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In what industries or more specifically in what companies do cryptographers normally get hired ? How are career opportunities ?

Currently I'm majoring in mathematics at a university in Denmark, and therefore I've started to think about future job-possibilies.

Personally I really love cryptography, and I've been styduing a lot of elementary number theory as well as abstract algebra. Also I've taken some courses in theoretical computer science.

However, searching on Google it seems that companies are only employing mathematicians with skills in analysis and quantative finance. I've not yet found any job where the title or description mentions something about cryptography.

I know that an idea should only be implemented once, whereby software developers can use the idea without knowing the specifics. Does cryptography get developed only a very few places ?

I've read that NSA in USA hire cryptographers. Is the trend that only national intelligence agencies hire cryptographers to develop special cryptography schemes ? And then everything else is developed at universites and implemented once ?

How are the career oppurnities for a cryptographer ?

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closed as off-topic by e-sushi, DrLecter, otus, owlstead, Gilles Jun 7 at 22:49

  • This question does not appear to be about cryptography within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

No matter how I look at it, this question can only result in primarily opinion-based answers… which makes it off-topic. Especially, as the help center puts it: “ because there is no actual problem to be solved”. –  e-sushi Jun 6 at 21:15
I don't think that it's necessarily opinion-based, but it is off-topic because it's about jobs, not cryptography. –  otus Jun 7 at 19:43
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3 Answers

For starters, IACR has an online job center on their homepage (link), however, the positions there are mostly in academics. But companies like IBM, Microsoft, etc. with actual research departments also publish their open positions there sometimes.

Other than that, it really depends on what you're interested in. There are companies, which specialize in various aspects of cryptography, which obviously need cryptographers, e.g. for developing hardware tokens, doing penetration testing, etc. Then there are the whole telecommunication sector, privacy sector, data storage, computation centers, and so on, where solid cryptographic knowledge is very useful but unlikely that there is much research being done.

Just to throw a few well known names out there: Microsoft, IBM, RSA labs, HP, CISCO, SAP, Siemens, Intel, Kaspersky (or most other security software developers), AT&T (or others, depending on region), PayPal, Apple, television companies (for pay TV), ..

But just because these companies have use for cryptographers, that doesn't mean they hire them in huge umbers or even hire right now at this moment.

Ow, or you could go to the military or other intelligence agencies (NSA isn't the only one, all of them need cryptographers).

Last piece of advise: Look for more than just cryptographers in google, because these jobs can hide under a whole lot of different descriptions. Here's a short list of keywords: security software engineer, cyber security, security architect, ... etc, but the list of companies should give you a pretty clear picture. (I'm out of more ideas right now)

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Thank you for your answer. I will give your keywords a try. How important is strong knowledge of algebra, number theory etc. outside Academia in working with cryptograhy and IT-security ? –  user111854 Jun 6 at 10:03
That dépends on what you do, not where you do it. There are people in industry who do basically the same work as others do in academia (although there are probably also some industry-specific jobs). –  fkraiem Jun 6 at 14:46
That argument is just pulling the propaganda and counter-propaganda card, and I don't think that's what the question was about. The intelligence agencies are neither good nor bad. Drawing analogies to the KGB is far-fetched at best. The question about it working there is a personal one, not a social one - everyone has to decide that on his own. Public reception of the NSA is bad at the moment, but not everything they do is like that. "Socially unacceptable" is about breaking taboos, not about what the news report today and have forgotten in five years. –  tylo Jun 25 at 9:21
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Is the trend that only national intelligence agencies hire cryptographers to develop special cryptography schemes ? And then everything else is developed at universites and implemented once ?

Not at all, you can find much cryptographic research whose authors are employed by "ordinary" corporations, such as Microsoft or IBM in the US, NTT in Japan, or Morpho in France (where I am currently interning).

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Thank you. So it is mainly very large organizations that hire cryptographers ? Is it very hard to get a job ? Are there many jobpositions open ? –  user111854 Jun 6 at 8:26
I can't comment on the difficulty of getting a job, as I am not there yet. ;) –  fkraiem Jun 6 at 8:35
It's not only very large companies, but they are the most prominent examples, of course. In general, there are overall less jobs in cryptography than say statistical analysis, numeric modelling (for predictions, etc.), and so on. –  tylo Jun 6 at 8:40
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