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For anyone looking to get into Forensics....
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Cherlota
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Joined: Apr 08, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you to both Farmdude and DanHaynes
Very good ideas …. Thank you for the suggestions and insight. As far as PreferredUser is concerned he might have a lot of experience in the area and maybe I took what he said the wrong way but as someone who is highly intelligent myself , his wording was not professional but rather personal and I feel was an attack of my character – he did it twice - I don’t have time to waste with things like that. I would prefer the conversations remain on a professional level.
I am sure I could do the boot-camp and pass the certifications, however I do like being thorough and well trained in any field I go into. Currently I am doing a matrix of about 10 colleges that offer various computer administration, security and forensic degrees. I will post my results once I have completed it to help others like me with similar questions.
As far as the job market – I do understand what you are saying. Teaching may have more opportunities open, but as of right now there are not many in my area – I will keep my teacher certification current but am looking to teach in the future online or at the college level which will require further study at the PHD level which I am prepared to do. However I am disgusted with the public school system and the ignorance I see there and even with all my degrees the pay at that level is only $48K in Georgia. Relocation is not possible for at least a year as I own a house and we all know how the housing market is right now so selling it might take some work.
I really want to work in the computer field. Though I know a lot about computers and love to learn and learn very quickly (I have even helped others to understand college assignments in forensics classes they have taken while getting degrees in computer and internet administration and security – and this is without taking the classes myself but just reading the materials and helping with the research.) I still know I have a lot to learn and a lot to research to find the best fit for me. I do love the investigation aspect of it all and love computer knowledge and learning.
I am here to soak in your knowledge and experience and for guidance – not for debate or questions that attack character. So I will state to PreferredUser if I took what you said wrong I apologize – but enough already with the character attacks. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone but me and when all is said and done – I am the one who has to be happy with my career choice and I am the one who has to do all I can to build my knowledge in my chosen area to be the best I can be and worthy of employment in the field. I am one of the sweetest and most kind people you can meet unless attacked – and when I am verbally attacked or feel I am – then I respond. But as I said I don’t have time for petty BS.
A current graduate in the computer field with a BA in Computer Administration and security advised me that employers are looking for computer administration course work and knowledge. It could be that CF is a concentration I might want to add down the road. At this point I am researching what education is out there, the certifications and job market - So all of your professional input is appreciated.
It might be that I end up combining all my knowledge and end up teaching Computer courses and possibly CF at the college level once I am done. My main focus right now is the research into the various opportunities before I make a final decision as to my educational pursuits. I joined this forum to get a better understanding of the field, requirements and job market. So any advice in those areas are appreciated.
I will post on the job market sight and see what employers are looking for – thank you for that suggestion FarmDude. And thank you Dan for your input as well. Look forward to any more professional suggestions. Will purchase the Official EnCase Certified Examiner Study Guide and look into training from AccessData, EnCase, or SANS. I am ready to get on the path to my future success and want to stay on the best path for me.
Wink
later..... Cherlota
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Smaynard
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Joined: Apr 27, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Other Cert Reply with quote

Just wanted to throw another cert in the mix that I noticed wasn't on the original post. CHFI.
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Gott
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Joined: Apr 30, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post. As someone looking how to get started down the path of computer forensics, forums and threads like this one are invaluable.

Just wanted to extend the thanks before burying my nose into the PDFs.
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brandio
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Joined: Jun 16, 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:07 pm    Post subject: After you get certs Reply with quote

I am planning on going to the Miami confernce in October to take the CHFI class but I am worried that after I take the class then what. Where can I get work?

I am currently doing computer consulting and really interested in Forensics but can't find where I could work or to use the cert in the private sectors.

I live in INdiana and there is nobody in my town currently offering any forenscis service that are not from out of state.

I currently have my bachelor degree in computer science, Microsoft certified and A+ certified and have been doing computer consulting for over 10 years. I have a very small client base but really have no overhead.

I was reading a book about how to start a forensic lab but I am just really confused on which route to take.

Please advise on how to break in this business after you have your certs.
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cybercop
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Joined: Nov 01, 2005
Posts: 551
Location: Marion, Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brandio,
There is always the state police and county sheriff. May even consider since you have been doing consult work for so long, including forensics on your shingle.
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PreferredUser
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Joined: Jan 01, 2007
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brandio, you did not specify what city, however in addition to the suggestions from cybercop, the AG hires civilian examiners.

If you stay on the corporate side you might find that other IT shops will be a great source of referrals. If you are not competing with them, shops that specialize in repair/networking are very likely to provide clients or "re-sell" your services especially when you explain the training, equipment and liability requirements of providing forensic services.

I would recommend Incorporating and covering yourself with E&O insurance.

FYI - At this time Indiana does not require a PI license, however all surrounding states do.
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brandio
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks so much for your ideas! I am from Evansville. It is just hard to figure out how quickly I can make income from class and where to start. thanks for the good ideas
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RJforensic
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Joined: Sep 11, 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:06 am    Post subject: Re: After you get certs Reply with quote

Actually, there are 2 people who are offering services who are from Evansville and Indiana residents.

Wondering how fast you will get your money back is probably the least of your concerns. You would need to take business away from people who have already been around and established themselves as very good investigators. You will be asked about testifying in court, which you probably haven't done. You will need to get a good sized toolbox going and then consider the yearly dongle upgrade costs, plus costs of CE for any certs which you want to get.

Microsoft Certified and A+ really don't mean anything to attorneys who are looking to help in their civil or criminal cases, experience is what they want.

Someone may be willing to overlook the lack of testifying and ask you "have you at least been deposed" which you will have to probably answer no to.

brandio wrote:
I am planning on going to the Miami confernce in October to take the CHFI class but I am worried that after I take the class then what. Where can I get work?

I am currently doing computer consulting and really interested in Forensics but can't find where I could work or to use the cert in the private sectors.

I live in INdiana and there is nobody in my town currently offering any forenscis service that are not from out of state.

I currently have my bachelor degree in computer science, Microsoft certified and A+ certified and have been doing computer consulting for over 10 years. I have a very small client base but really have no overhead.

I was reading a book about how to start a forensic lab but I am just really confused on which route to take.

Please advise on how to break in this business after you have your certs.
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farmerdude
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Joined: Jan 12, 2006
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always remember to network. Networking is the often overlooked but should never be undervalued thing many forget.

You might consider seeking employment, full time or contractor basis, with a services company or company and work in the recovery, security, or forensics side of the organization. Perhaps even look to an internship if your business can sustain you while interning.

Cheers!

farmerdude

www . onlineforensictraining . com

www . forensicbootcd . com
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Tbitt
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Joined: Sep 15, 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone! I'm currently a freshman at UAT (University of Advancing Technology) in Arizona which I recommend highly to Cherlota from my experiences so far. I am majoring in Network Security with a minor in Digital Forensics and planning to get my masters in Information Assurance. I have only had a few classes, but so far it is very interesting to me. Today starts our training using F.R.E.D. PC's Smile which I've heard many good things about. I plan to look for internships by this summer if not by the summer of my sophomore year, but I was going to ask a few of you who have been studying and/or in the field for a while... where would be a good place to look for internships?
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Yugo
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Joined: May 12, 2011
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Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the very useful information posted here....


In fact, especially PreferredUser because you are making me rethink if this is something that I really want to get into.


The more that I dwell into this subject, the more that I am realizing just how much knowledge and expertise is required.


I have a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a bit of programming knowledge, and have worked in an unrelated field ever since.
I am currently considering taking a two year Computer Crime program at an excellent educational institution ( bcit.ca ) with the aim of doing digital forensics for the local policing agency here.



Does the expected level of expertise differ in your guys' experience from someone that is working for the municipal police in recovering digital evidence, to someone that is trying to combat high tech crime?


I don't mind rolling up my sleeves and learning as much as I can, however the task of catching up to some of the professionals in this field that have been doing this for years (can I even say decades? Smile ) seems truly daunting.
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PreferredUser
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Joined: Jan 01, 2007
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yugo wrote:
In fact, especially PreferredUser because you are making me rethink if this is something that I really want to get into.
I really believe that there are a lot of people that have good technical skills to go into CF that either do not have the mindset or aptitude to not just do the work but to like doing the job and be appreciated for the job they do.

An aptitude to do a job is not just having the technical ability to do the job. Think of a doctor. There are a lot of them that go through school, pass their boards and go into practice. But how many of them are good. Yes there are many that have great technical skills, but they cannot relate to patients, they cannot reassure a patient going into surgery, they cannot comfort a family. Are they good technically? They may be great, but there is more to being a good doctor than being technically proficient.

Let's say an examiner is great at finding deleted files, but cannot get in front of a jury without locking up from stage fright. Technically they are great, but they lack an aptitude for delivering the message.

One other thing I believe that people looking to get into the field do not always consider is what if you hate the work? What if you do not have the aptitude? What is your fall back plan? What are you going to do with an incredibly specialized degree if you hate the work?

I just think there are a lot of things to consider in this or any career.
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newbie99
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Joined: Dec 11, 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everyone, Im REALLY new to the computer world. I have all of the basic computer knowledge and some would say abit more. I start Devry in AZ next month for BS-Information Technology with an emphasis in CF. Now Ive been in law enforcement for over 15 years as a cop and love the job, but looking into what I want to do when I retire. Now Preferred User you sound like a person who is in this industry and made statements that one can have the technical experience or skills but can they apply them. Im wondering the opposite. Ive done many investigations and have put many criminals behind bars for several years. I know myself and i can literally spend hours on a computer messing around and figuring something out. Ive just never taken any professional class on computers before. Any advice from you (Preferred User) and anyone else before I take the plung back to school for the next two years. (Already have my AA). Thanks again for any responses and dont worry about offending me, Ive got thick skin!! (You have to if you wanna be a cop)!
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PreferredUser
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

newbie99 you have a bit of advantage being in LE that you can get training at a lower cost (or even free) to see if CF interests you. Does your Department/Agency have a CF Unit? That would certainly be a starting point, especially with 15 years in you should be able to bid on an opening pretty successfully.

I would look into NW3C. Maybe take the 1-day STOP course or the 4-day BDRA course.

In regards to Devry I have never gone there, however there are many comments here and on other forums that I would encourage you to read. Some people liked it others not so much and there are many comments from prospective employers. Personally I think it is no more expensive than other private schools, my concern would be how a degree from there is viewed by prospective employers.

The biggest challenge I have seen for former LE is working for "the other side". When you have friends that are still in LE and an examiner suddenly becomes the opponent it is not always pretty. Of course you could go the corporate route and never really have to deal with that issue.

Also setting up a shop is not an inexpensive endeavor if you are thinking of going that route. I would recommend pricing out some equipment so the sticker shock wears off by the time you are ready.

Finally, and this is the "thick skin" part, there has been a long on-going argument: is it easier to make a cop a CF examiner or to take a IT person and make them an investigator. The answer is neither is easier. I have worked with a lot of sworn LE that could not get being a CF examiner no matter how much training they were sent to, likewise I have worked with a lot of brilliant IT people that could not follow a lead if it was laid out in a line for them to follow and many more that were creeped out or just could not stomach the work.

FWIW You may also encounter a bit of reverse discrimination if you go corporate where employers do not think you can do the work because you have a "cop mindset".

I hope I answered your questions.
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newbie99
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the response Preferred User. As I stated before I am really new so what is NW3C and the 1-day STOP course or the 4-day BDRA course?

Yes we do have CF Unit in our department but things are done differently in the LE world on the west side of america as to the midwest. Its not as easy as one would think to get into that unit (especially with my time on). But Im not planning on retiring for another 11 years so I have some time left to get into the unit and gain some experience.

I was hoping that with a BA in CF from Devry and then get a few years experience and some more training from my department when I do retire, I would have hopefully made a few friends and contacts in the industry where I could get a job for either the LE side as a civilian or the corporate world. I have read mulitple mixed reviews about Devry and the majority of the complaints (Besides the cost) have seen to be that there is not enough law and legal into the course curriculum. They all say that the courses are challenging and have more emphasis in IT. I think that actually would suit me better since Ive got plenty of years and experience in the hot seat in court. (Now I know as CF its a bit different due to the way your testifying to scientific analysis, theory and lab procedures. etc) But being IN the hot seat is just what it is and theres no better experience then real life court. You can mock it up all you want but untill you have some million dollar attorney ask you questions that are so far fetched you wonder where he went to school to think of that BS, its not the same.

Now as far as learning more is there any good books or websites I can read that would help me prepare for 1. Devry and 2. a career in CF?

Thanks again for any responses.
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