Throwing in the tow...
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Throwing in the towel

7 Posts
7 Users
Posts: 15
Active Member
Topic starter

Well, it's final. I'm officially resigning and will stop pursuing a career in computer forensics. After a little bit more than 5 years, I have come to the conclusion that this may seem an unrealistic goal given my geographical location.

I had tried to convince my company to fund me to be a certified forensic investigator so that we can start offering it as a service, and they weren't willing to pay for it. My salary couldn't even cover the costs of deferred payments or pay-as-you-go plans. There were literally no opportunities in my country to get in the field. I scoured the internet for companies and opportunities, I contacted senior investigators, HR, consultants, locally and abroad, personally to ask them if there was a possibility to hire a junior. Some responded, but the majority needed experience and some valued experience with a background in law enforcement. I wasn't going to try and get into the Egyptian Secret Service or the police just to try and get an opportunity outside somewhere in the future. No, I don't believe the ends justifies the means, at least not in this particular case. I wasn't going to be part of the reason people disappear. I'm sleeping much better at night.

I now just turned 31. Seems a little bit too old to even start getting into the job.. even if I find an opportunity or miraculously get someone to sponsor me. It's safe to say that I failed, but I'm not ashamed to admit it at all.

It was still a very humbling experience seeing how hard many of you worked to get where you are and to read people's experiences here on this forum. I really did learn a lot on the way and more knowledge about a topic like this can't hurt at all.

About a year ago (when I was beginning to lose hope) I used to see news, updates, etc… about computer forensics and I would always have the urge to hop back up and continue searching and working on this. Now, I couldn't really care less. Not for any particular reason, but today I can look at the past five years and say "I'm pretty satisfied with the effort I put in."

I think I'll go ahead and pursue a masters degree in computer science and take it from there. I discovered that I'm the kind of guy that likes one challenging problem and diving into it, learning as I go, and focus on it to the point that I can't hear anything or notice anyone around me. I thought I would make a really good investigator, but I think I would also be good at programming, or research.

This is a goodbye, and I wish every computer forensic professional on this forum the best of luck.


WF (Hope I don't disappear for criticizing you know who )

Posted : 26/02/2014 8:53 pm
Posts: 36
Eminent Member

Interesting post. It seems you have made your mind up, so I wont try to change your decision, but i'll give you an insight as to where i'm up to with forensics. I'm 24 and i'm in my final year of University. I've spent the last year looking for digital forensic opportunities (not so much placements, more grad-schemes and jobs). I can count on a single hand how many opportunities i've seen.

I haven't got the foggiest idea how people managed to find these kind of jobs out there. There are some, but they are mainly based in London (based on my searches). For those outside of London, there are some forensic companies and there are some police forces - which brings me onto my next subject.

Police forces are not actively recruiting. It might be down to the fact that police forces across the UK were having their budgets cut by central Government and were cutting down on staff as a result of it. As a 24 year old, who desperately wants to get into digital forensics as a career, I went with a friend of mine to a graduate-recruitment fair, where a certain police force were recruiting. I asked them "Are you looking for any digital forensics graduates?" to which the reply was "No, we aren't."

The look on the woman's face said it all. They weren't looking and had no intention to start, either. When I started my course, i'd spent a year researching forensics and found that there WAS plenty of opportunities. A few years makes a huge difference.

I don't know if i'll end up in a forensics job. I sincerely hope so, after all, i've dedicated the last 4 years of my life to it - but at the moment…well, I'll have to wait and see.

So, i'm sorry that you're "throwing in the towel", but at least you tried, whereas there are many people who will never try.

Best of luck in the future.

Posted : 26/02/2014 10:49 pm
Posts: 1206
Noble Member

The number of entry-level DF jobs related to the number of graduates will make it difficult at best to find that "one" job that is out there.

Unfortunately most all schools are in the business to make money (no sorry they are not in the business of providing the best possible education) and forensics and cyber security are big buzz words so that is what they are selling.

There have been quite a few posts over the years encouraging students that post here to look at more general CS degrees and get experience, unfortunately the schools do a better job of selling the fantasy than anyone here does selling reality.

Posted : 27/02/2014 3:03 am
Posts: 21
Eminent Member

Wow, that really is a bummer…I'm also new in forensics, I don't have a degree in CS, but I do work in goverment agency, tax agency that is. Here there are no forensics dept. or something like that, just a bunch of self proclaimed geek (most of them are accountant) that randomly tasked to assist investigation, whicih is also a bummer. We're (those self proclaimed geek) hoping a dept. or a division is to be formed soon, but from the way I see it, is a long loooong way to go.

I don't really like my job, the accountancy part, but I like it when the forensics assginment come (which is about once a month), so I was thinking about pursuing a degree in CF, but that's also a long way to go (I mean with the scolarship and all, since no CF degree in my country).

And to be honest your post, made me start thinking all over again about my CF degree plan.
I am in Indonesia, and there's not to many market for forensics here.

Posted : 27/02/2014 4:38 am
Posts: 550
Honorable Member

I think there is massive potential in Indonesia for CF work, but economically due to the US dollar vs Indo Rupiah the costs are prohibitive.

I often wonder what the market for pure data recovery would be like in Indonesia though, might be a way to make some money and fund your own studies/training?

Posted : 27/02/2014 12:11 pm
Posts: 72
Trusted Member

How about taking a job in incident response - a CF brother/sister? That's a similar area and allows you to be actively involved into problems you're interested in.
"Typical" computer security would be probably a bigger step to take (but not a step back!), but I believe it's also acceptable.

If possible you may use the solution I'm applying myself. There's not that many CF assignments in Poland, where I live, and even less in case of small to mid-size assignments where a 1-3 persons team may work on (the bigger ones are normally given to forensic teams of Big 4 companies ( ). Thus I do a typical fraud investigations / forensic accounting as well, or - should rather say - as a first pillar of my activity. But when needed, I can do CF as well. That makes my business comprehensive and - I hope so ) - attracting more customers.

Sure, progressing in CF is harder for me as I deal it not that ofter than those who do it on everyday basis. But since it's my passion, I spend much of my free time developing myself using test scenarios, cases available over the web and even student homeworks. There are tons of CF materials worth reading and it gives you a boost as well. Again - it's by all means not the same as regular CF job, but lets you stay in business.

Posted : 27/02/2014 8:25 pm
Posts: 1148
Noble Member

There were literally no opportunities in my country to get in the field.

The US and the UK seem to be the hot spots for forensic services – I suspect, at least partly due to the form the judicial process takes. If you have a jury who decides, the legal argument seem to be done in a somewhat different way than if there is a panel of professional judges to convince.

Where I am, it's much as you describe law enforcement and closely related fields are the main employers, along with some major companies and professional services, and while there are a few freelancers, they usually have a fairly solid background in LE or data recovery.

I think I'll go ahead and pursue a masters degree in computer science and take it from there. I discovered that I'm the kind of guy that likes one challenging problem and diving into it, learning as I go, and focus on it to the point that I can't hear anything or notice anyone around me. I thought I would make a really good investigator, but I think I would also be good at programming, or research.

That's more or less where I started programming. After a while I got the job to manage Internet security in a telecom field test, and since then it has been penetration tests, web application security tests etc. that forms the main part of my job. That led to some work in information security and quality-related jobs (ISO2001, etc.) Then, as a consequence of the security testing, I began to do computer intrusion examinations, and as a consequence of *that* I began doing 'normal' CF jobs.

That, of course, puts me squarely in the CSIRT forensics camp. I'm probably deluding myself, but I have the feeling that going the long way and collecting a lot of computer-related baggage has a number of benefits over what seems to be the 'usual' CF education.

That is, you can probably find spots where CF still is a valuable area of expertise, but you may have to refocus on computer or information security. (I see others have made similar suggestions.)

Good luck for the future!

Posted : 27/02/2014 8:55 pm
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