Cryptographers are experts in deciphering and designing encryption systems. They interpret and create codes for the government, military, telecommunications industry, financial sector and law-enforcement agencies.
Careers in cryptography have become more popular in recent years with the advancement of communication technology and increasing need for internet security.
Cryptographers should have a strong background in mathematics and/or computer science. Advanced training in applied mathematics and information security and technology should generate the most job opportunities.
Many areas within math and computer science fields involve aspects of cryptography such as engineering, computer security, and information theory.
Cryptographers play an important role in several everyday activities and functions; they encrypt and decrypt codes related to applications and processes surrounding:
Common environments that a cryptographer might work include:
Though many cryptographers are full-time employees of large corporations and organizations, some choose to work as consultants. Some companies do not keep a cryptographer on staff, but frequently hire cryptographers as consultants when needed.
According to the U.S Department of Labor, the average annual salary for cryptographers in 2007 was $90,435. Salary varies depending on years of experience and location. Payscale reported a starting median salary of $63,984 in 2009. Five years of experience bumped up the median salary to $76,000, and those with twenty years of experience under their belt earned a median annual salary of $104,880.
The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment for all jobs in the mathematics field to increase by 10 percent through 2016. As technology continues to advance, so should the demand for cryptographers.