Trying to get into the DFIR world, at least at first, is overwhelming. Even after being in the field for some time, it just seems that information comes in tidal waves when looking for relevance in all the information that is generated every day. So, how can you meet those in the field?
One of the best ways to get into the field as well as stay connected to the field is through organizations, associations, clubs, and informal meetups. The question is, where are they and which one to join?
The short answer
The longer answer
All you need to do is find a group that already exists that caters to your needs and is local to you. DF/IR/Infosec organizations can be very general and broad in scope, or they can be highly specific. Decide what you need and consider joining that organization.
Generally you have access to most organizations in this huge field of DF/IR/Infosec. For the exclusionary organizations and associations, there are entry barriers that you may or may not be able to overcome, such as law enforcement only, defense work only, or exclusion by race/gender/age. Most organizations are inclusive for all, but you may fit other organizations too.
What if there are no organizations within a reasonable distance? Then start your own group! Meetup.com or any social media platform is an easy way to spread the word and organize an informal group. Perhaps…if there is enough interest, you can even form a new informal group, a new formal organization, or open a new chapter of an existing organization.
As to which group is the best, there is no answer except that there is a group that is best for you and one that is best for me, and that may or may not be two totally different groups. The point is to seek out which fits your needs the best. Nothing says you cannot join more than one group either. I belong to several, each fulfilling a different need.
Be prepared to pay membership dues, unless the organization is informal and not a business or not-for-profit organization. Dues keep the lights on, or rather, pays for the website hosting and administrative expenses. Dues are usually low and some groups give waivers on a case-by-case basis.
The cool thing about DF/IR/Infosec associations is that you can get some quality training at little to no cost. That is worth the price of admission in and of itself.
There is no better way to meet those in the field, in your area, than by meeting up in your local organization. Bar none. If you want to meet people who work in the places that you want to work, you can meet them in your local DFIR group. If you want to make connections for mutual business benefits, that is another great thing about joining a DFIR organization.
The monthly or quarterly meetings are not job fairs, but I have seen more than a few people end up with jobs simply by talking to others in the meetings. Just as important, if you are looking to hire someone….you can have the pick of the best looking for a new career by attending a meeting and talking.
One thing that I assume with anyone attending any of these meetings is that everyone is expecting anyone to walk up and introduce themselves. That's how it works. Don't be shy. Walk up and introduce yourself to as many people as you can. You never know if you will meet your next boss, your next employee, or even a great mentor.
As far as how many organizations exist, I’m working on a list that is updated every time I find an organization that I haven’t seen before, or when someone gives the URL of a group to add. https://www.dfir.training/directory/associations