Career in Cryptography and Relevant Skills

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The career that I want to pursue is in information technology (IT) , specifically, cryptography. This career matches closely to my interests and personality. Cryptographers require various skills as well as there are many pathways that one can choose from. Depending on the role, employers usually require relevant skills and experience before they decide to hire you. Once in the cryptography industry, it is also important to know the requirements to be successful in the career you decide to pursue.

What is cryptography? More specifically what do cryptographer do? A cryptographer analyzes and decrypts information. Cryptographers provide technical support to governments, businesses and industries to solve security-related issues. They protect classified information from interception or deletion and can target weaknesses in security systems and algorithms. After detecting weaknesses, they can then design strong security systems to prevent further vulnerabilities.

Next, the education required to become a certified cryptographer is to obtain a certification as a certified encryption specialist. Then you will need to apply for an undergraduate degree with major studies in mathematics and computer science, or computer engineering. Another option would be to apply for a bachelor’s degree with a double major in mathematics and computer science. You could also consider a doctorate degree in mathematics or computer science with a focus on cryptography. Some of the degrees offered at Collin College relating to cryptography is AAS- Information Systems Cybersecurity, and a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Cybersecurity. I plan on transferring to the University of Texas-Dallas next fall to continue my education in Information Technology Systems.

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Thirdly, as you graduate and start your career, make sure to start building connections with qualified professionals who are involved in the field you are planning to pursue. Also, you can talk to your advisors to help you get in contact with cryptography experts. With that said, some skills students will need to acquire to be successful in this field is intelligence, creativity, and a strong ethical core. Also, they need to be willing to take on complex mathematical challenges. Most importantly they should be trustworthy enough to handle classified information.

Fourthly, a typical day as a cryptographer would consist of no two days are the same. Everything is project based but we use a certain metric and methodology to handle our processes to provide customized solutions for our customers. We can work from home and remote as we please, and we have a loose range of typical work hours eight to five pm. On average you will put in eight or more hours a day, but it will be spread throughout the day and not all at once. Some of the job responsibilities consist of protecting important information from being tampered with, designing robust security systems to prevent vulnerabilities and providing technical support to government, businesses and industry to solve security-related issues. This career can be satisfying for those who like working with puzzles and numbers.

Next, careers closely related or similar to a career in cryptography would be a security consultant. Security consultants are able to implement security solutions for an organization’s needs. Another career related to cryptographers is a security analyst. Security analysts are responsible for analyzing data. Their main job is keeping attackers out. Next, typical employers in this field include government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Private Industries like the RSA and DGP and educational institutions. 

The average salary for an entry-level cryptographer is estimated to make between thirty-five thousand and fifty thousand dollars a year within the government and forty-five thousand and sixty thousand a year within private sectors. An experienced cryptographer is estimated to make eighty-two thousand and one hundred and forty-six thousand dollars a year in major cities.

In conclusion, I have learned quite a bit about my career of choice in information technology. I am intrigued with the research I have done. At the same time, I am a bit overwhelmed; if I decide to pursue this career. I have many years of school ahead of me, and I have definitely got to decide if that is a challenge, I am ready to take on physically, emotionally, and financially.  

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