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Graduation stories - from Abertay to Digital Forensics Investigator at Police Scotland

19 August 2014

Computer Security graduate Samantha Comer landed her dream job working as a Digital Forensics Investigator with Police Scotland while she was still studying for her degree.

Here, she tells us about her role, her experiences at Abertay and how her degree helped get her where she is today.

What does being a Digital Forensics Investigator involve?

"With Police Scotland, I am surrounded by cybercrime on a daily basis. My work involves the examination of both computers and mobile devices.

"The cases I work on are so diverse, no day is ever the same, and at no point is the job itself ever boring. It is the most exciting role I have ever had the pleasure of being part of.

"But while exciting, it can also be very tough. Some of the cases and material I have seen are of a disturbing and often upsetting nature, but what gets you through that is the satisfaction of knowing you are helping put the bad people away. Plus everybody is there for each other, and a happy, trusting and supportive work environment like that is paramount.

"It is very much a team effort. You are working with different people from different units. Not just within the Police Force, but with those on the legal side, such as Procurator Fiscals."

How does it feel, having a job like this?

"I cannot begin to describe how exciting it is to be in this job straight out of university. In fact, before I'd even graduated!

"I feel so incredibly lucky, and feel like all the hard work I put in over the last four years has paid off.

"I look back at the times during the semester when I got really stressed over coursework and exams - sometimes even upset - especially during my final year, and it was all worth it to now have graduated with a first class Honours degree and to have this dream job.

"I always wanted to join the Police when I finished university - I said that from when I started in first year, and my dream has actually come true. And I'm hoping that I've made my family and lecturers proud! It just goes to show that if you want something enough and put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want."

How did Abertay help prepare you for the world of work?

"The diverse modules taught throughout my degree programme really prepared me for a job in this challenging field.

"Such a range of modules were delivered which provided me with the knowledge basis required to understand the nature of the role and the many qualities it demands.

"The university was also able to provide students with the use of commercial, industry-standard forensic tools, which gave me the invaluable experience needed for the job.

"One of the software tools I used extensively throughout my final year is also one used by Police Scotland, so when it came to working on mobile phone cases I knew exactly what I was doing and understood the forensic processes that had to be followed, much to my colleagues' and managers' delight!"

What’s next?

"My plan is to work for Police Scotland for at least the next five years, but my ultimate career goal is to work for the Government in the Security Service or for Europol.

"I have a contact in Europol so I could see myself working there in the future. But for now, Police Scotland has my heart."

What is your most memorable moment from Abertay?

"I'll always remember the first time I was given a mock case, which as a class we had to follow through from start to finish.

"One of the first stages of this assessment was to seize items and place them into evidence bags, which was really exciting.

"Then, when I started my job with Police Scotland, and received items for examination which were inside evidence bags, it took me straight back to third year, and I experienced the exact same feelings of excitement and elation then, as I did that day at university."

To find out more about our course in computer security, click here.

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