Once more, another cluster of students will be fleeing into the job market, searching for jobs in the field of Computing and Digital Forensics. Skills they have acquired and knowledge they have gained, will once again, fall under question… here come the interviews. Shivering in their boots, thoughts raised over what questions will be asked, are they worthy enough for such job descriptions and do they know everything and enough to pull through?
Advice for those of you searching for jobs…
Firstly, ensure you are prepared, you have learnt a lot over your three years of undergraduate study. We have introduced you to, and, you have learnt the theories, concepts, principles, languages, ‘soft’ skills and much more surrounding your discipline. Now is the time for you to shine and put these skills into practice, demonstrating your knowhow.
Secondly, note that you will be asked a multitude of questions. These will be based on competency, commercial awareness, technical aspects, and even general life/study. Be prepared for these as much as you can:
- Be confident and demonstrate professionalism.
- Be familiar with your course: why you chose the course, modules and more.
- Know the terminology and any regulations, procedures and theories required in your discipline.
- Make sure you know yourself: what motivates you, problems and projects you have solved, how you best work and manage your time, how you present yourself is key.
- Make yourself familiar with the company which you are applying to and the role you are applying for: who are they? What do you know about them? What does the role entail? What skills do you possess in this area?
- Ensure that you are up-to-date on current technological developments and trends: what is going on in the tech news? What future developments might pose threats? Where are things heading? etc.
Thirdly, remember it is not just the knowledge you have they want to see but you as a person. Do you fit well in teams? Can you work individually? Do you put yourself out? What experiences do you have? What mindset do you have? Can you think critically? Can you act upon principles, procedures and rationalised impulses and decisions where necessary?
Lastly, think of as many questions as possible which you might be asked or even tasks you might be asked to complete. No doubt, you will have to complete some tests before you are even considered for such roles. These usually start with aptitude tests, e.g., numerical reasoning, verbal/non-verbal reasoning and more. So why don’t you try out some for practice, test yourself. The CORE at CCCU can help you with this; they can also provide help with practicing for your interviews. You can also check out some free services online, such as Practice Aptitude Tests.
- What is an MD5 Checksum, and how is it used in Forensics? What other hashing algorithms are used besides MD5?
- What is a .ISO?
- What is a bit level image and how is that different from an ISO?
- Describe Steganography
- In your average investigation, describe the steps involved from start to end.
- Do all forensic investigations go to court?
- What is the SAM file and which operating system has it? Do any other operating systems have a SAM file, if do what is it and how would you get to it?
- What is the major difference between Linux and Windows and Mac when carrying out an investigation?
- Do you have any experience with email analysis? Do you have knowledge on File System structures?
- If a file is labelled .tar.gz what is it?
- What is Data Carving and in which cases would you use it? What is Data Mining?
- What is metadata? What is affected by it? What attributes does it represent?
- What is Live Previewing of a system?
- How would you Image a hard drive on a system that cannot be shut down?
- What Operating Systems do you use? Which have you had experience with the most?
- What are some common methods of encryption?
- What experience have you had with network forensics? What are some common port numbers?
- What forensic topics have been covered in your degree?
- Do you have any experience with programming? If so, what languages are you proficient in?
- What specific tools have you used to recover deleted files?
- Which tool do you prefer: Encase or FTK, others and why?
- Have you worked as part of a team/on collaborative projects?
- What made you interested in digital forensics? Which area within the forensics field are you most interested in? (e.g., malware analysis, network forensics, mobile device analysis, data recovery, e-commerce, etc.)
- Choose a particular software methodology and discuss it in depth.
- What technical experience do you have?
- What language are you familiar with?
- What are the differences between language 1 and language 2?
- What deliverables are needed in a project and testing?
- How many bytes is example?
- Where are certain OS system configuration files kept?
- What are classes, objects and interfaces?
- Write a function which solves such a problem?
- Database, Networks and hardware specific questions.
- Operating systems questions.
- Mathematics/Number system questions.
- What does acronym stand for?
- What is acronym/item?
- What aspects of computing are you most interested in?
- What is happening in topic at the moment?
- Solve this problem provided (this could be some code or another problem).
- What are the four pillars of OOP using coded examples?
Now it is your turn: what questions can you ask the interviewer/employer?
In an interview it is key to remember that you are demonstrating your abilities in all areas, not just the profession but also as a person, team player and more. The employer asks you questions to decide whether you have the necessary skills; what can you ask the employer to gain further insight to the company, job role and requirements. Of course, questions can be raised as to the department/business structure, opportunities in the company for training and career progression, expectations in terms of work hours, tasks, responsibilities, objectives, measures of assessment and more. Another good aspect to discuss are the next steps in the interview process, whether there is anything else you can provide the interviewer with, and anything more they may like to add in relation to your suitability for the role.
So with all this, what do you need to do? Just like we tell you to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE… you need to PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.