our everyday life

How to Become an NSA Code Breaker

by Nathan McGinty, studioD

National Security Agency (NSA) code breakers work in a number of different fields. Signals Analysts work as code breakers by deciphering received or monitored messages while cryptologists work as code breakers as well as encrypters, trying to come up with an unbreakable code for the transmission of friendly signals. The NSA keeps a list of current job openings on their website, and has simplified the application for becoming a code breaker by accepting online applications.

Become a United States citizen if you are not one already. The NSA only takes applicants who are current U.S. citizens. If you are not a current U.S. citizen, try to find similar work with another agency to gain experience while applying for your U.S. citizenship.

Attend college and complete at least a bachelor's degree. College admission also requires that you have a high school diploma or GED. The NSA hires candidates with various bachelor degree subjects, but some of the majors that they typically recruit from are those in mathematics or computer science.

Join the United States Armed Forces. The NSA offers a career track for candidates looking to transition out of the military. Joining the Armed Forces can also help you shorten the time period it takes to become a U.S. citizen, if needed.

Obtain a position at another federal government agency. As with the armed forces, the NSA offers transitioning careers for people who are already working for the federal government.

Browse the NSA website for any code breaking job opportunities. These are typically listed under the job listings for Cryptanalysis/Signals Analysis or the Computer Science openings.

Create a resume of your work experience using the Resume Builder at the NSA web site. List your work experience, taking care to make sure that you highlight any of your skills or abilities that might be relevant to a position as a code breaker.


  • Use the "Resume Supplemental Details" field.


  • Do not call the NSA to check on the status of your resume. They will review your application and get back to you if they think you are a good fit with the agency.

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.