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Case Study

Charlotte Knill

BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics (now BSc (Hons) Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics)

After completing a year-long placement in the Digital Forensics unit with Northumbria Police as part of her degree, Charlotte Knill graduated and secured a role there as a Digital Forensics Investigator and then went on to be a Cyber Prevent Officer. Fast forward a few years and she now works in the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit, helping to keep individuals and organisations safe from cyber threats.

I was drawn to the University of Sunderland as it offered the best computer forensics degree for what I was looking for – at the time, not many universities close to me offered this as a degree as it was still very up and coming. The fact that the course was different and included broad elements like programming, ethical hacking, and networking meant it offered a good mix.

My first two years at university allowed me to study the theory and build on my skills, but it was my placement year where I had the chance to put this theory into practice and everything started to come together. I undertook my placement with Northumbria Police and gained real world experience, seeing the work that goes on in this profession. I worked within the Digital Forensics Unit, a fascinating and important area which deals with all aspects of cybercrime. I learnt a lot from my colleagues, including their approach to different problems and the example they set of professionalism in the workplace.

This led to me landing a role as a Digital Forensics Investigator with Northumbria Police after I graduated. I then moved into a new role of working as a Cyber Prevent Officer where I worked with young people, helping to educate them on how to use and develop their tech skills safely and legally. I now work in the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit where I sit within the cybercrime department, working with colleagues to help keep individuals, businesses, and organisations safe from cyber threats. The modules I took as part of my studies have helped me in my various cyber security roles as the world of technology is so interchangeable and can incorporate many different elements.

I would say to prospective students to make the most of what the University has to offer. The lecturers were really supportive throughout my studies and were always on hand to help with any queries. I’d certainly recommend undertaking a work placement between your second and final year, as there’s a huge difference between only studying the subject at a theoretical level and spending time tackling real-life problems in practice. My experience was so memorable and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

Published 17 May 2024

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