Computer Forensics Courses – Why Companies and Agencies Need You

Fifteen years ago, the California Highway Patrol called Netscape company engineering headquarters to inquire whether or not they could use email evidence recovered from a suspect's computer as legitimate evidence that a crime had been committed at a certain time.

Netscape checked into it and discovered that the time stamps from the sender through the local servers and to the recipient matched a pattern consistent with the email having been sent at the time specified on the suspect's computer. The Highway Patrol moved on to use the evidence in their testimony.

Today, it isn't as simple as just calling the local software company every time there is a question about computer data and a crime. In practice, the bulk of the experts that go out and get the data for evidence are typically certified computer forensics professionals.

A Growing Career Field

The type of education necessary to become a computer forensics professional is highly specialized. Some schools break the discipline into computer forensics courses that provide a legal and ethical framework for students to understand before delving into the actual computer science and IT systems aspects of the profession separately.

Other schools approach the discipline from a criminal justice standpoint, wrapping the technical training coursework into a degree program that features several courses in criminal law as a core curriculum for students, who then are free to explore specialized areas such as arson investigation, cyber crimes, and forensic biology.

Computer Forensics Coursework

Although many schools prepare students for a certification that is computer–centric, students can also often avail themselves of courses that emphasize other types of software and hardware. Coursework specializing in cell phones and tablets and other devices that contain embedded software are available; as well as coursework on retrieving data and running analyses on operating systems.

For computer forensics students that work with network break–in attempts that are either handled privately or reported as a crime, there are several different types of network forensic courses available.

A Variety of Different Applications

Computer forensics is a broad enough field that the range of courses offered in terms of level is also very diverse. Students that are just starting out in the field can avail themselves of certificate or associates programs; while those that are interested in continuing to complete a more professional degree can choose from either Bachelor's or Master's level degree programs. Enter your zip code to see what computer forensics courses are available in your area.