This semester, students at Richland College in Dallas, TX, have the opportunity to pursue a new AAS degree program in Digital Forensics. Accudata Senior Consultants Paul Kendall (Advisory Services Practice) and Joe Juchniewicz (Assessment & Compliance Practice) advised the college in the development of the program, which will help to remedy the serious, nationwide shortage of trained digital-forensics professionals.
The degree prepares students for a career in computer forensics in the government, private, and law enforcement sectors with either a Cyber Crime or Information Assurance specialization. As part of the Computer Science Department, the program trains students to work as technical personnel in the digital forensics field and includes instruction in evidence gathering and assessment, as well as presentation before criminal or civil courts, internal corporate investigations, and intrusion investigations.
Kendall was first contacted in September 2011 by Richland Professor Zoltan Szabo and asked to participate in a working group to develop a definitive set of Forensics Skill Standards; this work was presented to the Texas Skill Standards Board (TSSB) for consideration as a set of statewide-approved skills for the education of Digital Forensics students at the community and technical college level. Kendall had prior experience working with an accrediting organization as a member of the Lamar University Computer Science Department’s Industrial Advisory Committee. In that role, Kendall served the Computer Science Department in an advisory capacity for two cycles of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Juchniewicz joined the committee as a technical expert, bringing his previous experience with digital forensics, security, and law enforcement.
Kendall and Juchniewicz were drawn to the project because it gave them both the opportunity to help deliver a standards-based approach to the digital forensics programs currently being taught at community and technical colleges, as well as set high standards for programs that may be introduced in the future. “It is quite possible that other states will look to this standard to help create their own state-wide educational standards for digital forensics programs,” said Juchniewicz.