The Average Salary of a Cryptographer

by Wilhelm Schnotz; Updated September 26, 2017

With virtually all industries relying upon digitally stored data, it’s increasingly important for organizations to be able to securely store that data and have means of verifying that transmitted data wasn’t manipulated in transit. Cryptographers provide those services to companies, helping develop algorithms and other processes to encode and verify data of all types.

Average Salary

Cryptographers may expect to earn average salaries that vary between $80,000 and $90,000 annually as of January 2011, according to StateUniversity.com and KayCircle.com. Cryptanalysts who work for the federal government receive average annual earnings of $101,645 as of March 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Salaries Around the Country

Although federal positions pay high salaries for cryptanalysts, the average annual salary for cryptographers around the country is significantly lower than the median reported for nationwide averages. Cryptographers who work in Chicago earn some of the highest salaries in the nation, $83,979 annually as of January 2011, according to SalaryExpert.com. Those in Charlotte, North Carolina, also earn some of the largest salaries, $78,568. Cryptographers in Houston and Dallas are among the least compensated in the nation, with both cities reporting average annual salaries of $60,238.

Education and Training

Although cryptography is most closely related to pure mathematics, it’s a multidimensional practice that also calls on elements of computer science and engineering. Because of this, many cryptographers hold a doctorate in cryptography, though have a foundation in computer science or mathematics, according to StateUniversity.com. Many cryptographers hold formal training in mathematics or applied mathematics, according to the BLS.

Comparison to All Mathematician Salaries

Cryptographers’ salaries are typically comparable to those of other mathematicians. The median income for mathematicians is $95,150 as of May 2009, according to the BLS, and 50 percent of all mathematicians earned between $71,430 and $119,480 per year. The field is still a relatively small one, however, with only 2,900 working nationwide as mathematicians of all types as of 2009.

2016 Salary Information for Mathematicians

Mathematicians earned a median annual salary of $105,810 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, mathematicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $72,440, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $129,730, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,100 people were employed in the U.S. as mathematicians.

About the Author

Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.