Purdue News

April 27, 2006

Private business cyber-sleuthing leads to red-hot job market

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Computer forensics graduates have been in high demand for jobs with law enforcement since the field first appeared, but that demand is growing even larger as private firms begin recruiting cyber investigators.

Marcus K. Rogers, an associate professor who heads the computer forensics program in Purdue University's College of Technology, says the continually rising demand has made graduates in this field some of the most sought after in the country this year.

"Our seniors and graduate students in computer forensics are being recruited for law enforcement and private-industry jobs all over the country," says Rogers, a former police officer. "They are getting multiple job offers, and the starting packages are growing each year. There is huge competition to hire anyone with expertise in this field."

Private cyber consulting firms work with both law enforcement and companies investigating employees or other workplace issues. Some larger companies have even hired their own computer forensics experts, who have rooted out employees using office computers for a range of crimes from harassment and fraud to child pornography and embezzlement.

Reports by IDC, a Massachusetts-based market research firm, have suggested that the market for computer forensics will more than double by 2009. Rogers said he has seen similar increases in student interest. The Purdue computer forensics program offers five classes to undergraduate and graduate students, and he says there is a long waiting list for each class every year.

Other universities offering computer forensics courses are seeing similar demand, Rogers says. Starting salaries in the field can range as high as $85,000-$100,000.

Rogers says that as the field continues to grow into the private sector, companies will seek to hire people that they can verify have the appropriate high-level education.

"In any young industry, it can be difficult to determine who is truly qualified to work in the field," Rogers says. "Purdue and other universities are working to establish standards for computer forensics equipment and training. Companies and law enforcement agencies both know that graduates from these universities will have the education to meet their high standards."

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu

Source: Marcus K. Rogers, (765) 494-2561, rogersmk@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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