How to Become a Cryptographer (FAQs) | 2023

Do you have an interest in how to become a cryptographer or getting a cryptography degree? Searching for information on types of cryptography? Do you wish to know more about cryptographer jobs available? 

If you fall into either of these categories, you are in the right place! 

This article will get information on becoming a cryptographer, cryptography jobs, and lots more! 

What is Cryptography?

To begin with, Cryptography derives its meaning from the Greek word, Kryptos, which means “hidden”. 

Also, scholars believe that the first set of cryptographers emerged from Egypt around 1900 BC, sharing a close association with encryption. Encryption entails scrambling ordinary text into ciphertext and then back again upon arrival. 

Additionally, cryptography involves confusing information in images using techniques like microdots or merging.

Cryptography Degree

In simpler terms, Cryptography is the science of hiding messages with secret codes.

Again, it is the study of secure communications techniques. These techniques allow only the sender and intended recipient of the message access to its contents.

Encryption uses algorithms and keys to transform input (plaintext) into an encrypted output (ciphertext). Furthermore, a given algorithm will always transform the same plaintext into the same ciphertext if the same key is used.

Types of Cryptography

There are two types of cryptography. They include the following:

  • Symmetric Cryptography
  • Asymmetric Cryptography

1. Symmetric Cryptography:

Firstly, another name for this system is private key cryptography.

In this system, the same key applies to both encryption and decryption. Thus, the sender and receiver must already have a shared key known to them.

In other words, you may only be able to decrypt data encrypted with a public key with its corresponding private key. 

To further explain this, we shall explain with an example;

Let us assume that we wish to send a message to James. We would have to encrypt that message with James’s public key. James is the only person who can decrypt the message as only he has his private key.

Also, when you encrypt data with a private key, you can only decrypt it with its corresponding public key. 

Again, to explain this, let’s use an example.

Jane can digitally sign a message using her private key. And anyone with her public key can decrypt this signed message and verify that Jane sent it.

Generally, symmetric cryptography is very fast. This makes it ideal for encrypting large amounts of data (e.g, an entire disk partition or database). 

2. Asymmetric Cryptography:

To begin with, we can also call this system the Public key cryptography system.

Key distribution is a tricky problem. Hence, the drive for developing the asymmetric cryptography system.

Unlike symmetric cryptography, we need two keys for the encryption and decryption of data. This is because users in this cryptosystem have both public and private keys.

They are to keep their private key a secret at all times. However, the users may share their public keys freely. 

Generally, the asymmetric cryptosystem is much slower. It can only encrypt pieces of data smaller than the key size. This is usually 2048 bits or less.

Hence, this system is a good choice for anyone who wants to encrypt symmetric encryption keys. You can further use this to encrypt larger blocks of data.

Again, this system is an option for encrypting hashes of messages rather than the entire messages for digital signatures. 

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What is a Cryptographer?

Using Mathematics and Computer science, cryptographers create ciphers. They make efforts to develop new security solutions as those already in existence phase off.

Again, they crack ciphers used on encrypted messages and read them.

Furthermore, a cryptographer works within various industries to secure communications and sensitive data.

Consider a cryptographer working for a government agency like the National Security Agency. They may spend their day working on decrypting sensitive documents needed to ensure national security.

Additionally, a cryptographer can take up jobs in both government and private sectors. They may find themselves spending their time coming up with new ways to encrypt data using mathematics. 

It is not news that there are a lot of algorithms that already exist to encrypt data. Nevertheless, attackers continue to come up with new ways to access secure data. This implies that cryptographers must work even harder to protect data. 

Constantly, cryptographers work on new ways to protect data and new techniques for cracking ciphers. Some people view cryptography as very advanced puzzle-solving. 

How To Become A Cryptographer

As an aspiring cryptographer, you must get a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or Computer Science. This will help you meet the minimum education requirements for most entry-level positions. 

The Business News Daily rates cryptography among the best jobs you can get with a degree in Mathematics. However, Cryptography courses are offered within Mathematics and Computer Science programs. 

Also, you can pursue an information security major program; these programs teach skills like digital forensics, homomorphic encryption, and ethical hacking.

Generally, anyone who wants to pursue cryptography should gain skills in the following areas:

  • Advanced algebra 
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Algorithms 
  • Symmetric Cryptography
  • Asymmetric Cryptography
  • Programming languages like Python, C, C++, & Java
  • Computer Networking

How long does it take to become a Cryptographer?

It takes about four years to get a cryptography degree. A master’s degree takes one to two years to earn as a full-time student.

A PhD can take anywhere from two to six years for you to get. Furthermore, having an advanced degree like a Master’s degree or PhD helps you get better-paying jobs a bit easier. 

In addition, a master’s degree in computer science or mathematics can boost your cryptology credentials. 

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Cryptography Jobs

1. Military:

The Navy of the United States of America offers multiple cryptography jobs. 

They use electronic cryptologic systems for communications, analysis, security, monitoring, tracking, and other military purposes. Cryptologic maintenance technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing these systems.

Also, interpretive technicians use their foreign language and computer skills to collect and analyze foreign-language communications.

Again, the US Navy employs collection and network technicians in the field of cryptography.

2. Private Enterprises:

Private business enterprises also require the services of a cryptographer. This is because they need to protect proprietary information from corporate espionage. 

Using information technology, information security analysts keep organizations safe from cyber attacks, either from competitors or malicious computer hackers. 

Again, information security analysts develop and implement cyber-protection protocols. They continually update these protocols to take advantage of the latest developments in Web security.

3. Government:

Federal government agencies need cryptographers to aid in the national battle against terrorist attacks. 

The NSA employs and trains cryptographers to investigate information systems to uncover hidden aspects in that systems.

These hidden aspects could be encrypted features and parameters that might send or receive sensitive information. 

On the other hand, this information helps the NSA provide critical intelligence to leaders at the highest levels of government.

4. Considerations

The entry-level requirements for the cryptography field vary.

Thus, it is dependent on what the employer needs. Nevertheless, the minimum education requirement includes a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics or Computer science. 

Candidates with advanced degrees at the master’s or PhD level have better employment opportunities. 

Additionally, according to GovInfoSecurity reports, cryptologists typically need mastery of a language other than their native tongue. Again, they should be very good researchers and experts in their targeted fields.

Summary on Cryptography

Cryptography derives its meaning from the Greek word, Kryptos, which means “hidden”.

Furthermore, it is the study of secure communications techniques. These techniques allow only the sender and intended recipient of the message access to its contents. 

Symmetric Cryptography and Asymmetric Cryptography are the main types of Cryptography.

Moreover, using Mathematics and Computer science, cryptographers create ciphers. They make efforts to develop new security solutions as those already in existence phase off. 

As an aspiring cryptographer, you must get a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or Computer Science. This will help you meet the minimum education requirements for most entry-level positions. 

Usually, a four-year degree might be enough for entry-level positions. A master’s degree takes one to two years to earn as a full-time student.

Cryptographers can work for the military, private enterprises, and the government. 

FAQs on Becoming a Cryptographer

Is cryptography in high demand?

When it comes to protecting sensitive data, cryptology is just one option among many. With less than five years of experience, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts both high demand and high pay for information security experts.

Is cryptography hard to learn?

If you have some familiarity with mathematical or computational ideas, learning cryptography will be a breeze. Those who aren’t already well-versed in mathematics or computer science may find it difficult to grasp the fundamentals of cryptography.

Do hackers use cryptography?

Many novice hackers find cryptography’s wealth of principles and terminology to be confusing and impenetrable. In the first place, cryptography is the study and practice of secretly encoding information such that only the intended recipient can decipher it.

Conclusion

Like any other course, Cryptography requires focus and dedication if you must begin or excel in a career in this field of study.

Typically, cryptologists need mastery of a language other than their native tongue. Again, they should be good researchers and experts in their targeted fields.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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ST Admin
ST Admin

Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of www.schoolandtravel.com at present.

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