Blockchain Developers’ Dream Job: What Are the Main Areas of Development?

Taking your developer career from mid-level highly paid job roles or even CTO. What skills do you need to advance your blockchain developer career?

Mid-level blockchain developers are in the enviable position of being able to choose from a number of rather exciting niche careers. What mid to upper level software developer jobs best suit your career goals and job satisfaction requirements? Are there new technologies you would like to work with?

Financial concerns are just as valid. Blockchain developers need to decide on an income bracket based on individual aspirations for earning potential and the available opportunities for each career development path. What is clear is that companies desperately need more blockchain talent.

Market demand for professional developers

The global spread of blockchain systems has created a growing demand for technical experts in new technologies; and good employment opportunities have opened up to cement your career.

While not all aspects of this evolution have been positive, there is now a wider appreciation for the technology and its many applications.

This graph shows how blockchain and Ethereum have spread into many developed and developing nations and the trends suggest that they will continue to do so, albeit in a slightly revised sense.

In their Blockchain Trends 2020 report Deloitte explains that while the initial hype may be over and trends have shifted away from experimental platforms, the development of strong blockchain solutions which can be used to solve real issues have taken center stage.

Far from being a dying technology, blockchain has been re-imagined as an applied solution to the business challenges of consortiums and other economic players.

The rise of new applications in blockchain technology has created a high demand for specialists. According to the report, big business has shifted to seeing the technology as a viable solution to their business goals, rather than just a fad.

Indeed, world leaders have supported the technology by making it a top-five strategic priority, continuing to invest in blockchain-based strategies and expressing positive attitudes towards using the technology.

Solid prospects for a career in blockchain

While blockchain tech has not followed the dramatic course of other new kids on the block like Cryptocurrency it has nonetheless been embraced for its potential in business. The latest research reveals that many CEOs and executives are considering the technology and its possible applications in their business models.

As the infographic on page 3 of the report shows us, almost half of business owners are willing to commit funds to this kind of development with significant investment being shown from the US. Data validation, access and sharing and identity protection are the three main areas where we are likely to see the most growth in the next year. The big business intends to use the technology to monitor data, lower the costs of centralization, increase the visibility of processes and increase the speed of asset transfer.

What blockchain developer job prospects are there?

As enterprises like VeChain, Corda, Hyperledger, and Ethereum became players in the field it has become clear that developers that offer CEOs a combination approach to problem-solving have begun to shine.

In 2020 and beyond, software developers that have expert knowledge of smart contracts and the full life-cycle of research challenges, through to analysis, design and execution of the project will be in demand. The new face of developer positions encompasses the full spectrum of working with large consortiums in a holistic manner.

The different roles and responsibilities of a developer include the set up of smart contracts, front-end designs for applications and the supervision of the application stack. Employees are responsible for the development, research, design, development, and testing of various technologies.

Depending on the level you attain in your career, you will also be called upon to brainstorm challenges and evaluate applications for new ideas as well as document solutions for existing issues. Developers are also required to run maintenance on and extend both client and server-based applications.

What skill sets will augment your blockchain developer career?

In addition to a strong background in software development, software specialists need to have extensive experience in working with open-source projects and large codebases. A strong knowledge of data structures and algorithms is another indispensable asset.

A knowledge of cryptography, data structures, the relevant algorithms, and computer networking have to be part of your portfolio. Having experience with blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum is a definite advantage. Keeping up to date with programming languages such as C++, Java and JavaScript need to be the focus as well as grasping the ins and outs of peer-to-peer networks and basic cryptography.

How do I choose my career path as a blockchain developer?

In order to best decide on a personal career path, developers need to have a strong sense of their strengths and areas of interest.

While most developers will find themselves muti-tasking in a layered corporate environment it is also possible to find yourself working as part of a manager, specializing in one area of software enhancements. Here are some areas that you may find yourself wanting to focus on.

Data Structures

There is simply no way to skimp on expertise in this area. Data structures are an integral area of blockchain systems and developers must know how to work with the appropriate code — Patrecia and Merkle trees as just two examples.

Knowing how to fulfill network requirements means knowing how to apply data structures and cryptography to secure system stability. It’s not possible to do this with basic blockchain knowledge and more advanced training in data structures is highly recommended.

Blockchain Architecture

Developers need a good understanding of cryptographic hash functions, consensus and distributed ledger technology. Reading and understanding whitepapers and informational articles, blogs, and pursuing expert certification will help developers gain the insight needed. Courses offered by universities or colleges will further enhance your skillset.

Online platforms that offer certified courses in Blockchain Architecture from basic to advanced level. are one way to keep learning while you work. Courses cover peer-to-peer networks, blockchain mining, algorithms, smart contracts and more.

Learning by using case studies in different industries is an excellent way to gain experience in real-life scenarios.

Smart Contract Development

The rise of the Ethereum blockchain has raised the profile of smart contracts. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts in which the terms of the agreement between the buyer and the seller are written into code on a network. Expertise in smart contracts has become an integral skill for developers. Learning network-targeted languages like Viper, Chaincode and Solidity all form part of this skillset.

Web Development

A software developer usually a begins his career designing basic decentralized applications. Knowing the ins and outs of both front-end and back-end development, API handling, request handling, and interactive graphical user interfaces for Decentralised applications is critical.

Cryptography

Blockchain technology blends advanced cryptography and data structures so a comprehensive understanding of cryptographic hash functions (SHA256 and KECCAK256) as well as asynchronous cryptography (for creating digital signatures) is important for a blockchain developer.

What is the best developer position in digital blockchain?

Once a developer has attained the certifications needed and spent some time working in the field he may eventually reach the level of Chief Technology Officer. This is an executive level position in a company, similar to the CIO but one that deals with the scientific and technological aspects of running the business and manages the technical staff.

A Chief Technology Officer usually holds at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering or computer science field and/or an MBA alongside relevant experience.

What kind of blockchain developer makes the most money?

Developers that are proficient in critical skills are likely to command the highest salaries. A good skill set should include technolgies such as SQL and NoSQL databases, Python, .NET, MVC, C/C++, C#, JavaScript, Node.js, Solidity, HTML, Agile Scrum, REST and Git.

In a recent report Cagrvalue noted the highest paid blockchain career prospects as:

  • Blockchain data scientist
  • Blockchain developer
  • Blockchain engineer
  • Blockchain marketing manager
  • Blockchain machine learning engineer

What kind of blockchain jobs are most in demand?

According to Upwork, blockchain development is one of the most in demand skills among freelancers. with growth that exceeded 2,000 % for three quarters in a row and 6,000 % for year-over-year growth.

The way in which the technology can change the way we live our everyday lives is where the power lies, with voting, banking, education, and governmental functions being enhanced.

According to Devskiller developers are making on average between $150,000 and $175,000 in the United States. According to recruitment agency Janco mid-level blockchain engineers earn $127,000 and $172,000 for more experienced developers. Top engineers earn in excess of $200,000 per year.

Career opportunities for a mid-level developer

Large companies offer changing opportunities for middle management in the areas of big data management, corporate blockchain networks, mobile, and device connectivity. There are management positions related to online trading, application security and development and quality control.

Upwork indicates that 53% of HR managers claim that the lack of skills in blockchain developers is problematic and 59% use freelance professionals to augment this deficit in multi-skilled employees.

Expected salaries for a blockchain deelopment position

The current demand for intern to management level developers has been overwhelming in the last 5 years with an increase of 517% according to a new report from Hired. The report found that blockchain development skills ranked in the top three job openings worldwide and that blockchain engineers along with security engineers and embedded engineers, saw increases of 132% and 76% respectively.

Salary packages can reach up to $157,000 in the U.S. but tend to drop in other regions. In London a software developer career can earn up to $90,000; in Canada up to $75,000; and in Paris, $67,000, the study found.

Currently the quickest way to develop marketable skills is to self-study the appropriate niche, gaining experience by freelancing where needed or to attend courses from groups like Consensys, Blockapps, the Ethereum Foundation and Hyperledger.

Trends in the past five years indicate that a blockchain developer position is one of most sought after skills in today’s business arena, with predictions for the demand to grow in the next few years.

At the same time there is a lack of required skills among employees, creating incredible opportunity for freelance developers. Developers that continually upgrade their skill set with in-demand technologies will lead the way. Developers that aspire to a Chief Technology Officer level need to continue to follow the latest developments and demands for the field.

The Codemotion newsletter subscription is targeted at mid-level developers who want to keep up to date with the latest news and tech developments in the field. Our expert tech guides keep readers up to date with the inside scoop to help guide your career choices in blockchain development, by connecting you with the best IT professionals, tech communities and companies in the world today.

Originally published December 7, 20202 in Codemotion Magazine

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