Computer forensics focuses on the analysis of data that can be used as evidence in a crime. In any computer forensics program, you'll learn the basics of finding this evidence, extracting data, documenting your findings and interpreting the information you gain in the process. Data recovery techniques are also covered, so you'll learn how to recover and analyze data from various types of digital storage media. Jobs in the computer forensics field require that you have training in the subject, specific certifications and possibly a college degree. You have several options for studying computer forensics online, including online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, individual online courses and certification boot camps.
One of the most common ways to study computer forensics online is to pursue a degree program. Both traditional colleges and virtual universities offer programs in computer forensics, information security and information assurance. If you enroll in an undergraduate degree program, you'll also take general computer courses in networking, programming, systems design and databases along with your courses in digital forensics, data recovery, network intrusion and the legal aspects of the field. Graduate degree programs tend to focus mostly on computer forensics courses and might require that you have an undergraduate degree in information technology or security. Online labs are common for degree programs and help you gain practical experience in analyzing and recovering data.
If you don't want to do an entire degree program, you can take individual courses in computer forensics online. If you prefer studying in a college course, you also have the option of auditing a course and not receiving a grade or college credit. In addition to online classes through accredited universities, many websites offer streaming video courses and interactive lessons that teach you about computer forensics. Many of these courses allow you to work at your own pace and might not include homework assignments like the online colleges do.
Taking an accelerated boot camp course geared toward an information technology security certification is another common way of studying computer forensics online. The courses can be as short as a week and typically include live instruction via video conference. You'll get to view lessons, take practice tests and work in online labs to learn new computer forensics techniques. Most of these programs are geared toward preparing you to pass an exam, so you might be required to take the certification exam at the end of the boot camp.