Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:01 am Post subject: Getting started (read all posts, still need advice)
Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to read my post.
I just want to preface my post by saying that I've read most all of the previous posts in the forums regarding advice on getting started/education, but I'm still kind of confused about what the best course of action for myself in particular would be, so I'm hoping for a more updated/precise answer for my situation.
Pretty much, I am good with computers, as is anyone who was a teen/young adult in the 90's, but I have no formal knowledge or experience.
Recently, I've realized that digital forensics and, to a slightly lesser degree, systems security (particularly ethical hacking) really interest me (and always have, but I'd been so intent on following my other passions in healthcare, only to realize recently that it's not in my heart anymore, that I always pushed it to the back burner).
Like I said, I'm leaning more towards forensics. Finding out the true actions of a person on their computer/digital device really interests me..what websites they visited, deleted files/e-mails, date/time stamps...basically uncovering their TRUE actions/deception and bringing them to justice. I feel like it's a really good combination for me.
Ethical hacking also intrigues me, but I'm not sure how much of a market there is for that honestly. It seems more like a freelance kind of thing and not as secure of a job.
So, for someone like me, with no prior education and experience in this field, what would you recommend as the route most likely to make me marketable to potential employees?
It seems like most of the relevant jobs from the searches I've done online require a Bachelor's in Computer Science or related field, with some certifications and at least a few years experience.
I guess my MAIN question is whether or not I should get a very BROAD degree like Computer Science (or another broad computer-related degree), or should I get a specialized degree in Digital Forensics? Do Computer Science degrees offer different concentrations or is it just a broad education of all of the different areas with limited in-depth education? Or does it go pretty in-depth in all areas? Is a Digital Forensics degree without any other education/experience completely pointless?
If you recommend a broad degree, is Computer Science the way to go, or should I consider Information Systems Security, since that is my second area of interest? Would ISS still be a good gateway into Digital Forensics? Any other degrees you would recommend?
My current job would pay for most of my education...I work for a major hospital and we have our own IT/Systems Security Dept.
I'm assuming it would make sense to me to try to get my initial experience with them, and then branch out into trying to get a Forensics job, once I have a little bit of experience.
As far as schools, would you recommend online vs in-person? Online would be more convenient for me, but I don't want to get a substandard education.
Finally, any opinions on the viability of Ethical Hacking in today's (and the future's) market and how to actually get into it would be greatly appreciated.
THANKS in advance to anyone who can provide me with some direction!
A CS degree will get you a job. From there you may get a job in DF. As I have noted in previous replies (which I am sure you have read), a few years ago you might have found an entry level position in DF, now most everyone wants some computer experience and even if they do not say so in the job posting you will be competing against people with experience.
There are many fine brick and mortar schools with online programs. Just make sure you look at the reputation of the program so you do not get stuck in a diploma mill or in a program that is not well developed.
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