Cryptographer or Cryptoanalyst Career

Technology is quickly becoming one of the most important tools in today’s society. It is used for communication, entertainment, finance, and even some of the most information-sensitive purposes such as banking and personal storage. Considering these uses, the importance of protection on the internet and through computer systems is at an all-time high. Take a moment to consider the result if hackers or other malicious sources were able to break through computer systems such as the Social Security Administration or even your own personal bank.

These hackers would quickly gain access to the personal information of the greater population of the United States. In a short amount of time, your own personal security could be compromised, changing the course of your life for an undetermined amount of time. With this being said, the security and encryption of large-scale computer systems is necessary to ensure that the personal information of all people is protected at all times.

A Day As A Cryptographer

As a cryptographer or cryptoanalyst, you could play a leading role in the fight against cyberattacks and cyberwarfare. Cryptographers are the experts behind the encryption of sensitive data and the creation of algorithms and ciphers that assist in building the integrity of security systems.

If you are interested in cryptography as a potential career field, you could find yourself using mathematics and statistics to develop innovative solutions to issues surrounding security, encoding and decoding cryptic messages for various purposes, or even testing computers for weaknesses or reliability. Cryptographers are a huge factor in creating safe methods for communicating data across internet systems, providing a secure environment for financial transactions, and ensuring the creation of safe systems for all purposes.

If it is a challenging and influential field in computer science that you choose, this is definitely a field that will test your expertise and contribute to a more efficient use of technology throughout the life of your career. Our team has decades of experience researching educational programs and has provided a guide below to assist you on your path to finding the right college program.

Expected Degree Requirements

There are numerous fields found within the computer science discipline that go further than what the degree itself promotes. Cryptography and cryptoanalysis are two fields that can be obtained through education that focuses on security systems as well as experiences that sharpens skills in detection and monitoring of secure network systems. The educational path to this career consists of a few steps – beginning at the bachelors level. Take a look at what our team has provided below.

Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree is the most standard level for those interested in computer science fields. Cryptographers and cryptoanalysts alike may choose to pursue a degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or even bachelor’s degrees that are specific to cybersecurity. Since some of the work involved with encryption also uses statistics and mathematics, a bachelor’s program that focuses on mathematics could even be useful for those that plan on pursuing graduate degrees in a computer science discipline.

Master’s Degree

While it is important to consider master’s level education to spice up your resume, it is not required for most entry-level positions in computer science. However, in fields such as cryptography and cryptoanalysis, the importance of precision and expertise are high. Master’s programs that focus on crytography provide for a more central curriculum that includes the important components of computer science, cybersecurity, and mathematics. These topics are extremely important to developing the skills needed for accurate encryption, decoding, and analysis of computer network systems. Other master’s programs in computer science, engineering, or technology could also be useful – if paired with an appropriate program in mathematics.

Common Courses

While in educational programs that focus on cybersecurity and cryptography, you may see courses that are specific to the utilization of encryption a encoding necessary for computer security. Courses that teach students how to properly analyze computer systems for weaknesses or even probe network systems for compromises to encryption authenticity can also be found within these degree programs. You may also see a heavy focus on mathematics and statistics throughout the duration of your program, since these are key skills that are relevant to efficient use of cryptography and cryptoanalysis. Courses that focus on the different types of hacking, forensics, and overall network security are also common.

Salary Estimates

The use of electronics and technology in this age has brought about the need for educated professions. The importance of safety through the use of such devices as well as the implementation of secure encryption and data protection has encouraged many like-minded people to pursue degrees in computer science and engineering. Over the next few years, this field may exhibit a need for more dedicated professionals, which makes pursuing a degree even more valuable.

If you have a knack for computers and a profound interest in mathematics and coding, becoming a cryptographer/cryptoanalyst may be exactly the right fit for you. Secure financial transactions, communications, and overall networks relies on the precision of cryptographers as well as the insight and direction of those focusing more on the analysis of systems.

Since many people with expertise in mathematics find a great fit in this field, it is common to find dual degree holders and those with complementary degrees in this field. The overall growth for this and related fields is expected to be 21% over the next 10 years (BLS; 2015). In addition to the much larger than average growth, the salary expectations are around $105,810 per year on average (BLS; 2015). Since cryptography and cryptoanalysis are relatively new fields, the data pulled for this research is specific to mathematicians.

Job Growth Information

The blend of both computer science/engineering and mathematics is what can ultimately define this field. The figures that our team has provided show what is expected for those in positions that are labeled as mathematicians. This is not exactly reflective of cryptography as a whole, but the relationship between the two fields is one that is becoming more apparent – making these figures closely related to the undefined national averages of cryptography.

Over time, you may see the blend of both computer science and mathematics in a more define manner. As you move forward into your degree program, you should feel confident in knowing that professionals of your level can potentially be in high demand over the next decade and bring much needed services to individuals and businesses that wish to provide the most secure networks.

Hard Skills/Soft Skills For A Cryptographer

Cryptography is a field that includes some important aspects from computer science, mathematics, and computer engineering. When planning for this creative and intriguing career, you should maintain a level of expertise in different areas within these subjects in order to be an efficient part of a network security team. Our team has worked hard to provide you with some of the most important skills required in this field so that you can better prepare for your career prior to entry.

Hard Skills

Most computer science fields have standard requirements for their professionals. Having skills in computer programming languages such as C++, Java, and Python is a major requirement, as well as the understanding of complex computer network processes and components. Having the knowledge and skills to properly create and maintain computer network systems is also required, due to the analytic nature of this career field. Skills in mathematics are required, including key components such as algebra and other advanced aspects of discrete mathematics. On the more concrete side of cryptography, you should have experience or education in symmetrical/asymmetrical encryption, coding, and key exchange.

Soft Skills

The field of cryptography requires that professionals have a natural knack for investigation. It is important to you as a cryptographer/cryptoanalyst to look past what is apparent and identify solutions that can help prevent widespread attacks and compromises. Since some of the requirements of this career field including creating new encryptions and programs, professionals should also have originality and creativity in their work. If you are inventive, logical, systematic, and determined you may also be a great fit for this highly innovative field.

So Is Cryptographer A Career For Me?

You now have an in-depth idea around the type and level of degrees it will take to try and enter the cryptographer career field. If you combine that with the expected job growth and career opportunities in your current (or future) geographic area, start a new career path today!