Digital Forensics Technician

Recognized Skill Standards
July 9, 2013

Background

These skill standards were developed as part of a Skill Standards-Based Curriculum Development Project, in which community and technical colleges complete specific deliverables to earn $20,000 from federal Perkins state leadership funds provided by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  The Type 2 project deliverables include developing and achieving recognition of skill standards and meeting the requirements for program recognition. The fiscal year 2013 Perkins project recipient, Richland College, facilitated the skill standards development process.

Development

With the participation of a diverse panel of subject matter experts from regional, state, national and international companies, a job analysis for the Digital Forensic Technician occupation was conducted as the first action of the project.  The Delphi method as an initial step to the modified DACUM process, which meets job analysis methodology criteria according to the Guidelines for the Development, Recognition, and Usage of Skill Standards, was used to generate the work- and worker-oriented information.

Richland College staff then hired an independent job analyst to 1) synthesize and aggregate the data into the skill standards elements; 2) validate the work-oriented information with a representative sample of  subject matter experts from across the industry in Texas; and 3) format the standards for final publication.  The industry technical advisory committee endorsed the final product, which was presented for recognition on behalf of the committee by its chair.

The Digital Forensics Technician skill standards contain nine critical work functions.  Those functions include: managing risk in digital forensics investigations; managing acquisition of data from storage media and networks; managing recovery and extraction of big data; managing digital forensics laboratory environments; analyzing data from mobile and embedded devices; and analyzing Windows-based, Mac-based, and Linux-based artifacts.

Importance to Texas

Digital forensic technicians collect, process, preserve, analyze, and present computer-related evidence in support of network vulnerability mitigation and/or criminal, fraud, counterintelligence or law enforcement investigations.  They may be employed by local, state or federal agencies to investigate child exploitation, terrorism, computer and network intrusions, identity theft, and financial computer crimes.  The focus of these positions in private corporations is intellectual property theft, policy violations, and regulatory compliance investigations.

As an emerging occupation, digital forensics technician does not have employment data classified separately under the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  However, related occupations, including computer and information analysts, information security analysts, forensic science technicians, and private detectives and investigators, all are experiencing higher than average projected growth to the year 2020.  On average, the increase is 24 percent for these fields.  For information security analysts alone, BLS estimates job openings of 222,500 nationally from 2010 to 2020 in top industries.  According to the Department of Labor, the hourly wage in Texas, $38.28, is higher than the national average.

Recognition

On July 9, 2013, the Digital Forensics Technician skill standards were recognized in accordance with the Guidelines for the Development, Recognition and Usage of Skill Standards.