Is Blockchain in Your Future?

by Nancy Ordman

Source: Pixabay/CC0

Blockchain technology’s link to the mysterious world of bitcoin has obscured its growing importance across finance, healthcare, manufacturing – any enterprise that requires confidential record-keeping, speedy transaction processing, lower operating costs and other advantages blockchain provides.

As with other disruptive technologies, the supply of relevant skills lags considerably behind the demand in the job market: 14 jobs await every blockchain developer, according to TechCrunch writer Samantha Stein. Many of these jobs are in start-up companies; in January 2018 AngelList identified over 1,500 start-ups in the blockchain space. Tech Giants like IBM are also major players. 

Jobs in the Blockchain Space

Software developers are in the highest demand, but several employers are advertising other in-demand jobs.

  • Project manager: Companies who offer blockchain software development and implementation need project managers to work with clients, managing the work from requirements gathering through implementation, keeping all the moving pieces synchronized and the budget under control.
  • Quality engineer: The quality engineer manages quality aspects of the development process, including manual and automated testing, test platform development and standards development, all as part of delivering each blockchain project.
  • Legal advisers and attorneys: Lawyers with technical knowledge are in demand to structure ICOs for new blockchain-related companies and to manage mergers and acquisitions as companies grow.
  • Blockchain designer: Companies that use cryptocurrencies need designers who create explanatory web content that works across different platforms and devices.
  • Blockchain engineer: A blockchain engineer’s responsibilities range from setting up applications using bitcoins to training employees in new technology.

Skills

While the technology evolves blockchain development relies on both existing programming languages and environments, like Java, CSS, HTML, C, C# and C++, and new blockchain-specific tools like Solidify and Truffle. Experience using a software development management environment like Agile will also be highly valued. For project managers, employers will look for an MBA and experience managing large, complex projects.

It’s still too early for many academic programs to gear up with specialty blockchain courses. Akshi Federici of ConsenSys Academy, a source of blockchain training, pointed out that the interdisciplinary field crosses over into law and business. This characteristic makes designing courses and course sequences less straightforward than developing programming language courses. In addition to ConsenSys and a few other private providers, some universities offer courses on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and MOOCs are available.

Salaries

Scarce resources generally command higher prices; tech workers with blockchain expertise benefit from their rarity. Henry Steele, writing for The Ladders jobsite, stated unequivocally that people with these skills can become wealthy. He cites a Computerworld survey that pegs an average software developer earns $105,000 a year, compared to a blockchain expert’s $130,000 – a bonus of about 24 percent.

Resources

Interested in learning more? Here a few websites to check out.

Blockchain Job Market: Challenges and Opportunities

Blockchain Engineers are In Demand

The Business of a Blockchain Developer