Blockchain development is one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in the world today. In fact, according to Gartner, Inc, twenty percent of large organizations will use digital currencies for payments, stored value, or collateral by 2024.
Demand for Blockchain is accelerating, with it, the need for talented developers. Believe it or not, demand for blockchain developers has surged to 2000%-6000% recently.
With this increased demand, salaries are also more lucrative. For example, a Blockchain Developer might earn 50-100% more than traditional software developers.
There is just one catch–few software developers have the required Blockchain skills to land a job in the industry.
What Kinds of Blockchain Development Jobs Exist?
There are diverse opportunities in blockchain, based on your skill level. From blockchain developer to blockchain architect and everything in between. Like traditional web development, you can choose how you specialize and grow your career. From NFTs to defi to gaming to defi, the door is open.
The great thing is that you can often get paid to learn what you are most interested in, as there aren’t enough qualified developers currently working to meet demand. The shortage will only accelerate with the next bull market and mass adoption. Positioning yourself now is one of the best moves you might make in your career.
- Blockchain developer: In this role, you will create the infrastructure, establish security protocols, APIs, create smart contracts, and demonstrate a working understanding of blockchain architecture and the protocols that run it. Job duties might include crypto market evaluation, product evaluation, writing code and performing code reviews, planning implementation assessments, and supporting new technologies. One big thing about being a blockchain developer is the need for constant education on the latest trends, so if you like fast-moving, changing technology, this one is for you. New protocols and standards are often released, which drives the need for code changes. As a blockchain developer, your ability to respond to these changes promptly is important. Here is an example of a blockchain developer role.
- NFT developer: In this role, you will create the NFTs, NFT marketplaces, and integrate NFTs into existing platforms. You will need to understand the market for NFTs, create good UI/UX designs, implement smart contracts for users to buy, sell and trade NFTs, and understand storage fundamentals. NFT marketplace applications have great appeal, and maybe the technology that ushers in the mass adoption of crypto in general. Many trainings have examples of making your own NFT marketplace, so that would be one way to start with obtaining an NFT developer role. Here is an example of a NFT developer role.
- Blockchain Architect: In this role, you might be building your own blockchain! If working for a company, you may be required how to setup or modify an existing blockchain for your clients. In any case, core requirements of this role would be to understand and integrate the many parts of the blockchain ecosystem. You will be interfacing with other UX developers, IT professionals, and system administrators. In addition, you will need to stay on top of the latest advancements in the blockchain industry. You should have experience in DevOps, cryptography, and Blockchain in general. Here is an example of a Blockchain Architect role.
- Blockchain UX Developer: In this role, you will design blockchain user interfaces that are intuitive, easy to use, and innovative. This is one of the most needed roles in blockchain today, as one of the things holding back mass adoption is the distance between the familiar web 2.0 and unfamiliar web3 technologies. Creating that “bridge” for users and understanding their pain points will be key for this role. You will most need good communication skills as you interact with multiple stakeholders. Here is an example of a Blockchain UX Developer
- Blockchain Quality Engineer: In this role, you will ensure the Blockchain you work with meets high-quality standards. This will include various types of manual and automated, and continuous integration testing. The goal here is to avoid deploying software with bugs and glitches. This role often reports test results, so good communication is essential. And for good reason, billions of dollars are at stake. A Blockchain Quality Engineer’s role is to ensure processes are in place that ensure the software code base is as bug-free as possible, vulnerabilities are identified, and a plan for the remedy and/or isolation of those bugs is in place. As such, this role is often one of the more high-paying in the blockchain industry. Here is an example of a Blockchain Quality Engineer role.
So let’s introduce a new term encapsulating most of the above roles in one generic title: Web3 Developer. Just as the name suggests, a web3 developer is someone who develops blockchain-based technologies.
In summary, as a web3 developer, aside from the soft skills of problem-solving, creativity, confidence, communication, patience, ability to collaborate, and adaptability, you will need some working knowledge of these three things:
- Smart Contract Languages
Finally, there are quite a few courses on Blockchain, but here are a few excellent ones to get you started that are affordable:
- Blockchain by Princeton University
- Blockchain Basics by the University of Buffalo
- Decentralized Finance (DeFi): The Future of Finance by Duke University
In addition to these, a good number of crypto-specific platforms have been developed specifically for web3 developers. Here are some good ones to check out:
- Buildspace – Web3, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other promising domains like robotics, and even music.
- Moralis – Web3 APIs that bridge the development gap between Web2 and Web3.
- Dapp University – Step-by-step web3 tutorials.
- Hashlips – Web3 Tutorials and generative art engine
- Nervos Build Club – A supportive community of web3 developers.
What are some of the challenges blockchain developers face daily?
According to the Blockchain Council, one of the top five reasons we don’t have mass adoption is the lack of high-quality blockchain developers. Let’s face it, Blockchain is new, and there are quite a few hurdles to overcome to get into this space. New languages to learn, new infrastructure to master, and new protocols and security measures to be aware of are just the technology side.
In addition, with crypto only being 14 years old at the time of this writing, volatility, and the relatively short lifespan of many crypto companies that enter and exit each cycle, there can be some negative opinions about the future of Blockchain and the companies building on it. Developers may be hesitant even to enter the industry.
Experience has taught me that the most significant hurdle to overcome for a new blockchain developer is the steep learning curve and often distributed nature of teams. There is a ton to learn to become effective, and the learning is usually done solo, without a great deal of support or tools to help, depending on your specific role.
If you are interested in building out the support, tools, and infrastructure, read on; it means you might have what it takes to help build the future of Blockchain–after all, what gets built now is going to reshape the world in years to come!
What are some of the benefits of being a blockchain developer?
The benefits of being a blockchain developer are many! Aside from being paid 50%-100% more than your software developer counterparts, you are getting to help shape the entire blockchain industry. Despite what anyone tells you, Blockchain is in its infancy. What gets created now will be the basis for everything else that is to come.
Let’s look at the key benefits of being a blockchain developer:
- Career Options – Do you want to work as an employee for a blockchain company or a freelancer helping small business owners figure out how they will launch their NFTs? You have your choice, and in Blockchain, a wide range of options exist. You get to choose a work environment that fits your life, not the other way around.
- High Salary – The more complex the problem, the more you get paid! As mentioned earlier, high pay is the norm, not the exception. You can expect to earn well into six figures as a blockchain developer. Become a senior blockchain developer, and you can earn multiple six figures. The demand for talent is high, and the talent pool is shallow!
- Education – You will constantly learn to stay ahead of this fast-changing industry. If you enjoy learning new tools and ways of doing things, you are lucky. Many companies even allocate 20% or more of your time just for learning!
- Work Remote – In a 2021 study, over 44% of crypto jobs were offered remotely. Moving anywhere in the world is a huge benefit, especially if that place’s cost of living is less.
What skills and language do you need to be a blockchain developer?
To be a blockchain developer, you need soft and technical skills. What you need to know depends on what you want to build.
For instance, you might want to build:
- Blockchain protocols
- Consensus protocols
- Security Protocols
- Smart contracts
- UI/UX designs
- Back-ends for a blockchain
If you are building smart contracts, you need to know languages like Solidity, Rust, Go, Viper or Chaincode. Examples of other smart contract development tools in use today are Hardhat, Truffle, OpenZeppelin, Remix, and others. These tools are Blockchain-specific, so make sure you know which Blockchain you’d like to work on first!
If you are working on security protocols, you’d likely want to research cryptographic hash algorithms. These are always changing and different depending on the blockchains needs and structure of how data is stored.
It also may require back-end development languages like: IPFS, Truffle, Hardhat, Ganash and gEth (if you are developing on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) ) Of course, you will need to learn to code smart contracts and understand the various protocols governing them. Again for the EVM, this means good at understanding ERC20 for tokens, and ERC721 for NFTs as a starting point.
If you are working on consensus protocols, you will want to become an expert in consensus protocols like Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-Of-Stake (PoW)
Regardless of what specific role you’d like to go into, you will need to understand blockchain architecture and its components – nodes, transactions, blocks, consensus protocols, etc.
As we’ve outlined in this article, there is significant upside in becoming a blockchain developer. The demand is strong, and the pool of talent is weak, driving impressive salaries for skilled professionals. Recent years have seen an explosion in training programs to help bridge web 2 developers over to web3, as well as train new developers with not experience at all. Many of these training courses are quite enjoyable, and use NFTs, gaming and other exciting technology that is moving the industry forward toward mass adoption.
Some of the challenges include lack of infrastructure, tooling and documentation for developers, the volatility of the crypto space as a whole, and potential regulations that loom on the horizon which could impact many companies.
Aside from the challenges of becoming a blockchain developer, there are also significant upsides. The average blockchain developer makes more than their web2 counterpart, and as momentum increases, those early developers will become senior developers, and maybe even architects, who command massive salary gains. Imagine the flood gates finally opening and the need for experienced developers to support companies with onboarding beginner developers.
Not only that, blockchain is a quiet revolution whose time has come. Why not add your voice?