Cryptography is the process of writing encryption codes to help protect private and valuable data and cryptographers are the professionals who write and crack codes as needed.
Because of cryptographers, we have a safe internet space to conduct online shopping and send private emails. Consider a situation where while shopping online, your credit card number gets circulated across the internet for anyone to see. This would make you reconsider your purchasing decisions. Luckily, cryptographers protect your online shopping transactions to keep your credit card numbers and other private details safe.
Cryptography is both a challenging and interesting career choice if you possess an adventurous streak and a creative bent of mind. However, it should be noted cryptographers are required to be extremely hard-working and dedicated towards the various nitty-gritty of the profession that is prone to constant disruptions.
If you are considering pursuing a career in cryptography, here is everything you need to know. The article covers everything from the job description of cryptographers to the highest paying cryptography jobs in India. So, let’s get started!
What is Cryptography?
Although cryptography seems like a new age career for a digital world, it is far from reality. Cryptographers, throughout history, have been using cyphers and algorithms to secure communications. They use knowledge of computer science and mathematics to develop algorithms to keep data safe. It is their job to develop new security solutions once the previous methodologies become outdated.
Cryptographers can work in various industries like government agencies or financial organizations to protect sensitive data and communication. This requires you to possess expertise in advanced algebra, programming languages like Python, Java, C, C++, proficiency in writing algorithms, knowledge of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, cybersecurity, and computer networking, among others.
The basic responsibilities of a cryptographer include:
- They identify and secure any possible weak points of existing cryptography systems.
- They are responsible for testing cryptology theories to meet the organization’s needs.
- They are responsible for improving the security of the data by implementing more secure and encrypted solutions.
- They utilize the public key cryptography techniques with RSA for better results.
- They are responsible for prototyping new security system solutions using advanced programming encryption strategies and techniques.
- A cryptographer is responsible for training staff to handle interaction data and develop safe and secure systems
- They are responsible for developing and managing the organization’s encryption technology, including software code and third-party product adoption.
- A cryptographer utilizes free public key and private key cryptography to help achieve encryption goals.
- A cryptographer works to decrypt the information required to find vulnerabilities that the hackers can misuse.
How to Become a Cryptographer?
For someone who wants to pursue cryptography as a career must take an undergraduate degree in mathematics, computer science, or any relatable subject. This is important because the subjects teach the quantitative logic and technical skills required to formulate and break complex computerized codes. As many cryptologists work in military defence systems requiring interaction with foreign communication signals, it is better to take additional courses in a particular foreign language.
Candidates with further research-based or advanced degrees in network engineering or information security with cryptology specialization tend to get a higher salary. This academic background helps a student become a cryptology practitioner responsible for creating secure computing products or a crypto analyst who researches new processes and models required to build safe and secure computing systems.
UpGrad offers a PG Certification in Cyber Security from IIT Bangalore which is a 7.5-month intensive program comprising 250+ hours of content, case studies and live sessions to help you acquire the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field.
You can also pursue a longer 13-month Executive PG Proghram in Software Development – Specialisation in Cyber Security to attract lucrative jobs paying top salaries. With 400+ hours of content, 7+ case studies and projects, and 6 tools and software, you stand to obtain a 66% average salary hike.
What are the Skills Required in Cryptography?
Since both private and public organizations rely on cryptographers to keep their data secure, there are a range of skills required, depending on the organization, in order to land a desirable job in an industry. Here are the hard skills necessary to become a cryptographer:
- Knowledge of IT security, software, hardware, and solutions.
- Command on source code programming languages like C++, Java, Python, PHP, and others to enhance source code developing abilities.
- Adequate experience with IT support and in using various computer operating systems like Linux, UNIX, and MS-Windows
- Knowledge of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.
- Knowledge of Information complexity and number theories.
- Ability to add enhanced security to an organization using decryption methods.
- Strong mathematics skills in linear algebra and discrete mathematics.
- Knowledge of cryptographic algorithms and data structures.
In addition to this, a cryptographer must have good verbal and written communication skills as they are responsible for helping senior IT managers. Here are some of the soft skills required in a cryptographer:
- Time management skills to handle multiple projects at a given time.
- Team management skills to work as part of a team.
- Leadership skills to work proactively with security professionals and remain self-motivated.
- Communication skills to communicate with non-technical professionals and help them understand the technical concepts.
- Puzzle and problem-solving skills and sound judgemental skills.
- Critical and analytical thinking skills
A cryptographer must stay up to date with the new developments in information technology security and trends of security systems.
Cryptographer Salary in India
On average, the cryptographer salary in India is ₹600,000 per year. Additionally, they get a yearly bonus which further adds to the total amount. However, the cryptographer salary varies greatly based on the job, company, and various other aspects. Depending on these factors, a cryptographer can earn up to ₹ 1 million per year.
Top 6 Cryptography Careers
As a cryptographer, one can work in various industries ranging from private to government agencies. Here are the top positions one can consider as a cryptographer:
1. Security Software Developer
Average Base Salary: ₹583k /year
A candidate with a master’s degree in cybersecurity and computer science is the primary candidate for the software developer position. However, today even a cryptography background can make you eligible for the position. This is because cybersecurity does not require the use of code, but it needs a lock and key mechanism for electronics and computers.
Security software developers, thus, focus on using algorithms and coding to prevent any security breaches or attacks.
2. Ethical Hacker
Average Base Salary: ₹501k /year
An ethical hacker’s job is to develop scripts suitable for testing the vulnerabilities of the network system. Almost every business organization needs an ethical hacker to protect themselves from security breaches. Also, an ethical hacker is hired by the government to prevent the compromise of national security features. Because of the high relevance of the position in the current digital atmosphere, ethical hacking salary is relatively high even for an entry-level position.
3. Cyber Security Consultant
Average Base Salary: ₹744k /year
Cybersecurity consultants have an integral role in defending and attacking a system for exploiting vulnerabilities and detecting the organization’s computer network and system weakness. Typically, this job position is not employed as an in-house team. A cybersecurity consultant can either work for a third-party security consulting firm or can be self-employed.
4. Network Engineer
Average Base Salary: ₹324k /year
Network engineers with their advanced level position are responsible for implementing, designing, and testing cost-effective and secure computer networks ranging from local area networks, internet connections, wide area network internet, and other communication systems. A network engineer is responsible for upgrading software and hardware and planning the implementation of security patches or various other defence measures to protect the organization’s network against vulnerabilities.
5. Cybersecurity Analyst
Average Base Salary: ₹525k /year
Cyber Security analysts are professionals responsible for defending an organisation’s cybersecurity. With the increase in data breaches, cybersecurity analysts keep a constant eye on threats and monitor the organization’s network to find any potential security vulnerabilities. Using the information collected from threat monitoring tools and other sources, these professionals identify, analyze and report events that might have occurred or can occur with the network system.
6. Cybersecurity Manager
Average Base Salary: ₹1672k /year
The job is among the most in-demand positions in India. A cybersecurity manager is responsible for implementing and overseeing the security programs for a specified system or network. In fact, various organizations require multiple security managers to control the specific portions of the organization’s security program. The cybersecurity managers are expected to monitor their focus area, compliance-related policies, maintain related tools, order their program and build cybersecurity awareness.
Cryptography as the heart of Information Technology Security
The job of cryptographers varies greatly based on the type of organization they work in. They work for public and private agencies where they are responsible for safeguarding classified information and for identifying threats to national security.
For instance, cryptographers working in the National security Agency will spend their day decrypting a sensitive document required to ensure national security. They help the agency to encrypt the necessary documents so that they can be analyzed further.
Cryptographers are generally trained in signal intelligence within military or other government agencies where they use the knowledge to create stronger communication networks for air, land and sea-based systems. They are also trained to intercept, accumulate and analyze signals and communication from outside sources to identify any possible threats.
Various institutions operating in financial services, banking, healthcare, and telecommunication utilize a computing system for encryption technology developed by a cryptologist. Because of the presence of sensitive data in this industry, organizations use data security methods like encryption. Professionals specialize in computer network security and use various mathematical algorithms and tools to develop codes that cannot be deciphered without authorized decryption keys.
All the sectors of cryptography require mathematics to develop new and innovative ways for encrypting data. While there are various algorithms that already exist to encrypt data, hackers always come up with new, ingenious ways to obtain access to a system. This means that cryptographers must constantly work creatively to develop new ways of protecting data and devise new techniques for cracking cyphers, to combat malicious attacks.
Although a cryptography career has gained popularity in recent times, it is not a new profession. With the increase in technology usage in various fields, it is essential to protect data and sensitive information at any cost. As a professional, a cryptographer is responsible for keeping the data secure and safe even in worst-case scenarios.
However, there are several pressing concerns in the cybersecurity industry that are expected to continue in 2021. These include frequent cloud breaches with respect to the remote workforce who are currently a huge target for cybercriminals. IoT devices are also at risk as a result of the growing usage of 5G in connected devices.
Furthermore, with this increase in cyber-attacks and breaches, the role of a cryptographer has increased significantly. However, there is a cybersecurity skills gap that is expected to continue. This has led to the demand for talented cryptographers as more and more companies are providing the opportunity to aspiring cybersecurity professionals to upskill themselves and contribute to the security of an organisation.
A cryptographer’s job may be full of thrills and challenges but it also requires hard work and dedication to succeed. That is why it is essential for cryptographers to keep themselves updated with all the latest trends and technologies to drive organizational growth.
There is a rise in careers in Cyber Security technology and blockchain has tremendously changed the very face of the technology industry forever. If you’re interested to become a Cryptographer checkout IIIT-B & upGrad’s Executive PG Proghram in Software Development – Specialisation in Cyber Security