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how to become a Cryptographer

How to Become a Cryptographer

A Cryptographer is a specialized professional who uses their experience and knowledge in mathematics and computer science to produce a variety of electronic codes, algorithms and ciphers. These ciphers and codes are created specifically to protect a variety of sensitive information.

Keeping information safe in today's society, which can become public in a very short amount of time, can be difficult feat to accomplish. However, with the specialized skills of a Cryptographer, an employer can rest assured that their information will be guarded through various means. Individuals who want to become a Cryptographer will use a variety of interdisciplinary fields in order to keep information not meant for unauthorized eyes safe and secure.

Education Requirements to Become a Cryptographer

Cryptography is considered to be a specialty in mathematics. Because of the codes and deciphering involved, individuals interested in pursuing a track to become a Cryptographer will need a strong background in mathematics and computer science. This includes pursuing a graduate degree in order to enter this profession.

When beginning their undergraduate career, individuals who want to become a Cryptographer will need to study math or computer science in order to enter this profession. In addition, because of the competition involved in securing a job and because of the complexity of deciphering and creating codes, it is highly recommended that individuals pursue a graduate degree (PhD) in cryptography, computer science or mathematics.

Individuals pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science should also expand their skillset to by including a variety of advanced math courses such as abstract algebra, statistics, complexity theory, number theory and algorithms. This will prepare them to develop the necessary skills to master cryptography. On the other hand, individuals must also be experienced in computer science in order to facilitate the act of writing computer codes. A graduate degree in Cryptography will also enable individuals to gain an understanding in cryptography research and development.

Cryptographer Job Description

Cryptographers use their interdisciplinary skills in mathematics, engineering and computer science to prevent unauthorized individuals or groups from seeing a variety of protected information. This includes the creation of codes and ciphers that protects their employer's or clients' data and information.

Cryptography first originated to help other professionals protect and safeguard confidential data. Cryptographers first began by protecting information being used by law enforcement, military, political and financial entities. Information would be safeguarded by a key needed to expose the encrypted data.

This technique has now expanded to protecting a variety of information existing in digital form. From masking credit card information to protecting healthcare records, the work that Cryptographers provide has become a necessity in today's digital age.

A career in this profession may look differently depending on the industry an individual works in. However, Cryptographers are responsible for learning and analyzing the mathematical and computer science methods used to write security computer code. Cryptographers will also develop new security codes and encryption algorithms. They will also measure the effectiveness of the codes they create and make any necessary changes to create maximum security.

Cryptographer Salary and Career Path

Because Cryptography is a specialized field within mathematics, this career is grouped with various professions in mathematics. In 2012, the median wage for all mathematicians, which includes Cryptographers, was approximately $101,360 per year. However, exact wages will depend on the level of experience and the industry in which a professional works in. For example, individuals working in the scientific research and development services earn higher wages at a median salary of approximately $118,030 per year while individuals working for the federal government earn a median annual wage of approximately $106,860.

The job outlook for Mathematicians and Cryptographers looks promising as it is expected to increase job opportunities by 23 percent through 2022. This job increase is considered a much faster rate when compared to other professions and is due to the increase of digitally stored data that needs to be protected from thieves, hackers and cyber terrorists.

Individuals pursuing a career as a Cryptographer have a variety of things to look forward to including competitive wages, a healthy job outlook and the possibility to use a variety of interdisciplinary skills to create a variety of codes and ciphers to protect a variety of sensitive information. Individuals can rest assured that this career path can be fulfilling and challenging due to the frequent advancements in technology.

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
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