Network cryptologists are professionals who work with computer systems to encrypt information so that it can be sent securely across a network and decrypted once it is received. These workers are typically employed by the government, especially through law enforcement agencies and the armed forces, as well as businesses and corporations that are concerned with information security. Cryptologists are trained to collect information across different communication channels using specialized equipment, such as video display terminals and computer-assisted communications equipment.
Information security is a great concern for organizations needing to transmit information privately, such as law enforcement or other government agencies. The employees who can take this information and encode it so that it can only be deciphered within an organization are paid generously for this work. Network cryptologists, as these workers are sometimes called, often earn annual salaries in excess of $100,000. Educational requirements for network cryptology often includes postgraduate study toward a Ph.D.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes salary information for network cryptologists, or cryptanalysts, with salary data for workers under the occupational heading of mathematicians. According to federal statistics, the average salary for all mathematicians, including network cryptologists, was $100,260 per year, or $48.20 per hour, as of May 2010. Cryptologists working in the scientific research and development services industry earned the highest average salary in 2010, $114,820 per year, while cryptologists working for the federal government earned an average of $106,950 per year.
The level of education required of network cryptologists differs between public sector and private sector employment. Cryptologists working for businesses and private corporations often must earn a doctoral degree in mathematics or computer science, while cryptologists seeking work with government agencies can usually find employment after earning their master's degrees. Coursework that prepares a student for a career in cryptology generally covers advanced mathematics, algorithm design, signals analysis and global network analysis.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job growth for mathematicians will increase by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, a growth rate which is much faster than average for all American occupations. Obtaining work as a network cryptologist will be easiest for applicants who have earned degrees in both mathematics and a related field, such as computer science. The BLS indicates that job competition will make finding work difficult as the rate at which mathematicians receive doctoral degrees is greater than the rate of job openings in academia and other industries employing cryptologists.
- StateUniversity.com: Cryptographic Technician Job Description
- Navy CyberSpace: Navy Cryptologic Technician
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mathematicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Mathematicians
- National Security Agency: Frequently Asked Questions
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