Cryptography Career: Pros and Cons discussed

It is essential to get the relevant skills when you need a career change or add to your abilities. However, you must know what to expect before investing your time and money into it. Cryptography, for instance, is lucrative but demanding; hence, we aim to provide you with the right information to make it a walkover for you.

So, is cryptography hard to learn? Cryptography is not hard to learn if you have a background in mathematics or computer science, since it relies heavily on the principles from these subject areas. People without a background in mathematics or computer science may struggle with learning cryptography.

Considering it is a technical course, it will be easy if you have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in mathematics or computer science. You may also need at least basic knowledge in computer programming, security protocols, compiler systems, and digital system information to help you learn how to encrypt and decrypt algorithms.

If you are uncertain about whether cryptography is the right path for you, this is the guide for you. We will highlight how long it takes to learn cryptography, where to start learning cryptography, and if you can learn cryptography on your own. Read on as we explore these and more concerns.

Cryptography is a unique skill set where you use codes to convey information through various channels safely. The aim is to decrypt the message such that only the recipient accesses and processes it. It’s a high-demand skill in organizations where the only hurdle is that people believe it’s too complex.

Cryptography can be easy or hard, depending on the learner. It requires strong motivation, interest, and ease of learning mathematics and computer science. It can be very effortless for you if you are good at the key subjects required and are determined to get it right. Fast learners can easily grasp and apply the concepts and get them right with practice.

If you fall in that category, you may need a couple of months or up to two years to fully understand the ins and outs of cryptography. On the contrary, it may be quite complicated for you if you don’t have any prior knowledge or high affinity to the main subjects.

Cryptography is exceptionally fun for students who easily understand mathematical theories and relevantly apply them in problem-solving. It is best to take a separate course in all the subjects if you don’t have a background in them, but you will find it simple and exciting to learn if you do.

With that, you will be on your way to a career path in cryptography that is lucrative and highly competitive. Undoubtedly, this path attracts huge benefits, especially at a time when the internet is taking over. The need for professional cryptography will only increase in due time, and the best way to secure a place in such a world is by getting all the relevant skills.

Is Learning Cryptography Worth It?

It may come as a surprise when you tell your peers that you are a professional cryptanalyst. People often rank such skills only for the extremely talented; but the truth is, it isn’t as hard as it seems. We went on to find out why cryptography is the right skill for you.

Learning cryptography expands your knowledge of computer systems and other related subjects. Moreover, it is one of the most in demand skill sets in the current market, given that few people go into the field. Resulting in higher salaries for the many opportunities up for grabs as a cryptanalyst.

You will always be a step ahead of everybody in pay grade and job opportunities when you decide to learn it. All you need is the knowledge of the key subjects and the drive to make it work.

Cryptography has been present for centuries. The military, for instance, used it to send sensitive data, especially at the onset of the digital era. The need for data protection only grew as more people found computers useful in sending information. Security became a top priority for companies; hence, the rise of cryptographers.

To date, many apply the skill to send and receive data in the safest way possible without the fear of leaking or infiltration by unauthorized users. Therefore, cryptographers will always be in high demand in all the key areas such as business, security, journalism, and other main aspects of the economy.

The market for cryptography will only increase in the future. The internet is gradually overtaking the world, and you need to be at the center stage of it all. Every system is going digital, making cryptography the best way for safe communication. Therefore, organizations are creating attractive opportunities for you to help them grow.

You will find the pay great, and you will stay ahead of all your peers. Private and public institutions will call on you to encrypt, decrypt, and decipher data, and algorithms. In the long run, you will spend your career protecting confidential information and earn a fortune while you’re at it.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Cryptography?

One of the factors to consider before acquiring a new skill is the time frame. You first need to consider how much time you need to fully master it to plan how best to go about it. It can be full or part-time depending on various factors, and you can decide which works in your favor.

With several factors in consideration, knowledge in cryptography can take you anything between six months to two years. It will take a short time if you have advanced analytical skills or prior knowledge on the required subjects and the commitment to finish the course. You need mathematical and computer science skills to succeed in the complex world of cryptography.

Those with a degree or certification in any or both subjects always have the upper hand since they are familiar with the basic concepts. Therefore, it is easier to grasp and apply the knowledge they obtain along the way.

Learning cryptography may take you less than two years, depending on your skills and affinity to grasp and apply what you have learned. It is easy to pick it up as a science and art as long as you have the motivation to learn. Some brilliant students may only need a couple of months, with some only requiring less than four months.

It may take a short time for you if you take it up full-time and not part-time. You will get more time for hands-on experience and practice more, enabling you to master the basic and complex concepts in no time.

You can get an entry-level job with a degree in mathematics or IT alongside your skills in cryptanalysis. However, a Ph.D. or a master’s degree is more lucrative and can secure you a better-paying job. A higher education level plus cryptology credentials will be more competitive and go a long way to boost your resume. While the theory part is easier to learn, you need more time and analytic skills to grasp the application part of it.

The good thing about the skill is that there are several resources at your disposal, both soft and hard copy, whichever works best for you. Professional cryptographers have also published their wealth of information for you, and you can find all you need at a low cost or no fee. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune to learn cryptography. You also don’t need to enroll in an expensive degree program or purchase countless books.

Where Do I Start To Learn Cryptography?

There are many expectations as a beginner learning cryptography. It is a vast and demanding course; hence, you need to know where your journey to becoming an expert starts.

First, you can enroll for a free course online then find all the related resources. Many people go for platforms like Coursera, Udemy or any other where you can find professional help.

Alternatively, if you have the time and resources, you can go for physical enrollment in an institution that teaches the basics and advanced levels of cryptography and other related courses in cybersecurity. The key is to be consistent, motivated, and keep practicing because some concepts can get tricky in the long run.

You can find learning materials on the web as a soft copy or find a book by asking professionals for recommendations. Hands-on experience is also important; hence, you need a computer to help practice the codes. The fastest and most effective way to acquire the skills in cryptography is to do it yourself.

You can set aside the time that works for you and practice whenever you are free. First, you need basic information in Mathematics and IT. Surprisingly, knowing elementary math like algebra and probability can go a long way to make you a professional cryptographer.

To be a step ahead, you can learn a programming language, preferably, Python, because it is the easiest and most popular one. Additionally, you should know how to apply the skill, acquire a PC and do a lot of practice.

Encrypting and decrypting data needs a sender and a recipient. Hence, the technical expertise will be more helpful for you besides the theoretical part of it. The best cryptographers started by first obtaining a degree in IT, computer science, mathematics, or other related areas.

The terms of employment may differ, but some companies can go further to ask for a Master’s in the fields. Employers believe that the curriculum in these courses provides all basics you need in cryptography. They may also require you to be versed with current affairs such as cybercrime and security to understand how to apply what you have learned. As a professional cryptographer or cryptanalyst, you need to have the required skill sets to deal with algorithms and complex mathematical problems.

You need analytical knowledge of principles such as number theory and linear algebra and execute them in the design and decryption of powerful encrypted data. Secondly, you need technical skills in writing algorithms using programming languages like Python or Java because you will use them in writing codes.

Lastly, like in any other profession, you need great communication skills, written and verbal. At some point, you will communicate with your team members and collectively develop solutions to the present problems. It may also work in your favor to be fluent in another language when dealing with foreign clients or obtaining information from a foreign source.  

Can You Learn Cryptography on Your Own?

With the continuous advancements in technology worldwide, people are becoming more cautious about their data security. Consequently, individuals who worry about their data safety feel the need to study this technology by enrolling in online or physical classes. Some people find it difficult to take up classes because they are too preoccupied with work or family. 

You can self-train and comfortably manage learning cryptography on your own, but it requires dedication and sacrifice. Essentially, it isn’t as simple as other theoretical subjects, but you can find all the relevant resources in soft or hard copy to learn without the need to enroll in a program.

Cryptology isn’t for the faint-hearted; it will require you to read tons of complex mathematics and a lot of history. Therefore, you may need to scour the internet to find the particular websites that lead to what to do and how to become a guru in this field. You can also visit your nearest library to grab a few books and probably consult with veteran cryptologists.

Once you get acquainted with mathematical fundamentals and all that you need to get started, you will begin by creating and breaking ciphers. Next, continue making and breaking complex ciphers. Doing it progressively and repeatedly will enable you to build better and more reliable encryption. Applicable codes have to be very secure and reliable and should undergo professional testing before implementation. Additionally, it has to run smoothly in any hardware.

You can get started with the basic codes as you advance and sharpen your expertise if you have a strong interest to learn Cryptanalysis. The Caesar Cipher is the most basic coding system that a beginner can start building and breaking.

Once you are good at it, you can proceed to Vigenere. Enigma, Apollo Program, and Purple Cipher are the commonly used protocols in the present technology. For instance, Enigma can help you learn and enhance your understanding of security commands.


There are several benefits to garner as a cryptographist. The salary is attractive, and you get a competitive advantage over your peers. It isn’t a hard course, especially if you have a background in mathematics or computer science. With these subjects, you can easily grapple with the information and apply them accordingly to solve problems.

It will only take you less than two years or as little as six months to be a certified cryptanalyst. The good thing is that there is a lot of information on the web and in books to get you started, and all you need to do is create time and commit to seeing everything through. Go ahead and sign up for online or physical classes, and we guarantee that you will reap a big from the skills.

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