FIGHT RISING THREATS WITH AN ASSOCIATES in COMPUTER FORENSICS
In May of 2017, Homeland Security released a report detailing cybersecurity attacks that affected energy, IT, Healthcare and more. The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center continuously makes thorough investigations. The USA Today article detailing these cyber security attacks underlines the urgency and importance of attacks of this nature. Though we see reports on cyber breeches every day, and headlines change every hour, it is essential to remember that systems that keep us safe and secure are regularly compromised by cyber criminals. Even cyber security experts have yet to agree upon the best way to tackle cyber threats, and yet everyone agrees that cyber security issues drastically impact our lives. At the personal and business level, cyber security attacks are expected to cost $6 billion in annual damages by 2021, or twice as much suffered in 2016. At the much more personal level, have you ever been doxed? Have you known of someone who was? Doxing is a malicious attack on an individuals where that individuals information is than used for the intent of blackmail, exacting revenge, and general harm. This form of extreme cyber bullying is viscous and growing. For more information on how cyber security threats look, take look at our Shocking Facts on Cyber Security
Still, regardless of these numbers state actors remain the largest cyber risk, both as victims and belligerents. Hackmageddon chronicles cyber attacks each month – keeping attack reports to the most prominent. You get the picture, cyber attacks are coming from everyone. You can even monitor cyber attacks from your home computer.
To be sure, governments have increased security measures, but a large chunk of the tech community argue that present initiatives aren’t enough. Hence, perhaps, the increasingly popular vigilante approach: single-actor hackers and hacktivist collectives. While vigilantism is in vogue with regards to matters cyber security-related and otherwise, locking down your initial degree in cyber security isn’t a half bad idea, either.
WHY GET AN ASSOCIATE’S IN COMPUTER FORENSICS?
Given all the above, you might be considering an associate in forensics or a cyber-related field, and, from a career perspective, it’s a good bet. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects computer and IT jobs to grow 12% through 2024, which equals about 500,000 jobs. Most importantly, information security roles are predicted to grow 18%, or more than twice the average rate.
So why pursue an associate’s in computer forensics? Job opportunities in cyber security are growing at an astronomic rate. Where other computer science-related degrees provide general opportunities in the IT industry, a focus on computer forensics sets you apart from the competition and provides you with versatility as forensics is interdisciplinary. An associate’s degree makes for a smooth transition either into a bachelor’s program, or right into an entry-level position. From there you may collect years of experience and even find a certification to help you further hone your expertise. In fact, a great deal of cyber security knowledge is accrued on the job. Most certifications require 3-5 years of experience, and can greatly increase your pay. But first you’ve got to get in the door. That’s where an associate’s degree really excels. In just two years you can begin your cyber security work, and in little more than the time if would take for your to continue on and get your bachelors, you may have further honed your career-related skills with a certification.
Perhaps the most particular reason to pursue an associate’s in computer forensics, is that it’s the most specialized associate’s level cyber security degree that prepares you for law enforcement roles in cyber security. An entire silo of many cyber security organizations are involved with investigating past attacks, auditing procedures, and general forensics investigations. If that seems interesting, an associate’s degree in computer forensics will put you right at the door of entry level positions in cyber security law enforcement.
Associate’s in Computer Forensics VS. RELATED DEGREES
Still confused? Let’s break down what a computer forensics degree is all about, and compare it to comparable cyber security-related degrees at the associates level.
- Associate of Science in Computer Forensics: this program is similar to the A.S. in Cybersecurity with more of an emphasis on forensics. This degree is interdisciplinary in its approach with an inclusion of criminal justice, programming, networking technology and various operating systems. Like the above and A.S. in Forensics prepares you for the next degree level up- a B.S. in Forensics and prepares individuals to sit for their certification exam.
- Associate of Science in Cyber Security: The gateway degree in a wide array of cyber security-related fields. This degree is often used for transference into a bachelor’s in cyber security as it prepares individuals for the broad array of skills one needs when engaging with information assurance. This degree examines cybercrime, homeland security, digital forensics, wireless and mobile defense mechanics and more. Additionally, an A.S. in Cyber Security provides the skills required to sit for certification programs.
- A.S. in Network Security: the first step in to the more technical side of cyber security. This degree is perfect for individuals who are looking to lean more heavily on the IT side of cyber security and will prepare you to do so with programming in computer technology, networking fundamentals, data security, computer forensics, and various operating systems. Additionally, this degree prepares individuals for entrance into a B.S. in Network Security and prepares individuals to sit for cyber security-related certifications.
Associate’s in Computer Forensics: Core Curriculum
No A.S. in Computer Forensics is the exact same, but most degrees consist of about 60-70 credits and take 2 years to complete. A typical core progression might look like:
- Security Operations and Ethics
- Information Technology Fundamentals
- Windows Operating Systems
- Database Concepts
- Advanced Network Security
- Computer Forensicsx
- Personal Computer Hardware
- Firewalls and Network Security
- Speech Communication Skills
ASSOCIATE’S IN Computer Forensics: ELECTIVES
Some programs include built-in elective options like:
- Computer Forensics
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Justice
- Evidence and Court Procedures
ASSOCIATE’S IN COMPUTER FORENSICS: CAREERS
Perhaps the most surprising fact about the cyber work force is that, despite predicted gains in employment, experts still project a shortfall of 1.5 million skilled workers. In other words, massive demands for cyber security and information assurance professionals are going unfilled. If you’ve earned an associate’s in forensics, you’re qualified for most introductory positions in cyber security, but some stand out:
- Vulnerability Assessor: A Vulnerability Assessor (a.k.a. Vulnerability Assessment Analyst) scans applications and systems to identify trouble, vulnerabilities, and flaws. This individual then presents findings in a comprehensive, prioritized document known as the Vulnerability Assessment.
- Median Salary: $$64,000
- Job Outlook for Cyber Security Careers, 2014-24:18%
- Security Specialist: A security specialist may be defined as anyone who specializes in the security of people, assets, networks, telecommunications systems, and IT systems such as a personal bodyguard, security guard, or computer security analyst.
- Median Salary: $73,426
- Job Outlook, 2014-24: 17%
- Security Administrator : A Security Administrator is basically the point individual for cyber security systems. Individuals will likely be responsible for installing, administering and troubleshooting your organization’s security solutions.
- Median Salary: $61,500
- Job Outlook, 2014-24: 18%