Cryptography is an integral part of keeping data secure. That makes it a valued career and one that pays well if you put in the time and effort to succeed in it.
This article will discuss how much cryptographers earn and explore what external factors contribute to their overall salary. It will also look at how to advance your career as a cryptographer.
But first, what is the average cryptographer’s salary?
Cryptography is an incredibly demanding career. Cracking data codes takes time, dedication, and skill. For that reason, a cryptographer’s salary is reasonably high, even when you take an average across various states.
The average cryptographer’s salary varies between $125,000 and 145,000. This translates to an hourly rate of approximately $60 an hour.
However, it’s important to remember that the mean cryptographer salary is unlikely to be the kind of income anyone earns in their first job.
That said, a cryptographer’s salary is still significant. Many entry-level cryptographer salaries hover around $87,000 per annum. This excludes possible bonuses, which can be as much as $4,763.
The equivalent hourly rate is roughly $44.62.
Keep in mind that how much your cryptographer salary is in an entry-level job may also be affected by:
The more experience you have, the more you earn as a cryptographer since your expertise increases proportionate to the time you spend in cryptography.
But it’s also because you accrue more qualifications, like certificates or postgraduate degrees, which make you more qualified to do your work.
Senior cryptographers earn anywhere from $155,000 to $165,000 annually, depending on where they work. Senior cryptographers are typically people with eight years of experience or more.
The timeframe may vary, but this usually means that you earn a cryptographer’s mean salary with equivalent bonuses after four years of work. But it’s worth remembering that this depends
on a variety of factors.
Location is especially important when talking about cryptographer salaries because not all areas have the same job opportunities as others.
For that reason, if you want to earn an above-average cryptographer salary, it may be necessary to move for work. Some of the cities with the highest per annum cryptographer salaries are:
As discussed, location plays a significant part in cryptographer salary rates. Depending on the state, opportunities for cryptographers either to start or advance their careers. Based on research, the five states with the highest cryptographer salaries are:
Other states that offer high cryptographer salaries include:
How a cryptographer’s salary compares to other cybersecurity salaries depends on where you are looking for work.
But it also depends on the job. For instance, entry-level cryptographers compare favorably with security analysts. The average entry-level salary for a cryptographer, at $87,000, is marginally higher than the security analyst’s $81,000 a year.
However, this is a minor discrepancy. The difference in earnings is more apparent when compared to a cryptographer’s salary with that of a Security analyst, who earns $76,000 a year.
Conversely, security architects and engineers both earn more than cryptographers. The annual salary for security engineers is $104,000, while security architects earn $125,000.
Note that this doesn’t take into account possible bonuses or mean earnings.
So, that’s how much you can expect to earn as a cryptographer, but how do you advance your career? And how do you gain the experience to make career advancement possible?
Because cryptography requires such a specialized skill set, one of the major contributing factors is education. While some careers allow people to enter without a complete high school certificate, cryptography isn’t one of them.
52% of cryptographers have a bachelor’s degree in relevant subjects, like:
A further 29% hold a Masters or graduate degree in a related field. And 19% of cryptographers have a doctorate.
While the postgraduate study isn’t essential, it’s an effective way to advance your career as a cryptographer and earn a higher cryptographer’s salary.
However, you need to balance the increased salary against the time and expense further education requires.
As with any job, it’s possible to pick up certain skills after being hired. But because the skill set required for cryptography is highly specialized, sometimes it’s easier to accrue those skills before applying for a new role. These include things like fluency in:
Many of the pertinent hard skills can be picked up through courses either online or in classroom settings.
Various certifications can also help advance your career. These will give you additional skills without the strenuous time commitment demanded by graduate-level coursework. These certificates include qualifications for:
Finally, the best way to move from a cryptographer’s starter salary to something higher-paying is by knowing where to look for job opportunities.
Cryptography is a career that continues to project strong growth and career advancement. Estimates of America’s projected intake of new cryptographers between now and 2030 average approximately 13%.
Not only that, but the possibility for a salary increase as a cryptographer is approximately 18% in the first five years.
However, realizing that potential involves knowing where your next job will come from. This is particularly important since the way people’s careers advance has changed dramatically in the last 20 to 30 years. It’s now extremely uncommon to stay in one job long-term, even if you never change careers.
Popular and well-paid jobs that allow for an increase in a cryptographer’s salary include work with:
But not all cryptographers want to work on a national scale, and they don’t have to. It’s also possible to advance your career as a cryptographer working in the private sector for companies like:
If you have the aptitude for it, cryptography offers an excellent starter salary and ample opportunity to advance your career.
You’ll need to keep up-to-date on relevant skills and possibly consider getting a graduate degree, but it’s more than possible to make a living as a cryptographer.
That said, remember that not all parts of the country offer the same opportunities in cryptography as others. You’ll also have to decide if you want to work for the government or in the private sector. Above all else, you must enjoy the work you do.