Cryptography Career: Pros and Cons discussed | Cyber Security Kings (2023)

It is essential to get the relevant skills when you need a career change or add to your abilities. However, you must know what to expect before investing your time and money into it. Cryptography, for instance, is lucrative but demanding; hence, we aim to provide you with the right information to make it a walkover for you.

So, is cryptography hard to learn? Cryptography is not hard to learn if you have a background in mathematics or computer science, since it relies heavily on the principles from these subject areas. People without a background in mathematics or computer science may struggle with learning cryptography.

Considering it is a technical course, it will be easy if you have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in mathematics or computer science. You may also need at least basic knowledge in computer programming, security protocols, compiler systems, and digital system information to help you learn how to encrypt and decrypt algorithms.

If you are uncertain about whether cryptography is the right path for you, this is the guide for you. We will highlight how long it takes to learn cryptography, where to start learning cryptography, and if you can learn cryptography on your own. Read on as we explore these and more concerns.

Cryptography is a unique skill set where you use codes to convey information through various channels safely. The aim is to decrypt the message such that only the recipient accesses and processes it. It’s a high-demand skill in organizations where the only hurdle is that people believe it’s too complex.

Cryptography can be easy or hard, depending on the learner. It requires strong motivation, interest, and ease of learning mathematics and computer science. It can be very effortless for you if you are good at the key subjects required and are determined to get it right. Fast learners can easily grasp and apply the concepts and get them right with practice.

If you fall in that category, you may need a couple of months or up to two years to fully understand the ins and outs of cryptography. On the contrary, it may be quite complicated for you if you don’t have any prior knowledge or high affinity to the main subjects.

Cryptography is exceptionally fun for students who easily understand mathematical theories and relevantly apply them in problem-solving. It is best to take a separate course in all the subjects if you don’t have a background in them, but you will find it simple and exciting to learn if you do.

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With that, you will be on your way to a career path in cryptography that is lucrative and highly competitive. Undoubtedly, this path attracts huge benefits, especially at a time when the internet is taking over. The need for professional cryptography will only increase in due time, and the best way to secure a place in such a world is by getting all the relevant skills.

Is Learning Cryptography Worth It?

It may come as a surprise when you tell your peers that you are a professional cryptanalyst. People often rank such skills only for the extremely talented; but the truth is, it isn’t as hard as it seems. We went on to find out why cryptography is the right skill for you.

Learning cryptography expands your knowledge of computer systems and other related subjects. Moreover, it is one of the most in demand skill sets in the current market, given that few people go into the field. Resulting in higher salaries for the many opportunities up for grabs as a cryptanalyst.

You will always be a step ahead of everybody in pay grade and job opportunities when you decide to learn it. All you need is the knowledge of the key subjects and the drive to make it work.

Cryptography has been present for centuries. The military, for instance, used it to send sensitive data, especially at the onset of the digital era. The need for data protection only grew as more people found computers useful in sending information. Security became a top priority for companies; hence, the rise of cryptographers.

To date, many apply the skill to send and receive data in the safest way possible without the fear of leaking or infiltration by unauthorized users. Therefore, cryptographers will always be in high demand in all the key areas such as business, security, journalism, and other main aspects of the economy.

The market for cryptography will only increase in the future. The internet is gradually overtaking the world, and you need to be at the center stage of it all. Every system is going digital, making cryptography the best way for safe communication. Therefore, organizations are creating attractive opportunities for you to help them grow.

You will find the pay great, and you will stay ahead of all your peers. Private and public institutions will call on you to encrypt, decrypt, and decipher data, and algorithms. In the long run, you will spend your career protecting confidential information and earn a fortune while you’re at it.

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How Long Does It Take To Learn Cryptography?

One of the factors to consider before acquiring a new skill is the time frame. You first need to consider how much time you need to fully master it to plan how best to go about it. It can be full or part-time depending on various factors, and you can decide which works in your favor.

With several factors in consideration, knowledge in cryptography can take you anything between six months to two years. It will take a short time if you have advanced analytical skills or prior knowledge on the required subjects and the commitment to finish the course. You need mathematical and computer science skills to succeed in the complex world of cryptography.

Those with a degree or certification in any or both subjects always have the upper hand since they are familiar with the basic concepts. Therefore, it is easier to grasp and apply the knowledge they obtain along the way.

Learning cryptography may take you less than two years, depending on your skills and affinity to grasp and apply what you have learned. It is easy to pick it up as a science and art as long as you have the motivation to learn. Some brilliant students may only need a couple of months, with some only requiring less than four months.

It may take a short time for you if you take it up full-time and not part-time. You will get more time for hands-on experience and practice more, enabling you to master the basic and complex concepts in no time.

You can get an entry-level job with a degree in mathematics or IT alongside your skills in cryptanalysis. However, a Ph.D. or a master’s degree is more lucrative and can secure you a better-paying job. A higher education level plus cryptology credentials will be more competitive and go a long way to boost your resume. While the theory part is easier to learn, you need more time and analytic skills to grasp the application part of it.

The good thing about the skill is that there are several resources at your disposal, both soft and hard copy, whichever works best for you. Professional cryptographers have also published their wealth of information for you, and you can find all you need at a low cost or no fee. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune to learn cryptography. You also don’t need to enroll in an expensive degree program or purchase countless books.

Where Do I Start To Learn Cryptography?

There are many expectations as a beginner learning cryptography. It is a vast and demanding course; hence, you need to know where your journey to becoming an expert starts.

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First, you can enroll for a free course online then find all the related resources. Many people go for platforms like Coursera, Udemy or any other where you can find professional help.

Alternatively, if you have the time and resources, you can go for physical enrollment in an institution that teaches the basics and advanced levels of cryptography and other related courses in cybersecurity. The key is to be consistent, motivated, and keep practicing because some concepts can get tricky in the long run.

You can find learning materials on the web as a soft copy or find a book by asking professionals for recommendations. Hands-on experience is also important; hence, you need a computer to help practice the codes. The fastest and most effective way to acquire the skills in cryptography is to do it yourself.

You can set aside the time that works for you and practice whenever you are free. First, you need basic information in Mathematics and IT. Surprisingly, knowing elementary math like algebra and probability can go a long way to make you a professional cryptographer.

To be a step ahead, you can learn a programming language, preferably, Python, because it is the easiest and most popular one. Additionally, you should know how to apply the skill, acquire a PC and do a lot of practice.

Encrypting and decrypting data needs a sender and a recipient. Hence, the technical expertise will be more helpful for you besides the theoretical part of it. The best cryptographers started by first obtaining a degree in IT, computer science, mathematics, or other related areas.

The terms of employment may differ, but some companies can go further to ask for a Master’s in the fields. Employers believe that the curriculum in these courses provides all basics you need in cryptography. They may also require you to be versed with current affairs such as cybercrime and security to understand how to apply what you have learned. As a professional cryptographer or cryptanalyst, you need to have the required skill sets to deal with algorithms and complex mathematical problems.

You need analytical knowledge of principles such as number theory and linear algebra and execute them in the design and decryption of powerful encrypted data. Secondly, you need technical skills in writing algorithms using programming languages like Python or Java because you will use them in writing codes.

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Lastly, like in any other profession, you need great communication skills, written and verbal. At some point, you will communicate with your team members and collectively develop solutions to the present problems. It may also work in your favor to be fluent in another language when dealing with foreign clients or obtaining information from a foreign source.

Can You Learn Cryptography on Your Own?

With the continuous advancements in technology worldwide, people are becoming more cautious about their data security. Consequently, individuals who worry about their data safety feel the need to study this technology by enrolling in online or physical classes. Some people find it difficult to take up classes because they are too preoccupied with work or family.

You can self-train and comfortably manage learning cryptography on your own, but it requires dedication and sacrifice. Essentially, it isn’t as simple as other theoretical subjects, but you can find all the relevant resources in soft or hard copy to learn without the need to enroll in a program.

Cryptology isn’t for the faint-hearted; it will require you to read tons of complex mathematics and a lot of history. Therefore, you may need to scour the internet to find the particular websites that lead to what to do and how to become a guru in this field. You can also visit your nearest library to grab a few books and probably consult with veteran cryptologists.

Once you get acquainted with mathematical fundamentals and all that you need to get started, you will begin by creating and breaking ciphers. Next, continue making and breaking complex ciphers. Doing it progressively and repeatedly will enable you to build better and more reliable encryption. Applicable codes have to be very secure and reliable and should undergo professional testing before implementation. Additionally, it has to run smoothly in any hardware.

You can get started with the basic codes as you advance and sharpen your expertise if you have a strong interest to learn Cryptanalysis. The Caesar Cipher is the most basic coding system that a beginner can start building and breaking.

Once you are good at it, you can proceed to Vigenere. Enigma, Apollo Program, and Purple Cipher are the commonly used protocols in the present technology. For instance, Enigma can help you learn and enhance your understanding of security commands.


There are several benefits to garner as a cryptographist. The salary is attractive, and you get a competitive advantage over your peers. It isn’t a hard course, especially if you have a background in mathematics or computer science. With these subjects, you can easily grapple with the information and apply them accordingly to solve problems.

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It will only take you less than two years or as little as six months to be a certified cryptanalyst. The good thing is that there is a lot of information on the web and in books to get you started, and all you need to do is create time and commit to seeing everything through. Go ahead and sign up for online or physical classes, and we guarantee that you will reap a big from the skills.


Is cryptography good career? ›

This makes them some of the most well paid and highly valued workers within the booming world of cybersecurity. A career as a cryptographer can be challenging and rewarding both intellectually and monetarily. If you're thinking about a career as a cryptographer, there's a lot you should know and much you should learn.

What are the pros and cons of cyber security? ›

The most cited pros of cyber security jobs are good salaries, plentiful career options, interesting work and the ability to advance. The most cited cons are continual learning requirements, on-call or overtime hours, and pressure to defend against ever-present and evolving attacks.

Is cryptography enough for security? ›

It can keep your email from being intercepted and read, but it can't stop your account from being stolen by phishing. An encrypted connection can keep hackers out, but it doesn't prevent you from manually downloading malware.

Is cryptography a hard course? ›

Cryptography can be easy or hard, depending on the learner. It requires strong motivation, interest, and ease of learning mathematics and computer science. It can be very effortless for you if you are good at the key subjects required and are determined to get it right.

Is there a future for cryptography? ›

And the demand for cryptographic computation continues to grow, with the amount of data generated each year rising exponentially and as organizations employ larger key sizes, as well as multiple simultaneous cryptographic algorithms, to bolster security.

Which cryptography is best? ›

Best Encryption Algorithms
  • AES. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the trusted standard algorithm used by the United States government, as well as other organizations. ...
  • Triple DES. ...
  • RSA. ...
  • Blowfish. ...
  • Twofish. ...
  • Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA).
6 days ago

What are the cons of security? ›

Cons of being a security officer
  • Has potential for personal risk. Since security officers work in settings that may attract criminal activity, they're exposed to some personal risk. ...
  • Often requires working nights, weekends and holidays. ...
  • May work in uncomfortable conditions. ...
  • Can take time to reach your full earning potential.
16 Nov 2021

What are the cons of working in cyber security? ›

What are the cons of working in cybersecurity?
  • High-stress and demanding hours.
  • Companies lack knowledge and/or resources.
  • Some repetitive, boring tasks.
  • Less room for mistakes.
  • Difficulty keeping up with fast-paced trends and emerging new information.

What are some cons to cyber security? ›

There are several drawbacks to using a cyber security system.
Cyber Security Cons
  • Cost to Maintain and Implement? The expense of setting up and maintaining a cyber security system is prohibitive when done on one's own. ...
  • The Implementation of Cyber Security Measures Requires Patience. ...
  • Procedure Limitations.
22 Mar 2022

Do cryptographers make a lot of money? ›

According to Payscale, the average base salary for a cryptographer in May 2022 was $185,000. Entry-level cryptographers may earn salaries below average, but the position allows for upward mobility and income growth. Cryptographers gain knowledge and skills with professional experience.

What skills do you need for cryptography? ›


Analytical Skills Cryptography professionals need to have a strong understanding of mathematical principles, such as linear algebra, number theory, and combinatorics. Professionals apply these principles when they are designing and deciphering strong encryption systems.

Is cryptography in high demand? ›

Cryptographers help ensure computer and network security by writing algorithms to safeguard data through encryption. These professionals work in the cybersecurity sector, which Cybercrime Magazine projects will see 3.5 million job openings from 2021-2025, indicating consistent demand in the field.

Are cryptographers happy? ›

A solid majority of cryptographers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a cryptographer.

Do cryptographers use math? ›

Cryptography is the science of using mathematics to hide data behind encryption. It involves storing secret information with a key that people must have in order to access the raw data.

What kind of math is cryptography? ›

Most encryption is based heavily on number theory, most of it being abstract algebra. Calculus and trigonometry isn't heavily used. Additionally, other subjects should be understood well; specifically probability (including basic combinatorics), information theory, and asymptotic analysis of algorithms.

Is cryptography an art or science? ›

Cryptography is the art and science of keeping information secure from unintended audiences, of encrypting it. Conversely, cryptanalysis is the art and science of breaking encoded data. The branch of mathematics encompassing both cryptography and cryptanalysis is cryptology.

What companies need cryptographers? ›

Financial institutions such as credit card companies and banks hire cryptographers to protect their financial data. Government organizations such as the FBI and NSA both hire cryptographers to assist with national security.

How does cryptography work in real life? ›

Encryption is used in electronic money schemes to protect conventional transaction data like account numbers and transaction amounts, digital signatures can replace handwritten signatures or a credit-card authorizations, and public-key encryption can provide confidentiality.

What are the 3 main types of cryptography algorithms? ›

There are three general classes of NIST-approved cryptographic algorithms, which are defined by the number or types of cryptographic keys that are used with each.
  • Hash functions.
  • Symmetric-key algorithms.
  • Asymmetric-key algorithms.
  • Hash Functions.
  • Symmetric-Key Algorithms for Encryption and Decryption.
29 Oct 2019

What are the 2 types of encryption? ›

There are two types of encryption in widespread use today: symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The name derives from whether or not the same key is used for encryption and decryption.

Which type of cryptography is more secure and why? ›

Asymmetric key cryptography is also known as public-key cryptography, and it employs the use of two keys. This cryptography differs from and is more secure than symmetric key cryptography. In this system, each user encrypts and decrypts using two keys or a pair of keys (private key and public key).

How do you answer a security interview questions? ›

In your responses to interview questions, talk about your previous experience. Use this as an opportunity to show off the skills you've used in these roles. Instead of simply saying that you have a skill, give an example of a time you've used it. But aim to keep examples relevant to the role at hand.

Why security is a negative goal? ›

summary: security is a negative goal: want to ensure certain kinds of outcomes despite any actions by adversary. goals: privacy, integrity, liveness, .. threat model: assumptions about what adversary can do.

What are the three 3 advantages of cyber security? ›

Following are some common advantages of cyber security: Data protection from unauthorised access, loss or deletion. Preventing financial fraud and embezzlement. Protection of intellectual property.

Is cyber security harder than coding? ›

Cybersecurity is often simpler to enter; you don't need very technical and complex skills to start your career. On the other hand, it is harder to get entry into coding. You require technical skills to learn actual coding; hence you have to be an expert to a particular level to start your career.

How stressful is cyber security? ›

Cybersecurity staff are feeling burnout and stressed to the extent that many are considering leaving their jobs. According to research by VMware, 47% of cybersecurity incident responders say they've experienced burnout or extreme stress over the past 12 months.

What are the 5 benefits of using cyber security? ›

Here are the cybersecurity advantages:
  • #1: Protects Personal Data. ...
  • #2: Protects Business Reputation. ...
  • #3: Enhances Productivity. ...
  • #4: Assists Remote Working. ...
  • #5: Regulation Compliance. ...
  • #6: Improves Cyber Posture. ...
  • #7: Better Data Management. ...
  • #8: Helps Educate the Workforce.
31 Aug 2022

Why is cyber security a good career? ›

Cybersecurity has the two key logistical advantages for a strong career: Low to no unemployment and solid compensation. Plus, if you choose this path, you'll always have room to grow. You'll continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies.

Is cyber security a hard career? ›

No, cybersecurity isn't hard. Although there may be difficult concepts, like cryptography or areas that require more technical knowledge, cybersecurity is one of the few fields in the tech world that doesn't require a strong technical background.

Is cyber security a good career in future? ›

There is a high demand for Cyber Security professionals in India, and you'll need at least a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science to enter into the field. A bachelor's degree in engineering or a three-year master's degree in computer networks and systems would suffice.

Can cryptographers hack? ›

Modern cryptography is secure by design. However, security by design doesn't necessarily mean perfect security. If cryptography is poorly implemented or misused, vulnerabilities can be created that a hacker can exploit. Many different ways exist to exploit modern cryptosystems.

Is cryptography more math or computer science? ›

Cryptography is not a subset of math or computer science; instead, it employs the principles from both subjects to aid in encryption and decryption of data for security reasons. The skill requires equal knowledge in the two fields since they form the basis of most underlying concepts.

How many hours does a cryptographer work? ›

Typically, cryptographers work in an office setting with regular 9-to-5 business hours. Cryptographers usually have some daily work tasks they can perform independently and some that require working with a team.

What is the main goal of cryptography? ›

There are four main goals in cryptography: confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation Read the section on the goals of cryptography to understand each concept.

How long does it take to learn cryptography? ›

With an array of analytical skills and a will to learn coding, you can pick up both the science and the art of cryptography in less than two years.

Can I learn cryptography on my own? ›

Unlikely. You may be able to understand the principles of cryptography to such a degree that you are able to keep up with the research publications in that field and maybe debug existing cryptography libraries using that knowledge.

What can I do after learning cryptography? ›

Cryptography is a career with options working for the government, FBI, insurance agencies, universities, and more. Specific job responsibilities will change according to your employer. A cryptographer that works for the government will have different expectations than one that works for a major university.

How much money does a cryptologist make? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a cryptologist is an information security analysis professional. People with these careers make an average of $103,590 a year.

Why is cryptography so hard? ›

Cryptography is harder than it looks, primarily because it looks like math. Both algorithms and protocols can be precisely defined and analyzed. This isn't easy, and there's a lot of insecure crypto out there, but we cryptographers have gotten pretty good at getting this part right.

Do cryptographers travel? ›

Cryptographers working in research and academia may travel to conferences around the world to present their work to professional colleagues.

What language do cryptographers use? ›

Cryptol is a domain specific programming language for cryptography developed by the Portland, Oregon based software development firm, Galois, Inc. The language was originally developed for use by the United States National Security Agency.

Which topic of math is important for cryptography? ›

Modular Exponentiation. A more in-depth understanding of modular exponentiation is crucial to understanding cryptographic mathematics.

Is cryptography a coding? ›

Coding theory includes the study of compression codes which enable us to send messages cheaply and error correcting codes which ensure that messages remain legible even in the presence of errors. Cryptography on the other hand, makes sure that messages remain unreadable — except to the intended recipient.

Do you have to be good at math to do crypto? ›

Math is a tool you can use to improve trading, but it is not required for trading. Most traders use at least some simple math, such as selecting stocks in part by price/earnings ratio, or managing risk by volatility targeting and stop losses.

What degrees do you need to be a cryptographer? ›

To become a cryptographer you must first earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, or mathematics. All of these disciplines teach the technical, quantitative, and logic skills needed for making and breaking complex computerized codes.

Do crypto jobs pay well? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $302,500 and as low as $22,000, the majority of Crypto salaries currently range between $92,500 (25th percentile) to $179,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $242,000 annually across the United States.

How much does a cryptographer make? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $207,000 and as low as $47,500, the majority of Cryptography salaries currently range between $130,500 (25th percentile) to $173,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $195,500 annually across the United States.

Does cryptography require a lot of math? ›

Analytical Skills Cryptography professionals need to have a strong understanding of mathematical principles, such as linear algebra, number theory, and combinatorics. Professionals apply these principles when they are designing and deciphering strong encryption systems.

Do cryptographers code? ›

Cryptography is the practice of writing (or cracking) encryption code which keeps data private. Cryptographers are the individuals who do the writing and cracking of these ciphers. Cryptographers have made the internet a safer place to conduct tasks such as online shopping and sending private emails.

Can crypto be a full-time job? ›

Trading Bitcoin is not without risk. However, if you lay the groundwork beforehand and make sure you know what you're getting into, you can turn crypto trading into a full-time occupation.

Do you need a degree to work in crypto? ›

Most companies offering a position as a cryptocurrency analyst require a bachelor's degree in either business, finance, or a field related to blockchain technology or cryptocurrency.

What is the highest paid crypto? ›

  • Bitcoin(BTC)$20,781.002.73%
  • Ethereum(ETH)$1,623.865.16%
  • Tether(USDT)$1.00-0.25%
  • BNB(BNB)$350.936.00%
  • USD Coin(USDC)$1.000.03%
  • XRP(XRP)$0.4922217.91%
  • Binance USD(BUSD)$1.00-0.09%
  • Dogecoin(DOGE)$0.123328-3.38%
10 Sept 2022

What math is used in cryptography? ›

Most encryption is based heavily on number theory, most of it being abstract algebra. Calculus and trigonometry isn't heavily used. Additionally, other subjects should be understood well; specifically probability (including basic combinatorics), information theory, and asymptotic analysis of algorithms.

How many years does it take to be a cryptographer? ›

Most positions require at least five years of professional experience, though education and certifications can sometimes substitute for experience. Thus, between educational and experience requirements, the process to become a cryptographer often takes 6-9 years.

Do you need a PHD to be a cryptographer? ›

Education Required for a Cryptographer

A bachelor's degree in math, computer science or a related field is typically required, but most cryptographers will need to pursue a master's or doctorate degree.


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