From Masters student to Digital Forensic Analyst
“My Masters helped me prepare for this role”
Rachael Medhurst graduated from the MSc Computer Forensics course and now works for SYTECH – Digital Forensics. She tells us how her course helped prepare her for her career.
“I’ve always had an interest in ICT and became particularly interested in the forensics side of computing after completing my BTEC National Diploma at college. I decided to start researching careers in the forensics field and then looked into universities that offered a forensic computing degree.
“I decided to study at the University of South Wales after attending Open Days, where I discovered they offered access to the computing equipment and labs that I was looking for, along with a supportive team of staff.
“I gained a 2:1 at degree level and then decided to take my studies a step further by completing a postgraduate course. I felt this would allow me to gain more skills and experience, such as mobile phone forensics – including chip-off forensics and malware analysis – and ultimately make me more employable. The University offered job fairs where I met ICT companies looking for forensic computing graduates, which gave me lots of information in preparation for my graduation from the course.
“There were certain aspects of the course that I found challenging and it is hard work, especially as I was working full-time alongside my studies. However, talking to lecturers about their previous experiences of forensic work, and those of the visiting professional who also came in to talk to us about their involvement in the industry was inspiring. This enabled me to remain focused, as I saw the end result that is possible if you’re prepared to work hard enough.
“I now work for SYTECH – Digital Forensics (Systems Technology Consultants) as a Graduate Digital Forensic Analyst. I’ve just completed three months training in Stoke-on-Trent and will now fulfil the rest of my role in Newport. SYTECH offer expert assistance with all technologies and work with both prosecution and defence for a range of police forces across the country.
“Throughout my time at SYTECH so far, I’ve been trained in the imaging department, where devices are checked in and then taken apart to get to the hard drive, which is imaged using FTK (Forensic Toolkit). Once the hard drives have been imaged, they are then extracted. I have also now progressed to the analysis stage, where I am able to use a range of software to analyse the hard drive. My role also involves reading through paperwork provided by the police force about cases, to gain a full understanding of the potential criminal offence. I’m looking forward to gaining further training in report writing and courtroom training next, as well as potentially completing my EnCase Certification (EnCE) with an external trainer, which is valued in this field.
“My Masters course helped me prepare for this role by enabling me to develop further skills that I feel helped me to stand out at interview. In particular, my experience on the course with imaging, the use of industry software such as FTK and EnCase, plus the ability to maintain the integrity of hard drives by following the correct policies and procedures.”
Rachael Medhurst – SYTECH