Minoring in Digital Forensics

Deciding to minor on top of my major wasn’t exactly an easy choice at first. I’ve worked around 40-50 hours a week and taken 12-15 credits in summer, fall, and spring for the past 2 years. Top that with certifications, extra learning, fun time, and a social life – it didn’t leave much time left.

Luckily, my major actually cross-listed 3 courses so I wouldn’t have to earn the full 18 credits from scratch. It hasn’t really affected my graduation time as I’m still due to finish in the spring of next year.

The courses I get to focus on are Computer Forensics, Advanced Computer Forensics, and Advanced Windows Forensics. So far, I’ve learned quite a lot. We do weekly labs where we extract different phones (android and iOS), follow “search warrants” to their scope, create forensic reports, and really get to dive into the forensics portions you wouldn’t even think exist. It’s really cool to see hands-on just how much information your devices capture on you (also frightening). It makes me have way more sympathy for people who work full-time in this field. At work, I’m more on the incident response and do the basic evidence gathering and collecting when a breach occurs, but never really knew just how deep, involved, and how much our forensics team has to put in for these incidents.

Why I Ultimately Decided to Take on the Extra Degree

As I mentioned, it wasn’t easy. I initially figured I wouldn’t be able to do it especially because I’m a senior, so not the ideal time to add a minor. However, I thought about all the advantages of it. Yes, it does stand out job wise but I looked at it more from the learning aspect. I may have never gotten to experience what it’d be like to be a forensics investigator, but this gave me a taste to see if it was something I should pursue or if I’d even like this side of cybersecurity. I’m also able to learn valuable skills that do aid me in my daily job and improve my overall incident response skills. I do wish I actually knew about it sooner because it would have helped in other classes earlier on to have more of that in-depth foundational knowledge.

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