For those interested in entry-level positions in computer security, an associate's degree in computer forensics and network security may be obtained entirely online. Programs in computer forensics are available at several community colleges and technical institutes.
A bachelor's degree is a fairly standard educational requirement for most careers in the field, although some information security analyst positions are available to associate's degree holders who also have relevant work experience. Those who intend to transfer the credits from an associate's degree program to a bachelor's degree completion program should check on the availability of this option when choosing a program.
Associate's Degree in Computer Forensics
The field of digital forensics has developed from the necessary protection of sensitive electronic data. A computer forensics associate's degree program is interdisciplinary, drawing from the fields of information technology, math and criminal justice. Successful students are computer savvy and possess strong communication skills.
Students acquire a solid foundation in computer science and criminal justice as these fields pertain to the gathering and reporting of digital forensic evidence for legal purposes. Design and implementation of network security measures is also covered in detail. General education courses in science, math and writing help develop analytical and communication skills necessary for a successful career in computer forensics.
Secure Computer Networking
Methods of managing network security and detecting intrusions are discussed. Cyber crime can target e-mail and Internet use as well as affect operating systems and data files.
Techniques for collecting and analyzing forensic evidence for criminal investigations are introduced. Tools for extracting electronic data from computers, USB devices and cell phones are reviewed. Legal requirements for maintaining the chain of evidence are discussed.
Legal Course in Computer Forensics
Students learn the steps of legally reporting incidents of cyber attack and presenting evidence in court. Legal and ethical issues of data collection are considered.
Possible careers in this field include network and computer systems administrator and information security analyst. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean salary for network and computer systems administrators was $82,200, and the average salary for information security analysts was $93,250 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Those wishing to teach digital forensics or seeking management roles in the field may continue their studies for professional development. Bachelor's and master's degrees in computer forensics can be pursued online.
Those who want to obtain a computer forensics associate's degree can obtain it fully online through numerous schools and programs. Such programs prepare students for a variety of careers, as well as further education at higher degree levels.