The question: How do I become an IT forensic scientist?
My career background has been working within helpdesk and network environments for the past seven years. However, I have always been interested in police forensic work and would like to change direction and move into computer forensics. I have not got a scientific background. At the age of 30, have I left this move too late?
The solution: Be prepared to work your way up
It is never too late to retrain or up-skill if you are truly motivated and committed to taking your career in a new direction.
There are a number of computer forensics courses around the UK, many of which provide hands-on experience as well as insight into the theoretical context and legal implications. You may want to supplement these courses with refresher sessions on computer science, although your existing IT experience should provide you with a sufficient foundation.
Computer forensics is a growing specialist area with several well-established online forums and community groups, most of which can be easily found using a search engine. Many forums contain advice and postings on available jobs and suitable courses.
In terms of actively seeking roles within the forensics field, why not apply initially for helpdesk or network positions within organisations that are involved in computer forensics and then look to make an internal move once you have established yourself?
Alternatively, you could apply for junior roles directly in computer forensics. This may be a step backwards financially, but working in an area you are passionate about should give you more job satisfaction and the chance to build up experience for the future.
Solution by Simon Shobrook, senior IT consultant to the public sector practice at Hudson
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
E-mail your career questions to firstname.lastname@example.org