Thursday, June 17, 2010

What about computer forensics jobs?

Starbucks and EnCase Computer Forensic IIImage by 2Tales via Flickr
I have been studying the job market lately to see what jobs are out there and what some of the most common requirements are being requested by employers.  This is far from a scientific study, but I think it is educational to be looking at what employers are asking for if you are planning on making a change, entering the field or trying to plan your educational and certification routes.

Who is hiring?

The big government contractors seem to have the most openings available.  Firms like FTI Consulting, General Dynamics, Deloitte, Booz Allen, ManTech, and others that do a lot of contract work for the military and large corporations.

Most popular area for employers looking for consultants:

Washington, DC area including the surrounding environs like Reston, VA and Linthicum, MD.

Most popular software experience desired in order of preference:

Encase
FTK

Mentioned occasionally (Not enough to form a preference listing for these):
iLook, Paraben, Drive Prophet, WinHex, Helix

I saw in very few job listings, any requests for experience with Macs and no requests specifically for Mac forensic software experience. 

Most requested certifications in order of employer preference:

  1. EnCE
  2. CISSP
  3. Comp TIA Net+
  4. CFCE
  5. GCFA

Most often required certification:

EnCE

Education and Experience:


The typical job listing was looking for 3 to 7 years of experience in computer forensics with or without a degree.

Entry level or junior level positions were asking for 0-2 years experience with a college degree in computer forensics / and or extensive IT / Network Security experience.

A lot of employers will accept experience in lieu of a degree, which makes sense considering that degree programs are relatively new in the field.

Salary ranges:
When posted, the salary ranges were in the 60K to 100K range depending on the level of the job.  Bear in mind that most jobs that showed salary ranges were in the Washington, DC area, so you need to calculate what that really means in living costs differential from where you are now.

Relocation:

Very few of the companies appear to offer relocation assistance.

Most often mentioned soft skills qualifications:

1. Excellent oral and written communication skills
2. Ability to interface effectively with clients and stakeholders.

Other:

A LOT of these jobs require either an active secret / top secret clearance.  Some will accept the “ability to obtain” a secret clearance.
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