How to Become a Cryptanalyst

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If you want to learn how to become a cryptanalyst, first you should find out more about the profession. Basically, cryptanalysts are responsible for examining and interpreting secret coding systems that are used for law enforcement, military and political organizations. By decoding these messages, you can help to ensure the confidentiality for agencies, corporations and people and keep unwanted users out of the system. Your work would secure banking, email, Internet and many other information systems. Using advanced mathematical methods, you can make sure the wrong eyes are never on the private data of your employers.

If you want to become a cryptanalyst you will need to have very strong math skills, as your job duties will involve securing computational number theories and cryptographic number schemes. You will need to have the skills to analyze, design and implement algorithms to solve number theory problems, as well to encode messages, so they are hidden to unwanted users. You will need to be constantly on the offensive to ensure that hackers can’t figure out your codes, which means frequent changes to your encryption methods.

There isn’t exactly a straight educational path to becoming a cryptanalyst, but there are some commonalities among the majority of professionals working in this field. Most have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or mathematics, and many also have a math-related master’s degree. If you want to teach at a university or get a job in a research environment you will probably even be expected to have a PhD. But with a bachelor’s you can at least break into the field with an entry level position. Make sure to focus on other subjects such as English and economics when you are completing your studies, as these will serve you well in the cryptanalysis field.

You may be able to find cryptanalysis work within business, government and military organizations or agencies. If you are hired by a retail company, for example, you will be responsible for encrypting systems in their online stores. The starting salary for entry-level positions in this field is around $39,000, while the average salary is $76,470, and the maximum salary is around $112,780.

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