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Top 5 Skills for a Career in Digital Forensics

Digital forensics is the field where technology meets criminal justice. Professionals in this field use their InfoSec skills to recover data and analyze information from devices (such as computers, USB drives, phones, etc.) to solve a various range of crimes and take down criminals. Interested in building your career around digital forensics? Here are some skills you will need to succeed in this field.

1. Analytical Talent

Just as in any investigative role, digital forensics professionals need to have analytical skills. You’ll be required to piece together information to solve a case, so analytical thinking might just come in handy sooner than later.

2. Tech Fundamentals

Since digital forensics is a technical field, it helps to have a solid computer science background. Some of the pre-requisite skills we suggest are a strong understanding of the fundamentals of modern operating systems and a least a basic understanding of networks, network protocols, and programming languages.

3. IT Security Practical Know-How

While it’s a good start to have theoretical knowledge, you will also need practical skills to solve crimes in real-life. Even better is knowing how to prevent such accident from happening in the first place. This skill will make you a valuable team member. The perfect candidate for a digital forensics role will not only have experience working in general IT, but also specifically in security.

4. Communication Skills

Whether you work with a team or as a consultant after a breach, the people you work for will need to understand what happened. Good communication skills are crucial. In the same way penetration testers are expected to create professional reports of their findings, digital forensics investigators need to be able to explain in terms that the rest of the team understands.

5. Desire to Learn

With new threats appearing every day, it’s no surprise that professionals in this field need to stay up-to-date. With a desire to learn new skills and techniques, you can only succeed as a Digital Forensics Investigator, or, at the very least, one can be a valuable asset to the team.

With security professionals in high demand and many jobs going unfilled, the future for anyone with these skills is very bright indeed. Add to that the fact that the average Digital Forensic Investigator salary is over $70,000 a year (according to PayScale.com) with the top earners making well into 6 figures, it’s a great paying career to boot (pun intended).

Source: Forbes

Curious about Digital Forensics? Learn how to investigate cyber intrusions and assist in cases of incident response with the Digital Forensics Professional (DFP) training course.

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  • Natacha Vit says:

    Hi Marine,

    I’m actually studying in Cyber-investigation at Polytechnique Montréal (Technological University). My goal carreer would be : pedophile investigation. And would be able working in concert with law inforcement.

    Do you have any tips or suggestions (academic or so) for me ?

    Thank you very much for time,
    Natacha Vit

    • Marine D. says:

      Hi Natacha,

      My opinion might be biased, but I’d recommend getting a practical certification on top of your degree. That way, you can prove that you have hands-on skills to accompany your knowledge acquired at Polytechnique Montreal. 🙂

      You can also request the help of a mentor, to guide you through the specifics of investigations.

      If you’re interested in learning digital forensics more in-depth and practice real-life scenarios, have a look at our DFP training course or request a free demo here.
      Additional resource from Chris Hadnagy on hunting predators here and EH-Net Live! webinar on how to use social engineering (with a part on tactics to hunt for predators) here.

      Hope that helps!

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