If you're looking to earn a tidy sum of money, and have a career that is steeped in clandestine activity, top secret goings-on, and classified projects, then look no further than the world of cryptology. Say what? Yes, we know: it's not exactly the sort of terminology you hear every day. What, exactly, does working as a cryptologist entail? We could make a joke about how we could tell you, but then we would have to kill you. But we won't! Instead, here's the lowdown on a job that could, literally, save the world.
The art of cryptology
Cryptology is the art of making and breaking codes. And those with a flair for it are highly-prized by agencies of government, such as the United States' National Security Agency, and the UK's Cheltenham-based Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). During World War II, making a living as a cryptologist revolved around intercepting coded messages prepared by Adolf Hitler's military. More often than not, those messages were designed to inform the Nazi war-machine of how, and when, attacks on the UK and the rest of Europe would occur. When the messages were deciphered, the next step was to act on them. Quickly. It was much the same during the Cold War when the Soviets became the next threat. Not so now.
Cryptology and computers
Decades ago, codes messages were delivered by courier, phone and, sometimes, even carrier-pigeons! Today, in an era in which all-things of an Internet-based nature dominate our lives, things are very different. For the cryptologist of the 21st century, earning a crust can involve cracking the password to the private email account of a suspected terrorist, unscrambling a coded message sent via satellite from one power-crazed dictator to another, or ensuring the most guarded secrets of your own agency are protected from the enemy's cryptologists. In other words, cryptology is, quite literally, a make or break art.
A password to success
Much like being a footballer, an actor, or an artist, working as a cryptologist is something a person is born to do. Yes, it's a profession that can be taught - to a degree, at least. But, it's also a field in which the prospective candidate already has an innate flair for the likes of completing a crossword in rapid-fire time, solving complex anagrams, and having excellent memory skills. If that's you, and you think you really do have what it takes to be a leading figure in the elite world of cryptology, what can you expect to earn?
Earning from eavesdropping
Today, a trained cryptologist, working full-time in the UK as both a creator and cracker of codes, can expect to pick up a yearly salary somewhere in the region of £32,000 per year. In the United States, however, it's significantly higher. The average income of a cryptographer is around the $100,000 mark, or roughly £63,000. If you believe you've got the skills to pry, probe and figure out the secrets of the bad guys, why not give it a try? Or, as they say in the land of cryptology: xzy6753p-+=%&=/"kkQ?