What classes do I need to major in Cryptography?

  1. What classes do I need to major in Cryptography?
  2. jcsd
  3. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    I would say as much math as you can digest.
  4. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    You can't 'major' in cryptography for the same reason you can't major in herpetology (study of snakes): Both are very narrow fields of study within some broader discipline. Your major has to be in that broader discipline. To become a herpetologist you need to major in biology and specialize in herpetology.

    To become a cryptographer you need to major in mathematics, computer science, or information technology and specialize in cryptology. As cryptology is a rather specialized field you will need an advanced degree to become a cryptologist. Your undergraduate degree is almost certainly not going to cover crypto to any extent. That first degree will give you the basic education needed to go after that advanced degree.
  5. I agree with you in spirit, but not in practice. Plenty of people go into cryptography with a B.S. , although most took higher-level math classes as undergraduates. Some of the best cryptographers are musicians and don't have a math degree of any kind... imagine that.
  6. How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    How do I specialize in Cryptography?
  7. Re: How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    Get a maths degree and a Maths PhD - don't do anything (or anyone) that would make you fail a security clearance!

    How old are you? What level of education, what kind of crypto do you want to do?
  8. lisab

    lisab 3,188
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  9. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    Moderator's note -- two threads merged. Please do not start multiple threads on the same subject. Thanks.
  10. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    Good advice. To obtain a TS/Crypto means you will have to submit reams of paperwork detailing your life, go through multiple interviews, and then wait, wait, wait while the government investigates you backward, forwards, and sideways. Your sexual persuasion and sexual proclivities are not going to be of particular interest -- up to the point they find that you are doing something illegal or are trying to hide something. Trying to hide something is the ultimate sin. It doesn't matter whether than something is your secret mistress, your secret same sex partner, or something completely non-sexual such as secretly spending your Saturdays at the track and openly spending your Sundays in the strictest of churches. That you are trying to hide something means you are a severe risk.
  11. Re: How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    Dealing with Crypto-anything for the USG also means passing multiple polygraph examinations before you're allowed anywhere near the subject in an official capacity. Things like illegal drugs and alcoholism as well as financial issues have their importance magnified significantly in a TS/SCI-Poly clearance.
  12. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    I had my suspicions that crypto work would require passing polygraphs, but as I wasn't sure I didn't say anything about that.

    Anything that might put a person at risk of being bribed by a foreign agent represents a problem regarding those high-level, highly compartmentalized clearances. Anything that might indicate a propensity to go unhinged and possibly blurt out secrets to the public at is also highly problematic. Anything that might indicate a propensity to become a future Phil Zimmermann is, I assume, also viewed as highly problematic nowadays.
  13. Very informative thread. A lot of people do not take the security clearance into consideration at first thought.

    To the O.P.: As its been said, I don't think that you can major in cryptography. The closest thing would be to do your undergrad in math, or CS and than go into a Ph.D program where you can do your dissertation on Cryptography. I've been giving some thought to cryptography and cryptanalysis lately and this seems to be the generally accept way to get into such a career. I know someone (a CS major in undergrad with a MA in math) that went to work for the government, although he's never told me exactly what he does. So, in some cases you may not need a Ph.D. The other side of that coin being that I've never heard an undergraduate course in cryptography -- only graduate courses.
  14. Georgetown University (the "Ivy League" of Catholic Schools) offers a course in cryptography. And, I'm not familiar with majors in cryptography, or why they'd exist. The purpose of undergraduate majors, in my opinion, are to broaden your scope in a general field. Specialization comes later, dudes et dudettes!
  15. Bipolarity, that looks like an awesome website!

    Is it like a variance of Khan Academy?
  16. Khan Academy is older and is broader but is at the high school level generally since it is taught by a single man.

    Udacity focuses on computer science, and is taught by specialists. Most of the teachers are university professors, and it gives homework/final exams, so I would argue it's even better than the Khan Academy.

    Also, try www.coursera.org


    Thank you so much.

    I'm starting with Udacity's beginning Computer Science course. I can't wait to get to their cryptography course.

    I enrolled in Coursera's Vaccines course. I can't wait...

    Oh, and are you aware of MIT Open Course Ware?

    It's no where as cool as Coursera or Udacity, but it offers MIT course lectures, which is something good, in my opinion.
  18. I am aware of MIT OCW, but find it inferior to Udacity/Coursera, but that's only because it's much older (OCW came out in 2000).

    This thread has been derailed, and seems the OP is not posting, so I expect a moderator will lock it soon.

  19. Re: How do I specialize in Cryptography?

    What proportion of Cryptography jobs are for governments? I would think the private sector would be a much larger employer.
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