On August 5, 2013, the Digital Forensics Associate of Applied Science degree at Richland College received Program Recognition from the Texas Skill Standards Board (TSSB). The program was recognized as being integrated with the industry-defined Digital Forensics Technician skill standards.
The skill standards enhanced program will benefit both employers and graduates. Graduates will gain the work competencies-skills and knowledge-that employers have agreed are required for success in the digital forensics industry. Employers in turn will gain a more qualified workforce.
The Digital Forensics Technician skill standards were developed with the participation of a diverse panel of subject matter experts from regional, state, national and international companies. A job analysis for the occupation was conducted, and the data were validated with industry representatives across the state from companies including DFW Forensics, ERASE Enterprises, Stroz Friedberg, Accudata Systems, Inc., Digital Discovery, CFSI Inc., Deloitte, TransPerfect, Cyber Defense Lab, Shaw Digital Forensics Services, G-C Partners, and the Federal Public Defender's Office. The skill standards may be viewed on the TSSB web site at www.tssb.org/texas-skill-standards-repository.
Zoltan Szabo, lead faculty of digital forensics at Richland College, led the effort with employers to develop the skill standards, and then integrated the standards into the curriculum and applied for program recognition. For completing these deliverables, the college earned a $20,000 Skill Standards-Based Curriculum Development Project grant. The project grants' statewide competition and deliverables completion was administered by Del Mar College, out of Perkins State Leadership funds from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. "The digital forensic technician skill standard was developed to establish the scientific nature of this field. Digital Forensics is not another Information Technology ( IT ) field, but a branch of science that is based on digital data from the interaction of users, applications, and operating systems. Hypothesis development, testing, validation, and verification are all included in the skill standard that makes it a unique standard for developing high-tech workforce with critical thinking and problem solving skills." -- Zoltan Szabo
The TSSB is an 11-member advisory board to the Governor and the Legislature, established in 1995 by the Legislature and initially appointed in 1996 by the Governor. The TSSB is composed of seven business and industry members, two labor representatives, one secondary, and one post-secondary, representative. The TSSB's mission is to develop a statewide system of industry defined and industry-recognized skill standards for sub- baccalaureate occupations with strong employment and earnings opportunities.