The security field seems to have jobs aplenty, but what about cryptography specifically? Is the field ridiculously difficult to break into, even with a relevant degree, or are industry/government/academia recruiting as heavily as industry is of software developers?

I already know of iacr.org/jobs. If that is an accurate representation of research jobs in cryptography, that particular area of cryptography doesn't look too good.

Is the government really the only game in town in terms of realistically getting a cryptography-related job, or is the job-to-competition ratio not too bad for industry jobs in cryptography?

(Sorry if I'm not supposed to post questions like this here, but I didn't see any mention of a ban on it. workplace.stackexchange just didn't seem specific enough to warrant good answers to this question. Also, I don't consider this an opinion-based question. The current supply and demand for cryptographers is a knowable, concrete fact, even if most people have only a vague sense of it rather than hard statistics.)

  • $\begingroup$ It is hard to define a "cryptography job". It depends what we our skill set is and what we would want to do, Let me try answering $\endgroup$ – sashank Sep 9 '16 at 4:17
  • $\begingroup$ To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where … (read: Crypto.SE does not handle these kind of questions. Even if you personally consider your question not to be opinion-based, it practically is because you’re clearly asking for both personal opinions as well as job-related recommendations. Besides that, you might want to check out the reference-request as its description explains when to use it. As you’ll notice, it does not fit your type of question. In fact, no tag does…) $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Sep 26 '16 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @e-sushi I didn't put the reference-request tag there; whoever edited my post must have. I am not asking for either personal opinions or job-related recommendations. I was asking for a quantitative answer. If someone only has their opinion rather than a quantitative answer, that's their own fault. However, if Crypto.SE does not handle any job-related questions whatsoever, opinion-based or otherwise, then so be it. $\endgroup$ – user124384 Sep 26 '16 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ Haven’t verified if it makes sense, but there is a chance Workplace.SE might be more helpful for job-related questions. As said: haven’t verified if they handle questions like the one you posted here, so it could be a smart idea to ask if such questions are on-topic at their place via Meta.Workplace.SE before dropping such a question there. Yet, what I do know is that they definitely handle career-development questions. Chances are – with a bit of fine-tuning – your question could be made on topic there. Hope that helps… $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Sep 27 '16 at 0:07

There is a no single variety of "cryptography job". iacr.jobs is very small representation

  • If you have an academic degree (like PhD in Crypto/Maths/TOC) then very much your area of thesis might help finding a PostDoc/Asst Proff types job for this you need to search for Universities that do work in similar area.
  • You may get general faculty types position too in their Security group if one exists usually in a Univ below your Graduating Univ's ranking. This could be both theoretical cryptography work or practical (systems level security) types work depending upon your thesis etc.
  • Few industry associated research labs to hire crypto & security scientists they need academic qualifications like PhD too.
  • If you have industrial experience working on cryptographic libraries (open
    source or proprietary) then you may get typical software engineering roles in C, CPP, Java with expertise in cryptography like projects that involve key management, PKI, Kerberos, SSL, Hashing, AES, protocol implementations etc.
  • There might be some jobs which are not explicitly advertised as cryptography jobs but may be part of larger projects that has security elements in it and you may get to work at API level calls to cryptography.
  • You could also be independent researcher/consultant types but you need street credentials there too like rockstar status those who found heartbleed type bugs, given blackhat/defcon type talks etc. Modern Ransomware research too needs good understanding of cryptography in order to breakupon those malware and provide decryption tools.

Note : By large it depends on what qualifications and work experience you have. Without both entry level jobs are almost rare in this niche field.

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  • $\begingroup$ Let's say someone has just gotten a PhD in cryptography. How easy or impossible would getting a non-academic job that utilizes that expertise be? $\endgroup$ – user124384 Sep 9 '16 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ it really depends on quality of phd thesis/publications. Also the research area should be interest for industry labs. For example highly theoretical work although world class is often not done at industry labs. So it really depends. $\endgroup$ – sashank Sep 9 '16 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Let's say their thesis and publications are of average quality. Also, is a background in applied cryptography more of interest to industry? $\endgroup$ – user124384 Sep 9 '16 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ may help, it really depends on the lab's requirements etc $\endgroup$ – sashank Sep 10 '16 at 1:01

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