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What Qualifications do Employers want with a Degree in Cryptography?

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DegreeQuery has written about cryptography in other articles, which we will supply the links at the bottom of this report. This post looks at random job postings from prominent internet employment sites. This should afford a glimpse at what employers want from a prospective applicant. It also tells us preferred degrees and job duties. With this information, you may be able to tailor your classes to optimize your employment opportunities. Unfortunately, most of them require experience. The following are from three current job postings, as of this writing.

1. A company in Portland, Oregon, seeks a Cryptography and Secure Computation Researcher to join their team of researchers and engineers who enjoy the challenge of solving problems. The company is a leader in the groundbreaking process of computing on data while it remains encrypted, and in the automated generation, validation, and synthesis of high assurance cryptographic solutions.

They are currently seeking researchers to develop cryptographic techniques to assure this kind of information security for the last mile: during computation. The techniques they draw on include multi-party computation, homomorphic encryption, functional encryption, and private information retrieval. Applicants require a minimum of a Master of Science in Computer Science or Mathematics.

2. A company in Raleigh, North Carolina, seeks a Full Stack Developer with Cryptography experience. A Full-Stack Web Developer is someone who is able to work on both the front-end and back-end portions of an application. This job does require experience in software development, Linux/Unix programming, JavaScript, C++, Python, and cryptography. The individual will participate in the design and implementation of our fully decentralized protocol. This includes developing, testing and deploying the backend systems.

If you enjoy working closely on a team with other researchers and engineers, you will need 3+ years experience. You will work in the areas of programming languages, distributed computing, cryptography, and other related fields. You require a strong interest in the design and implementation of programming languages but are also capable of developing and formalizing their semantics. Your education requires programming language theory, calculi, and formal language semantics.

3. A company in New York City seeks a Research Engineer to work in these areas:

  • Distributed systems and big data processing
  • Applications of cryptography
  • Game theory and crypto-economic design
  • Blockchain and cryptographic data structures

Their teams are busy building the future of identity, financial markets, commerce, security, and infrastructure, and more. Your work will focus on building and scaling tools and software products for the Ethereum blockchain. (Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications).

No Experience = Internships

All of the above jobs require experience. This is not much help to students currently earning a degree in cryptography. It does provide, as we stated above, the educational preferences in this field. What about jobs requiring no experience? There are opportunities as interns around the nation.

A company in Arlington, Virginia, has an internship for the spring of 2019. This cyber security corporation has provided support to the special operations and intelligence communities by bringing together the best software, hardware, communications, and security experts in the industry by leveraging our decades of operational experience to help Federal agencies and organizations. Examples of the involved work are:

  • Applied Networking Communications
  • Applied Cryptography
  • Mobile Applications
  • Operating Systems

In preparation for the job, you need knowledge of programming languages, in particular, Java or Python. You need to be familiar with the Linux/UNIX command line. Applicants also require an interest in operating systems, cryptography, and data communications. In addition, API design will be beneficial to success on the job. (Application programming interface (API) is a set of rules and specifications that software programs follow to communicate or ‘interface’ with each other).

There are internships that lead to full-time work. One is available in Chantilly, Virginia, that requires a Cyber Intern to join their company of 22,000 employees. They work at the forefront of scientific innovation to tackle critical challenges in security, human health, manufacturing, energy, and environmental management.

Their cyber engineers’ high-powered computer labs include specialized software and hardware. The company’s  engineers have everything needed to invent new Cyber solutions. Their work involves network security systems, information assurance, information operations, and cryptography.

Applicants must meet these requirements:

  • Current enrollment in an Associate or Bachelor degree program in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or related field of study.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) and at least 1-year of college-level coursework completed
  • Experience writing or debugging software code in C or C++ or debugging micro-controller code (C or C++)

One final possibility is a summer internship with the National Security Agency (NSA). Here you will obtain exposure to various disciplines, such as:

  • System/network administration and operations
  • Systems security engineering
  • Information assurance systems and product acquisition
  • Cryptography
  • Threat and vulnerability assessment, including risk management
  • The operations of computer emergency response teams
  • Information assurance training, education, and management
  • Computer forensic

There are thirteen acceptable majors to intern with the NSA. A short list includes cyber security, computer science, information technology, computer engineering, network security, and electrical engineering. The agency requires a GPA of 3.2 or higher. Applicants also need to be a graduate or undergraduate student; undergraduate students must be in their junior year or reached college junior status.

Additional Resources

What Degree do I need to be a Cryptanalyst?

What Is the Benefit of a Computer Hardware Engineering Degree Vs a Computer Programming Degree?

What is the difference between a Computer Science and Computer Engineering degree?

What Degree Do People With a Job in Computer Engineering Have?

What is a Degree in Mathematics?

What Degree do I need to become a Cryptographer?

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