Who's a Forensic Scientist?
What will you do?
One of your primary tasks will be to analyse samples such as hair, body fluids, glass, paint and drugs using the equipment in the laboratory. You will be using methods like chromatography, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, and genetic fingerprinting to draw conclusions and share them with the concerned people.
For example – Hair acts as a good DNA marker and also carries traces of any illness that the body might have. You can use the details to identify whether a person frequented a particular place by texting the hair samples found there.
While a lot of evidence will come to you from the people investigating, there will be times you will need to visit a crime scene to look for anything they might have missed or if any sample was contaminated during transport.
For example – The samples presented to you may have a mix of people who happened to be at the scene and the person you are supposed to be investigating. In that case, you will have to visit the scene again to get the correct samples.
Just collecting and analysing samples is not enough. You will also be asked to record your findings in such a way that the report aids others to investigate further. The reports have to be extensive and at the same time understandable by a layman.
For example – Your report on the genetic markers in a hair sample will help the investigators look for people sharing the same genetic mark
Coordinating with other teams
While your work in the laboratory will be done in isolation, you will be required to work with other teams occasionally. You might work with investigators gathering and analysing evidence or with lawyers trying to explain what your reports mean and prepping for trials.
Researching new techniques
Although forensic science is not new, there is still a lot of scope for innovation in this field. Especially when it comes to digital crimes. You have to look for ways to bring about innovation in your methods.
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Where will you work?
Private security, insurance, and investigating firms require a team of forensic scientists to carry out investigations. You will be working with a team of other investigators who might have their own set of specialisations.
There are different sections within the government where you can find a job. The most coveted departments include Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Even the police force has a separate forensic science department.
While some private companies prefer to have their own forensic science departments, there are many who choose to outsource the work to private laboratories. These private laboratories are a great place to work if you want to specialise in a certain field.
Forensic science is a growing field with more institutes offering specialisations. These institutes are on the look-out for professionals who can offer a hands-on experience to the students.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
Attention to Detail
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How do you make it to the top ranks?
How much would you get paid?
What are your career options?
As a forensic pathologist, you help in determining the time and cause of death in police cases.
As a forensic anthropologist, you help in identification of individuals for the cases like murders or disasters like plane crashes, explosions, fires, etc. You also provide assistance in knowing the age, sex, ancestry, stature and unique features of the dead person.
Clinical Forensic Medicine Experts
As a clinical forensic expert, you work as the examiner of victims or the dead person who has injuries while committing a crime and provide certain conclusions regarding the time of the crime.
Forensic Serology Experts
You use your expertise to analyse the blood groups, blood samples, and other body fluids and perform DNA tests to identify the victim of the crime.
As a forensic chemist, you help in detection and identification of traces and evidence of illicit drugs that are used in certain cases like explosions and gunshot residues etc.
You need to be a professional with qualification in chemistry or biochemistry to work in police departments while detecting and identifying the drugs, poisons, toxin levels, etc. in the body.
You work as part of evidence teams and also work with the police and investigators while investigating the crime to get major crime evidence.
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