethical standards of the profession and apply those standards to all aspects of the study and practice of digital forensics.

Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies

The School of Information Technologies offers a Bachelor of Technology in three concentrations. One of which is Cyber security and Digital Forensics. The coursework prepares students for the highly specialized work of protecting computers, computer systems, and networks from various cyber threats. These include hackers, viruses, and worms. You will also learn about investigative techniques to thwart and detect computer threats. The program accomplishes this with courses in digital forensics, network security, computer security, and secure system administration.

Bachelor of Science in Professional Technology Studies

This program has a computer forensics concentration. It provides knowledge of information technology and an understanding of the criminal justice system and cybercrime. Students will gain hands-on experience solving cybercrime in virtual labs and have opportunities to develop security plans for computer networks. One of the career courses in computer forensics and cyber law examines the legal aspects of forensic investigations.

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Forensics and Information Security

The School of Communications and Information Systems combines the disciplines of technology, business, organizational behavior, and law. Students learn techniques used to detect, respond to, and prevent network intrusions. They also master broader concepts such as the responsible use of resources, the appropriate management of risks, and the alignment of information technology with the organization. Graduates will be eligible for jobs in law enforcement agencies and private sector organizations as skilled professionals. You will have both the business acumen and technology skills for recognizing and mitigating vulnerabilities.

Technology Forensics

A technology forensics specialist is an information technology professional who supports the military, corporate, law enforcement, and legal communities in the investigation and analysis of digital data. Students in the Technology Forensics degree program will learn methods to obtain and document digital information. You will determine how information was compromised, trace attribution of malicious code, and reverse engineer data to develop mitigations and countermeasures. Upon completion of the 120 credits degree, you will also be able to evaluate and execute the strategies, methodologies, and techniques applicable to digital forensics. Your knowledge will extend to how to use state-of-the-art forensics tools for the preservation of digital evidence on computer systems, network systems, and other electronic devices.

Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics

This degree, as the name implies, entails computer forensics. You will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to collect, process, preserve, analyze, and present computer-related evidence. You will learn to use tools and techniques to recover and secure information from computer operating systems, file systems, networks, and mobile devices. You will learn the nuances of detecting fraud, finding and assessing network vulnerabilities, and assisting in a criminal investigation or in counter-intelligence activities. The hands-on learning and solid theoretical knowledge allow you to seize a variety of professional opportunities.

Conclusion

As you research these and other programs, note which ones have national designations. There are college programs designated by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3). DC3 designates programs as a Center of Academic Excellence in Digital Forensics (CDFAE). This is a partnership between academia, standards bodies, and the U.S. Government to establish best practices for digital forensics education. Education providers are held to digital forensics education standards based on knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) used in the field. This approach advances the discipline of digital forensics and increases the number of qualified professionals to meet the needs of law enforcement, counterintelligence, national defense, and legal communities.

Additional Resources

What Classes will I take in a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Forensics?

What degree do I need for Computer Forensics?

What degree do I need to be a Digital Forensics Analyst?

What Occupations are there with a Degree in Information Systems Security?

What degree do I need to be an Information Technology Specialist?