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United States Intelligence Community

October 30, 2007

Cryptanalysis is a core technical discipline within the Intelligence Community (IC). Cryptology involves deciphering coded messages without prior knowledge of the encryption method. “Code breakers”, as they are known by laypersons, utilize mathematics, computer programming, engineering, and language skills as well as new technologies and creativity to solve tomorrow’s problems today.

Skills and Knowledge Required

Cryptanalysts typically possess knowledge of geography, English, history and archeology, philosophy and theology, foreign language, mathematics, and computers and electronics. General skill areas include speaking, critical thinking, active learning, social perceptiveness, reading comprehension, writing, complex problem solving, and mathematics. For a more complete description of skill and knowledge requirements, please review the job vacancy announcements posted on Community members’ websites.

Required Education, Licenses, and Certifications

Intelligence Community agencies typically prefer applicants for Cryptanalyst positions to have a Bachelor’s or more advanced degree. Common backgrounds include mathematics, computer programming, engineering, or foreign language. However, no specific major is targeted for Cryptanalysis; people with technical and non-technical degrees are hired.

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