There are four ways to get computer forensics training: post-graduate certificate, computer science degree, online computer training school, and computer professional associations. Computer forensics is also known as digital forensics and is closely related to forensic science. This field of study focuses on the collection and retrieval of legal evidence from computers and digital storage devices.
Computer forensics is a growing field that uses proven techniques to access data sources and collect information through a clear chain of custody from the crime scene to the court. It is very important that any type of digital information used as evidence in a court can be relied upon as accurate and unaltered. Due to the legal implications of computer forensics, computer forensic staff must be properly trained in the appropriate methods of data collection and analysis. Certified computer forensic staff have the training and background necessary to provide reliable evidence in court.
Post-graduate computer forensics training is available from a broad range of universities and is typically organized through the faculty of computer science. Admissions to these programs are limited to applicants with computer science, computer engineering, or accounting degrees. These programs are usually one to two years in length and are offered on a part-time basis.
Due to the rapid growth in demand for computer forensics training, many computer science degree programs now offer a minor specialty in forensics. The courses offered focus on data analysis, pattern recognition, software tools to identify suspicious activity, and the protocol surrounding data collection and validation. This field is expanding to meet increased need, so it is very important to keep up to date with the skills and techniques for data collection.
Computer forensics training is also available from a wide range of online computer training schools. When selecting this type of school, make sure that the training course is working toward the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) certification. This program is managed by the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE). There are specific courses and a written examination required to obtain this certification, which is highly valued in industry.
Many computer and accounting professional associations offer courses and seminars in computer forensics. The depth of material covered in these courses varies widely. They are often overview sessions, designed to provide a general introduction into the field of computer forensics. Courses that offer a more detailed examination of the techniques, risks, and benefits of computer forensics are usually two to three days in length and are hosted by a Certified Computer Examiner.