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Programs Quantum Cryptology vs. Cryptology

  1. Dec 26, 2017 #1
    I'm a 17 yo high school student, and my country has this system where you take a "strand" leaning towards your future career in the last two years of high school, so mine is STEM.

    I'm planning on taking mathematics and maybe a CS minor in college, because I want to become a cryptologist, but there's a lot of talk about how quantum computing is gonna break encryption today, and I'm wondering if this is enough of a threat in the next 20 years or so that I should consider taking up physics instead, which I also really love. Or are news articles simply blowing it out of proportion?

    Granted, I'm not quite sure about anything about quantum cryptology, and I don't know just how relevant math/CS would still be.

    I really need some advice.


    PS: I actually originally wanted to take up physics, but I don't think I have much of a shot considering how competitive the field is, and I'm not sure if a career in research is what I want.
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  3. Dec 26, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Gonna is not a word.

    I';m afraid there's no way to predict the future - in any field a disruptive technology can come along, and maybe not even the disruptive technology you are thinking of.
  4. Dec 26, 2017 #3


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    It is good to take a "strand" leaning towards your future career but in my opinion you must try to incorporate as many things as criteria for this strand, as you can. In other words, you must have some deeper well-established reasons in order to follow a path / career. These cannot be obvious right now as you are in high school, so my advice is to pick things that are of most interest to you and take also into account the factor of flexibility. Take note that as you proceed you'll encounter many interesting things so the most important thing is to create a good plan that can accommodate changes to your advantage as time goes by or put more simply, don't hasten for each and every thing that you really don't have to.

    Do you really love CS? You maybe don't know this for sure right now but are you willing to spend your time / efforts pursuing it? It is not bad at all that you like cryptology but have you any other more general and deeper reason for pursuing CS? Even if you don't, why cryptology is what you want to do as a career? Are you really interested in this which - would be perfect, or is it that it just got you fascinated as another fashionable "catchy" thing in the context of quantum cryptology? This is not an offensive comment neither for you nor for your choice or the subject of cryptology itself and I want to be crystal clear on this. What I want to focus on is to take as many factors as you can into account regarding your future career and let time give you the opportunity to make more specific choices.

    Finally, two things: whatever career you choose - it maybe Physics as you mention and it would be a great choice in my opinion, "competitive" is not something to discourage you. Whatever choice you do, it will inevitably be competitive in the times we live and rather way more in the future so what is required is to love the subject and do your best regarding time spent and real efforts put. Second as Vanadium 50 points out, there's no way to predict the future either for quantum cryptology breaking today's encryption technology / schemes or for a whole lot of other things as well.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  5. Dec 26, 2017 #4
    I do have deep-seated reasons for choosing cryptology. I really believe in its importance, and I *might* be able to use foreign languages (I like to study languages too) depending on the line of work I'll get into, among many other things, but you're right that I shouldn't be so specific since I'm still very young.

    You're right about the competition, too. I'm sorry for the vagueness. I had some really bad experiences last year with physics, primarily because of the teacher I had, and it really took a toll on my self-esteem. I said I'd never touch a physics textbook again, but it's hard to turn your back on something you were so passionate about.
  6. Dec 26, 2017 #5


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    If quantum computers break the encryption schemes currently in use then the world will switch to other encryption schemes - some of them are hard for quantum computers as well.

    I don't expect home computers to use quantum encryption in the near future, so classical encryption will probably stay relevant for quite some time. Enough time to learn about quantum encryption, if necessary?
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