Home News Archives Technology VGCC Guest Speaker Explains High-Tech Detective Work

VGCC Guest Speaker Explains High-Tech Detective Work

A guest speaker at Vance-Granville Community College brought information on Nov. 7 that applied both to students in the college’s Criminal Justice and Basic Law Enforcement Training programs and to those studying for computer-related careers. This was the unique perspective of Daren Melson, a Digital Evidence Analyst with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Crime Lab in Raleigh. Among his many certifications is a CCE (Certified Computer Examiner) from the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners.Melson discussed his position with the SBI, careers in computer security, computer certifications that are important in the industry, how to obtain a job in the field, and the importance of studying and obtaining a degree. He also fielded questions from the students.The SBI, Melson explained, assists other law enforcement organizations upon request with sophisticated resources such as its Computer Crimes unit and its Computer Forensics laboratory division. Melson works in the computer forensics lab, which analyzes all forms of digital media in order to assist criminal investigations, ranging from homicide and child exploitation to extortion and fraud.Melson, who has also worked in the private sector and been self-employed, said that the possibilities for jobs in computer security are almost limitless, since computers, including those in mobile phones, are important in virtually every aspect of 21st-century life. A variety of businesses, banks, schools, hospitals, government agencies and the military need people who are trained in information systems security. Melson encouraged students to finish their VGCC degrees and combine their education with experience, such as an internship.Ellen Paynter of Henderson, a VGCC Web Technologies and Information Systems Security student, commented that “the presentation was very informative and Mr. Melson offered a wealth of information not only about the SBI but also on how to obtain jobs at other government agencies and private industries. I left the presentation even more excited about working in this field.”VGCC’s computer-related curriculum programs include Computer Information Technology, Information Systems Security, Networking Technology and Web Technologies. Several Information Systems Security courses at VGCC lay the foundation for the type of work that Melson performs, including SEC 230 (Attack Methodology) and SEC 210 (Intrusion Detection).Above: Daren Melson (standing, left) speaks to VGCC students on Nov. 7 on the college’s main campus. (VGCC photo)