Cryptography is the science of disguising and revealing encrypted information. In terms of Information Technology, cryptography usually refers to keeping any intercepted information private. For example, such information may be financial data, like banking and credit card information used in online shopping, or private e-mail and correspondence. Cryptographers design systems, break systems, and do research on encryption. Responsibilities typically do not include building and maintaining the computer networks that use cryptography; these are the duties of security engineers and network administrators. In general, cryptographers are mathematicians who specialize in making and breaking codes.

Many cryptographers work as consultants or professors of cryptography, yet there are full-time positions available at some large corporations or for the government. A PhD in cryptography is usually an essential prerequisite for a position as a cryptographer. However, all cryptographers must have broad experience in both mathematics and computer science.

Cryptographers can expect to earn an annual salary of $65,000 to $95,000. Opportunities for advancement typically depend on experience; the most competitive field will be research positions at universities. Those with experience in computer science and information technology should be among the most employable mathematicians and increasingly in demand.

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