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Cryptanalysis is one of the core technical disciplines necessary for the NSA to accomplish its mission and provide critical intelligence to the nation's leaders. In an ever-changing global environment, the need for Cryptanalysts will remain constant.
Traditionally, Cryptanalysis is the art and science of solving cryptograms (writings in cipher or code) or cryptographic systems (devices for enciphering and deciphering) through analysis without prior knowledge of the encryption method. In a code, a word or phrase is replaced with another word, number, or symbol. In a cipher, each letter is replaced with another letter, number or symbol. Using known techniques and imagination, a Cryptanalyst systematically identifies basic elements in a cipher code that may lead to its solution. Modern Cryptanalysis includes analysis of any type of hidden information, whether a traditional cipher or a telecommunication protocol.
ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS:
Cryptanalysts utilize mathematics, computer programming, engineering, and language skills as well as new technologies and creativity to solve tomorrow's problems today. That's why the NSA is looking for people who are intelligent and imaginative, and who can contribute original ideas to the solution of complex challenges. Cryptanalysts must communicate clearly, concentrate long and hard on difficult problems, and not be discouraged if success is elusive. No specific major is targeted for Cryptanalysis; the NSA hires people with technical and non-technical degrees, ranging from mathematics to music, engineering to history, and computer programming to chemistry.
LEARNING THAT NEVER ENDS:
Extensive in-house classroom and on-the-job training is offered to both new hires and experienced employees as part of their continuing career development. Applicants for Cryptanalysis are placed in the Cryptanalysis Intern Program (CAIP), which is designed to produce professional Cryptanalysts. CAIP participants attend formal classes, receive technical training from experienced Cryptanalysts, and rotate to various job assignments throughout the NSA. Job-related courses at local universities and through private industry are funded; some employees qualify for programs, which provide for part-time or full-time college study, while continuing to receive a full salary.
WHERE YOU GO FROM HERE:
Cryptanalysts can stay within the Cryptanalysis career field or branch out into other skill fields. Some cryptanalysts also choose to develop skills and receive professional certifications in other technical disciplines, such as intelligence analysis, computer science, or information security. With ongoing training and experience, the cryptanalyst can progress to the highest levels of the NSA employment in either management or technical positions. And the NSA's high power workstations and supercomputers allow its cryptanalysts to develop many of their own hardware and software tools for analytic tasks.
[To apply for this program, click on Apply Online and select View Job Posting/Apply for Job. Under Job Categories select Cryptanalysis and click on the Search button. Add Cryptanalysis to Job Basket and click on Apply for Jobs in Basket. Follow directions as prompted.]
U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. A security clearance must be granted prior to employment and you will be required to undergo extensive pre-employment processing. This includes: aptitude testing; an interview with a psychologist and a security interview conducted with the aid of a polygraph; and a personnel interview. The final stage of processing will be successful completion of a background investigation.
Reasonable accommodations provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph.
The NSA is committed to cultural diversity in its workplace.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer
About National Security Agency
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a world leader in Signals Intelligence. We carry out some of the nation’s most important and sensitive intelligence activities to secure information superiority for America and its allies.
We have two primary missions. Our Information Assurance mission is the defense: it protects U.S. information by preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to our information systems. Our Signals Intelligence mission is the offense: collecting foreign signals and producing intelligence to give U.S. policy makers and warfighters the decision advantage. NSA also enables network warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
At the nation’s top cryptologic organization, we employ the best and the brightest, who use their intelligence to solve some of the nation’s most difficult challenges. We are also the largest employer of mathematicians in the country, as well as one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research.