Cryptanalyst

Break secret codes in order to fight crime.
picture of Cryptanalyst

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$32,000 – $131,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Cryptanalysts do?

Cryptanalysts crack codes. They’re paid by military, political, and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies, to analyze and unravel secret codes. These codes are frequently used by governments, businesses, hackers, and criminals to securely transmit sensitive information. Thanks to technology, secret communication is more common—and more sophisticated—today than ever before. Demand is high, therefore, for Cryptanalysts.

Essentially, it’s your job as a Cryptanalyst to “unencrypt” encrypted data, known as a cipher, then translate it into readable text. While your colleagues, Cryptographers, write hidden messages, it’s up to you to read them—without the assistance of a key. That means you spend your days not only deciphering codes but also building the systems needed to crack them in the first place. It’s kind of like speaking English and discovering the ancient Egyptians’ hieroglyphics: Before you can read the entire message, you’ve got to create a dictionary by determining what each symbol means.

Using computer science (algorithms), math (probabilities), and intuition (good, old-fashioned guesswork) to electronically gather and secure intelligence, you’re basically a human decoder ring, fighting crime by cracking codes!


Should I be a Cryptanalyst?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become a Cryptanalyst

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Cryptanalyst-related education!
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