Case study

Forensic computer analyst — Jack

Find out how Jack obtained his job as a technical security lead at a prominent cyber security consultancy

How did you get your job?

While studying my four-year Masters in computer forensics at university, I made every effort to network with professionals in the field.

The experience gained from my work placement year and summer placement was invaluable, as it gave me credibility as a candidate. I also had security clearance and good exposure to various areas of security, which was helpful at interview.

What are your main work activities?

My work is incredibly varied and interesting, as each digital investigation is slightly different. The core skills I use are the same, and the approach I take based on what I have learnt at university remains the same, but I have to be adaptable and proactive to overcome specific challenges.

I'm fortunate because I've done the majority of my training on computers, but have also since specialised in other areas such as mobile phones, so can take on a variety of cases.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of my role and working on different cases. I also find it very rewarding providing key answers to clients, through the use of digital forensics skills.

What are the challenges?

Technology in general is a fast-moving field, and this has a direct impact on digital forensics. Challenges emerge with each change, so having the resourcefulness to tackle that challenge and find a suitable solution is key.

Having more skills means having more to keep up to date with, which presents a challenge.

How relevant is your computer forensics degree to your job?

My degree could not be more relevant. I studied generic computing modules such as networking and programming, as well as specialist modules in cyber security and digital forensics. Every single element remains relevant to my role now.

Understanding and interpreting network traffic, being able to write my own digital forensics tools where they do not exist and many other things mean that my degree was instrumental in giving me the skills required for my role.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

As the sole digital forensics specialist in my company, I have a large amount of responsibility - my company is relying on me whenever a client requires an investigation.

My career ambition is to continue developing my knowledge and skills, both specifically within digital forensics and in wider topics, such as cyber security and incident response. These areas are interlinked, so being knowledgeable across the board can make you an asset to future employers.

Any words of advice for those looking to get into this job?

Have the right attitude and mindset. An employer can teach you skills but they can't teach you attitude. If you approach this career with passion and enthusiasm, a good employer will snap you up.

Try to make yourself different from other candidates, as this will put you in a stronger position when it comes to job hunting. Aim to identify current trends or new skills that are required, research and understand the latest challenges the industry faces and build a network to learn off others in the field.

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