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Cryptology as a Career

This feature is an attempt by ParentEdge to bring not-verywell- known professions into the spotlight. We do hope that you will take the research further with your children.

The word Cryptology conjures up visions of geeks furtively poring over reams of paper, trying to decode the enemy’s intercepted message, or perhaps Dan Brown’s brilliant resurrection of Leonardo da Vinci’s encryption techniques in ‘The Da Vinci Code.’
While cryptology continues to be applied in intelligence services (and no doubt, by secret societies), today it has a wider application in e-commerce, network security, authentication of electronic signatures and encryption for email. At the core of cryptology lies the basic principle of encoding and decoding information, for the purpose of security.

Getting the Semantics right!
Cryptology involves encrypting (cryptography) and decrypting (cryptanalysis) data. Decrypting is different from deciphering. In the latter, the code is at hand, and what is left is decoding. Decrypting involves unraveling the code itself!

With increased usage of the internet in a connected world, vast amounts of information are stored, processed and transmitted through communication networks that are susceptible to attack.This is why protection, in the form of encrypted access or passwords, is critical to any information system. And as more and more personal and financial information is ‘up in the air’ – credit card numbers, bank account data, identity numbers – the need for cryptographers is bound to amplify. Thus, in the 21st century, when you look for a cryptologist, you are likely to find them outside the NSA (or closer home, the DRDO or NTRO).

WHAT MAKES a good cryptologist? Maths geeks, take heart!
Not surprisingly, mathematics is at the heart of cryptology. A sound mathematics foundation is a must for aspiring cryptologists. While the science of cryptology is at the intersection of mathematics, engineering and computer science (both hardware and software), most professionals in the field agree that while the technicalities can be taught, a grounding in pure mathematics is what will stand a cryptologist in good stead – a sound knowledge of number theory, group theory, combinatory logic, complexity theory, probability and information theory.
Superior problem solving skills, a capacity for hard work and high alertness are other things that definitely count. A tendency to look for loopholes or weaknesses in systems and actual experience at hacking (the harmless variety, needless to say) are other characteristics typical of cryptologists.

Where cryptologists work
Military Forces Government Agencies Technology Companies Banking and Financial Organisations Law Enforcement Agencies Universities Research Institutions.

How DOES ONE become a cryptologist?
Cryptology is a specialised field and typically you can pursue a degree in cryptology at a post graduate or master’s level. However, with the increased emphasis on cyber security, many engineering (B. Tech. and B.E) curricula have introduced cryptology courses.
If your child is keen on taking up cryptology at the undergraduate level, you will need to explore options outside the country. There appear to be very few programs at an undergrad level that specialise in Cryptology. ParentEdge found one offered by Santa Clara University, USA and another at University of Calgary, Canada.
For post-graduate level studies, one institution stands out in terms of the focus on the subject:
M.Tech. in Cybersecurity at the Amrita Centre for Cybersecurity
Eligibility: B.E./B. Tech. in CSE/IT/ECE or equivalent with a minimum of 60% in the entrance test. Candidates with valid GATE scores are exempted from the entrance test.
Selection will be based on performance in the entrance test, interview and academic merit. Candidates with valid GATE scores are exempted from the entrance test.
For Further Details:
E-mail: admissions@amrita.edu
Phone: (0422) 26564


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