Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt and reshape the way we do business. The technology is versatile, offering benefits ranging from increased operational efficiency to decreased costs. Consequently, blockchain’s applications are diverse, spanning many industries – from financial services and supply chain management to healthcare and identity management.
The list of organizations taking advantage of blockchain’s potential continues to grow. Some are hiring blockchain developers in-house, some outsource their projects to the top blockchain development companies. So it’s no surprise that this technology is poised to enhance more than 40 million jobs globally by 2030, according to PwC’s “Time for trust” report.
Why is demand for blockchain developers growing?
Experts at KPMG say that the main reason for the sudden growth in demand for blockchain developers is that many major enterprise projects have reached a maturity stage by 2020, moving from proofs of concept in 2017 to pilot projects in 2018 and then to production systems in 2019 and 2020.
There’s no doubt that this tech is big, and its growth potential is impressive, but is it relevant to your personal career development? Should you consider becoming a blockchain developer? What do you stand to personally benefit if you master this technology? How difficult is it to learn blockchain technology?
There are two types of people who are seeking to learn more about careers in the blockchain:
- People who are already developers and want to transition into blockchain.
- People who aren’t developers yet are in the process of choosing their career path in the tech world.
This article focuses more on the first group and how software developers can transition into blockchain. We also discuss what changes you can expect in your professional and personal life with this transition by learning essential blockchain developer skills. However, before we go into detail, let’s look at some interesting statistics that will help you understand the current state of blockchain technology careers.
Blockchain’s employment and salary trends
Blockchain developers are now the most sought-after professionals in the programming world. The fluidity of this new technology allows developers to transfer their skills and experience across multiple industries. Only on Glassdoor, the worldwide yearly growth in blockchain job postings was around 300% in 2021. As a result, the demand for blockchain developers constantly increases as more businesses adopt this technology and move from proof of concept to production—this growing need for more specialists and competition for the best talent fuels salary growth.
In 2021, the US-national salary average for blockchain developers was $175,000, compared to the $77,000 average for software developers.
This chart shows blockchain developer salaries (on the higher end) in key countries that offer the most job opportunities in this field.
With the growing demand for remote professionals, their compensation is reaching the level of office-based developers. Remote developers salaries range from $70,000 to $200,000.
Let’s compare this to how much software developers earn. According to U.S. News, in 2021, the median compensation for a software developer was $101,790. The lowest-paid 25% earned $77,710, with the highest-paid 25% taking home $128,960. Remote developers living in North America make $82,727 on average, according to www.weworkremotely.com.
As the demand for blockchain development grows in the next 7-8 years, we can forecast proportional growth in their compensation. While we can also expect 20-25% growth in software developer jobs, the scarcity of talent in blockchain development will continue driving higher salaries than in other tech niches. Why? Because blockchain technology is still relatively new and few educational institutions offer formal degrees in this area, many specialists are self-taught or graduated from top-rated universities, like Stanford.
On the other hand, most big enterprise software development projects are already operational and have achieved equilibrium regarding the number of engineers required for operationalization and maintenance. Blockchain projects that are currently in the pilot stage will need more talent, a broader range of skills, and various experts at each step as the project matures.
The geography of blockchain jobs
While blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are a global phenomenon, there are some countries where the industry is especially developed. The United States is the cradle of the industry, with more than 1,800 blockchain jobs posted every day. The UK has an enormous demand for blockchain engineers related to financial services. At the same time, companies in France and Germany prefer developers and analysts with experience in the insurance and telecom sectors.
The Indian crypto economy is also undergoing unprecedented growth and demonstrates a significant increase in demand for blockchain developers. In India, the presence of remote positions is one of the highest, with 37% of developers working remotely. In comparison, non-blockchain companies have only around 15% of their workforce working outside office locations. Indian blockchain institute published some interesting statistics in 2021 showing the most popular skills and types of companies hiring blockchain developers in India.
Today, with the increasing growth in the remote workforce, blockchain developers can live anywhere in the world while working for a company based across the ocean. Consequently, such flexibility brings unprecedented possibilities to people from emerging economies that can now earn salaries much higher than the average pay in their home countries. These opportunities can fuel emerging economies and improve the quality of life for many people.
Most popular job postings
In the coming decades, blockchain technology will reinvent multiple industries and applications. It creates new jobs for people with varied skill sets, including programming, business, coaching, administration, and many more. There are literally thousands of different careers and jobs you can choose from in the blockchain space.
Blockchain is for everyone
Blockchain isn’t just for coders, builders, and programmers anymore – it’s a whole new world of opportunities. If you’re a seasoned marketer, salesperson, or designer, there are many options for you to grow your career with blockchain.
Blockchain engineering positions have been the most sought-after during the past years. Blockchain engineers are in demand for several reasons, including their ability to create new and innovative technologies that can transform businesses in different industries. Financial companies are particularly interested in finding blockchain developers who can develop new solutions for the banking industry.
However, the most common job in the blockchain market is blockchain development. This job must create practical applications across industries using blockchain technology. That’s why every industry planning to incorporate blockchain protocol requires a developer to think, write, and check the application code.
Blockchain technology isn’t a run-of-the-mill code that developers can copy and apply at the snap of a finger. Developers have to reimagine different systems architecture depending on the company they’re working for. These optimized systems must ensure that the company’s transactions are secure by preventing hacks or changes. Besides, blockchain developers design technologies, create applications and maintain those apps.
Another option is becoming a blockchain architect. In this case, you will be an intermediary between various departments such as developers, UX design, IT operations, and network administration.
Since this article is aimed primarily at software developers wanting to transition to the blockchain industry, your previous experience as a developer will help you cooperate with these departments. You will have to assign different tasks to these divisions and connect the incoming solutions.
If your career as a developer is new, consider moving to Junior Blockchain Developer. This job involves creating API and UI. A junior developer may also dabble in testing, debugging, fixing blockchain apps, and some front-end development.
Top career skills in blockchain
While each job or task in the blockchain is different, some core skills impact your ability to succeed in the industry. These must-haves are vital if you are an aspiring blockchain developer, but they are more than enough if you’re just looking for work in the peripheral blockchain field.
- Cryptography is one of the essential skills for anyone who wants to work in core blockchain. Many concepts, such as public-key cryptography and cryptographic hashing, are prerequisites for a career in blockchain development.
- Smart contract technology is taking the world by storm by making the financial sector faster and reducing negotiation costs. Making contracts into the software can enhance trust and reduce reliance on expensive escrow services or other unnecessary variables. Smart contracts remove intermediaries, speed up transactions, and make operations more efficient. As a blockchain developer, you should be familiar with this concept as well as have an understanding of the most popular smart contract languages, like Solidity, Vyper, and Rust.
- Data structures are the fundamental building blocks of computer science. In addition, they have a significant impact on areas such as security and performance. Each block in a blockchain is one of these data structures that hold data linked to a 32-bit unique number called a nonce. So, no doubt about it, you’ll come across data structures at every turn.
A blockchain developer should have well-honed technical abilities and be very insightful to understand precisely the sort of applications that would best benefit their industries. Besides, a blockchain developer should have knowledge across blockchain domains, from architecture to cryptography and data structure.
In regards to technical skills, blockchain developers should know how to operate:
By contrast, a junior blockchain developer should know at least one programming language very well, although expertise in more is a definite advantage. Another requirement is experience with backend and client-side tools, plus cryptography and Blockchain protocols.
A junior blockchain developer should be highly analytical and solution-oriented in terms of soft skills. Communication and interpersonal abilities are also a must.
How to succeed as a blockchain engineer
Blockchain engineers have the power to change the world. They are brilliant visionaries who can harness their skills and help create a global impact. A blockchain engineer should have enough expertise and experience in blockchain because they should visualize mentally and detail very complex blockchain-related systems.
That means the engineer should grasp how blockchain technologies work and imagine blockchain systems work from creation all the way to describing how those systems work. The blockchain engineer must be able to conceptualize those systems from A to Z and implement them according to system demands. Every blockchain engineer should be able to demonstrate the ability to bring tangible, visible results to the table.
Anyone following this career should have experience as a developer and a deep understanding of blockchain, plus a craving for learning new things. Additionally, these professionals need to understand the economic side of blockchain technology, especially supply and demand.
How to succeed as a blockchain architect
Blockchain architects should have excellent planning and communication skills. Teamwork, insightfulness, and communication are essential soft skills in this job. Additionally, you will need to have some experience in DevOps, data science, and cryptography.
Blockchain architects deal with tough choices continually, assessing which parts of the project are too expensive, risky, or related to non-functional system demands. That’s why an astute blockchain architect should understand the technical area very well and know how to write code.
Compare blockchain architects to building architects who know where different parts and materials go, even if they’re not carpenters, builders, or electricians. In the same way, blockchain architects should understand how to design a blockchain infrastructure.
The languages you should be familiar with include:
- Generic SQL
Your career in blockchain step-by-step
Building a successful career in the blockchain isn’t as challenging if you already have experience as a developer since you already know how to code. Listed below are the steps towards ensuring that your upskilling/job hunting efforts are rewarded:
1. Define your objective and goals
Firstly, you will have to research the market and find the most suitable job for your needs and preferences. Salary, knowledge, and skills are the essential variables you should consider.
Also, think about whether you would prefer to work as an employee or create your blockchain applications as an autonomous business person. If you choose the second option, you will have to acquire independent financing and have additional selling-related skills.
Despite the challenges, you will have an opportunity to build something that can truly impact our world. For example, a project like Farsight, which aims to make voting more transparent and secure, or a decentralized music store featuring up-and-coming musicians who can’t get through the noise on big platforms. You could also create a trusted crowdfunding platform using smart contracts and help meaningful projects get funding.
2. Start learning
After setting your goals, you need to choose suitable courses to educate yourself. If you want to keep working for your current company, check if they offer free upskilling training. Otherwise, you will have to find your own educational resources.
The key areas (additional to the ones we’ve already outlined) to understand are:
- Blockchain architecture to understand how Blockchain functions, from consensus mechanisms to the principles of decentralization and more.
- Business and finance.
Suppose you are a developer familiar with the C# programming language and want to gain a deep understanding of blockchain technology. In that case, you could try starting with the Blockchain – Principles and Practices course by Pluralsight.
3. Attend events and conferences
Events and conferences, like BSV Devcon, help you understand upcoming trends and real-life applications of blockchain. Additionally, you can use these opportunities for networking and showcasing your skills as a developer.
4. Improve programming skills
Even if you’re already a developer and know how to write code, that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Hone your programming abilities by learning a new language or doing a new course. You could start with Solidity, Rust, Vyper, and other smart contract languages as those are essential for starting a career in blockchain. A course like Smart Contracts by the University of Buffalo will help you learn to code, deploy and execute smart contracts.
5. Get certified
Being self-taught is a skill in itself, but if you want more chances of getting a high-paid job in blockchain, having a certification is an advantage. That’s because this piece of paper is undeniable proof attesting to your knowledge and expertise, so the company will have to pay you accordingly from the start. Also, you will have more chances of obtaining a job at companies where having a certification is an essential prerequisite. A certificate, similar to Certified Enterprise Blockchain Professional (CEBP), will allow you to learn blockchain in-depth and become a certified blockchain developer. It will also give you some actionable tools to focus on your transformation.
Now, all you have to do is prepare for your interview to make sure you can showcase your abilities.
Pros and cons of blockchain career
There are numerous advantages of starting a blockchain career, most of which we outlined in the initial sections. Thus, statistics show that the blockchain market is rising, with an expected 40 million jobs worldwide by 2030.
Another benefit is the high salary, regardless of your actual career pursuits in the blockchain industry. For instance, the average junior blockchain developer’s salary is $123,817/year.
Besides, blockchain is a rapidly-growing area, meaning it never gets dull because you have to learn new things and evolve professionally.
Lastly, many industries are trying to implement this emerging technology. So, if you’re particularly interested in a specific domain, you have the chance of working in it. For example:
Blockchain for banks and the financial industry
Banks can use the blockchain to move money worldwide faster and cheaper than ever before. The technology allows banks to use an immutable, transparent, distributed ledger that helps reduce settlement times – where cash is transferred between financial institutions – from days to minutes. Blockchain technology accelerates transactions, removes middlemen, reduces human error, and ensures risk-free operations.
Blockchain for the food and beverage industry
Did you know that food scandals and outbreaks in the food industry cost billions of dollars annually? For example, more than 23 million people fall ill from eating contaminated food every year, resulting in 5000 deaths. By tracking food with blockchain tech, companies will know where their products come from, who handled them along the way, when and what happened to them.
The food industry can use blockchain to monitor products’ routes and thus, identify contaminated items, track the origin of products, help small farmers get their products to the market faster and cheaper, and much more.
Blockchain and healthcare
As healthcare moves increasingly toward cloud-based systems, the need for a secure patient record is becoming more and more critical. Healthcare providers can successfully use blockchain to store patients’ files. This highly secure technology ensures that providers and patients can keep their files accurate, available at all times, and immune to hacking. Patients will have reliable access to their own medical history, preventing forged records.
Blockchain and small and medium businesses
Businesses can leverage smart contracts to ensure that their partners or suppliers follow the agreed-upon terms. Instead of each party signing an agreement and sending it back and forth, both parties get to deposit their respective portions of the agreement into a shared, secure smart contract. Thus, there’s no need for additional paperwork or going through a notary/attorney.
Blockchain in supply chains
Blockchain is a game-changer for supply chains. It means you’ll always be able to know exactly where your products come from and where they’ve been. This technology ensures the transparency of the supply chain and allows end customers to make well-informed decisions. It can help companies take complete control of their products at every stage, from raw materials to delivery. Moreover, blockchain-enabled traceability allows identifying trustworthy suppliers or finding alternative suppliers fast.
Cons of blockchain career
While there are several benefits to blockchain technology, it also has some significant drawbacks. For example, implementation costs are high, and many companies struggle with them. Also, each customer/partner would need to install their own network for validation which is redundant and inefficient. There is also a concern around security, as losing the private keys will make it hard to recover information stored on the blockchain. Several projects, like Solana, are currently working on cost-effective and scalable ways to speed up blockchain adoption. However, not all industries are ready to implement innovative solutions that they are unfamiliar with.
Lastly, the number of operations you’ll need to do increases with the number of users. As a result, the space a company needs for information storage may overcome the capacity of the hard disks.
Always look for a job at a reputable company with enough funds to cover the cost of blockchain technology. Ideally, this company should have successfully implemented blockchain for some time, and this strategy brought it increased ROI.
Alternatively, you can create specific blockchain solutions as a freelancer and sell these to different companies. In this case, the degree of uncertainty is higher at first, but your business should become more lucrative once you’ve established your reputation in the field.
Outsiders call it ‘the blockchain.’ We call it the future of business. The blockchain will transform business in the way that the Internet did in the 90s. By extending ubiquitous connectivity to our financial systems, we can create a seamless, interoperable web of commerce spanning borders. We’re talking about bringing change to every industry across the globe. From food and beverages to technology and healthcare products, companies recognize that one of the most powerful uses of blockchain is providing transparency.
Blockchain is bringing disruption to the status quo, and it’s no wonder that companies are eager to hire blockchain experts. Its potential use cases are diverse, and its proponents are growing in numbers by the day. It has proven a viable option for companies of all sizes and types and will see significant growth on a global scale in the coming years.
There are new jobs available in the blockchain space every day. Regardless of your background or experience, you can help forge new applications and advance the technology in exciting ways. It’s a thrilling time to join this space and make a lasting impact in the world. You can help build the cornerstone that will drive tomorrow’s technologies in health care, financial services, energy… and join innovative companies, building on the foundation of blockchain technology.