Why Become a Blockchain Developer
Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technologies ever known. However, much of that growth has happened “in the background”, as its development matures and the number of applications increases. A large number of developers will be needed to bring this game-changing technology to the masses, which creates an opportunity for those willing to transition their dev knowledge and skill-set to a decentralized system.
As Roberto Capodieci, the Founder and CEO of Blockchain Zoo mentions, it is not easy “to shift from normal coding to coding for decentralized systems”, as it needs a shift in mindset as well as coding language, to implement solutions in a decentralized manner. Having said that, for those making this transition, the possibilities are huge. It’s not rare to hear stories of blockchain devs getting paid over US $1,000 per hour.
What Are the Skills of a Blockchain Developer?
For developers implementing solutions in a decentralized system, there are a few skills they need to succeed in this industry. One of the most important ones is being able to understand how data flow is different between a decentralized system, where something is broadcasted to the network, compared to a client server solution, where data can be kept secret and then processed in a centralized server. Additionally, it’s a fast-moving landscape, so an ability to adapt will be very rewarding for developers.
To get a better understanding of the real world applications – and inner workings – of various blockchains, it’s a good idea to spend plenty of time researching the whole market, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and many other live product solutions. Additionally, having a solid grasp of cryptography will go a long way, since it’s needed to develop a blockchain’s code. This will make you even more valuable.
Learning the basics:
- Bitcoin – One of the most common programming languages, with a relatively easy learning curve, C++ was actually the language used to create Bitcoin
Next steps, to stand out:
It’s important to have a clear understanding of dev concepts like Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and Fragmentation. Like web development, decentralized applications (DApps) typically have two parts – the front end and back end. The former is similar to a webdev stack using languages like CSS, HTML and AngularJS.
The back end is the one involving blockchain, so developers working there will need a solid understanding of smart contracts. Some of the most recommended coding languages for back end devs are Mutan (like Go), Serpent (like Python) and Solidity.
What Are the Types of Blockchain Developers?
Something else to take into account are the different types of blockchain developers. For starters, a blockchain dev does not usually ‘build a blockchain’, but instead helps build DApps. This is similar to web developers, the majority of whom build web applications (as opposed to working on the browsers). There are a few core infrastructure jobs out there, but they are much less common or beginner-friendly.
- Blockchain Integration APIs Design & Development
- Performance Testing & Deployment
- Technical Support
- DApps Development & Maintenance
- Smart Contracts Audit & Development
- Smart Contract Business Flow & Security Checkups
- End-to-end Business Process Testing
More managerial roles:
- Blockchain Projects Supervision & Planning
- ICO Company Advisory
- Project management
What is the Current Demand for Blockchain Developers?
Currently, people capable of implementing the core aspect of a blockchain are quite expensive, and even more rare to find. As an industry, blockchain just had its 11th birthday in October of 2019 with the release of the Bitcoin white paper. However, there is still a lot of room for growth and development in this groundbreaking technology, as more and more companies continue exploring its many possibilities.
This is great news for blockchain developers, as reports from job marketplaces like Hired – a San Francisco firm that helps recruit tech candidates – recently revealed that industry demand has grown by over 500% within a year. That same report found that blockchain development skills were ranked in the top three global job openings.
What Are the Challenges & Trends?
Blockchain is not without its powerful detractors, from governments to financial firms, like JPMorgan Chase. This was especially true in early 2018, when governing bodies and big banks came out against blockchain’s most famous application – cryptocurrencies. Then, within 18 months, countries like China, Japan, Russia and Sweden had announced plans to roll out their own digital currencies.
Meanwhile, major banks like HSBC, Bank of England, Deutsche Bank started moving forward with the technology. Even long-time “industry enemy” JPMorgan Chase has reverted its negative stance towards the technology, stating in 2019, “just as the internet upended how we share information, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize how we exchange value, transfer ownership, and verify transactions.”
Even investment institutions see the potential for it, with articles comparing the current state of blockchain to the internet’s early days, saying “it is quite rare that a new technology transforms the world so significantly that people can’t imagine life without it… blockchain technology is not only here to stay, but could be a major disrupter in the way companies do business — possibly even larger than the internet.” (Investors.com). This gives way for developers to jump on this opportunity.
What Is the Expected Salary of a Developer?
Probably the best news for those entering the market is that, thanks to the growing landscape of blockchain, mixed with a general lack of expertise, the average wage for blockchain developers range between $150,000 and $175,000 (according to Hired). This is 20-30% higher than what software developers typical earn, putting them on par with some of the top earners, like artificial intelligence (AI) developers.
The possibilities are nearly limitless for blockchain developers to flex their new skills – while filling their (decentralized) bank accounts – as virtually every industry can gain from applying the benefits of immutable, online distributed ledgers to its processes. From music, gaming and adult entertainment, to health, sports and politics, the 2020’s will likely be known as the best decade to enter this quickly expanding world.