This guide explores careers in blockchain development, the steps necessary to enter the field, and the attributes needed to become a blockchain developer. In addition, it explains how blockchain technology works and a breakdown of expected blockchain developer salaries from across the globe.
Blockchain is a transformative technology that opened up a new field of development known as Blockchain Development, which has created several job opportunities for developers and technicians. To help our readers understand better the role of a blockchain developer, let’s first explain what a blockchain is and how it works.
What is blockchain and how does it work?
A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed public ledger that operates on the internet. It’s a digital database that records data, and no one can change or corrupt the information stored therein.
Three principal technologies define the operation of a blockchain:
1. Private key cryptography: A secure code that allows crypto holders to make transactions and prove ownership of their assets;
2. Distributed network: A shared ledger that regulates data and transactions to avoid fraud and tax evasion;
3. Reward or incentive: A token is given to miners for servicing the blockchain and maintaining its security levels.
A blockchain can be public, private, permission-based, centralized, or decentralized. Each blockchain has a team, usually consisting of multiple parties that use cryptography to ensure all transactions are secure, accessible, consistent, and tamper-proof.
Crypto beginners’ corner:
Blockchain development explained
Blockchain technology has transformed how different companies process and manage data while doing business. Initially developed as a platform to support Bitcoin mining and transactions, the technology has demonstrated a level of versatility and security that has drawn governments and different business sectors to recognize and use it.
With the number of people working in the blockchain industry climbing over 80% year-on-year and the growing popularity and potential, blockchain development has opened a completely new front for career and employment. Before diving into how to become a blockchain developer, aspirants should first know who a blockchain developer is and what the job exactly involves.
Blockchain developers develop and optimize blockchain protocols, construct the architecture of blockchain systems, and develop web apps in line with blockchain technology. They also develop 3D models, 3D content, and 3D designs such as what we see in metaverse games.
Roles of a blockchain developer
To help one understand best the role of a blockchain developer, we need to ascertain that blockchain developers fall under two types: Core Blockchain Developers and Blockchain Software Developers. These are two major sub-divisions of blockchain development.
All the same, the following attributes are common to both sets of blockchain developers:
- Solid understanding of coding language;
- Deep understanding of blockchain technology;
- Strong knowledge of cryptography and security principles;
- Good knowledge of smart contracts;
- Familiarity with algorithms and data structures;
Core Blockchain Developers
Core Blockchain Developers construct the architecture of a blockchain system, design protocols, select the design of consensus protocols, and participate in the advanced decision-making and development of blockchain technology. They also oversee the security and supervision of the entire network.
In short, Core Blockchain Developers set the foundation upon which other developers build. Their main programming languages are:
Blockchain Software Developers
Blockchain Software Developers use the core blockchain architecture built by core developers to create decentralized applications (dApps) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on a blockchain network. They develop smart contracts and interactive front-end designs for dApps. These blockchain professionals are also involved in backend development and supervision of the entire stack running the dApps they create.
Blockchain software developers use different programming languages for smart contracts, mobile, web, and backend applications.
Overall, both sets of blockchain developers are responsible for creating innovative Web3 solutions to challenging problems using blockchain technology. For example, they develop solutions for command and control and ensure the high integrity of the entire network.
Additionally, they perform complex analyses, computer software debugging, development, and testing for specific product hardware or technical service lines of various blockchain-based businesses.
Blockchain developers also design software, operate architecture integration, and select computer systems. Their work also involves operating on several systems and applying knowledge of one of multiple platforms and programming languages.
Steps to making a successful career as a blockchain developer
With the growing popularity of blockchain and cryptocurrency, several IT organizations and crypto-related companies are in need of professionals such as blockchain developers, blockchain engineers, blockchain administrators, and more.
So after knowing what a blockchain is and how it works, blockchain developers, and their roles, the next step is to learn how to become a blockchain developer.
There are two main routes to becoming a blockchain developer. One, you can start from scratch without any knowledge of programming. Two, you can have existing experience in careers that are related to blockchain and build upon that foundation.
Whether it’s from scratch or with existing knowledge in blockchain-related careers like information technology, data science, or computer science, there are important pillars that guide blockchain enthusiasts to launch a successful and worthwhile career as blockchain developers. The following attributes are essential to anyone aspiring to be a blockchain developer:
1. Academic excellence
Blockchain developers need a strong academic background in subjects such as mathematics, information technology, or computer science. A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree specializing in relevant topics such as cryptography or programming would provide a good start.
2. Relevant technical skills
In addition to a solid academic background, blockchain developers need a set of specific technical skills, including:
Blockchain combines data structure and advanced cryptography, so blockchain developers need a clear grasp of cryptography to help them with creating asynchronous encryption, which is used to generate digital signatures. Blockchains also use different encryption methods, such as KECCAK256 or SHA256, which developers must understand how and where to apply.
Strong knowledge of data structures is helpful to blockchain developers in strengthening their level of understanding of the challenges they tackle at a broader level. It also helps them optimize solutions to the problems involved. Good knowledge of data structures such as arrays, trees, or linked lists also helps in the efficient organization and storage of data.
Smart contract development
Smart contracts have become part of blockchain technology since the release of Ethereum. Nearly all blockchains try to integrate smart contract functionality into their systems to facilitate the smooth application of business logic. Blockchain developers, therefore, need to have a clear grasp of smart contract development using different network-specific languages such as Viper, Solidity, or Chaincode, among others.
Programming, databases, and networking
Blockchain developers need deep knowledge of coding to help them develop various blockchain applications. Additionally, they should be conversant with the blockchain network to understand the shared data across all nodes. Both database management and computer networking are essential technical skills that blockchain developers need to create and maintain blockchain systems.
3. A basic understanding of the blockchain architecture
Blockchain developers need a basic understanding of blockchain concepts, terminologies, and how it’s different from the traditional distributed database. Concepts such as distributed ledger, insertion and selection, and multilateral maintenance, among others, are important to blockchain developers.
Overall, aspiring blockchain developers need a proper grasp of the fundamental concepts of blockchain as well as real-time blockchain applications. They should also be conversant with the recent advancements in the blockchain industry.
4. Solid knowledge of cryptonomics
Note: Cryptonomics refers to the combined use of cryptography and economics. Blockchain technology uses cryptographically secured data using different security protocols. Blockchain developers need good knowledge of mathematics and computer science concepts to help them build strong cryptography protocols.
Besides, a blockchain network uses different cryptographic standards, including RSA and hash functions. The knowledge of cryptography and economics also helps developers understand cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
5. Good knowledge of altcoins and dApp development
Altcoins is a term used in the crypto space to refer to cryptocurrencies mined after the discovery of Bitcoin, such as Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, and others. Blockchain developers need solid knowledge of altcoins to help them in their work of developing, maintaining, and securing blockchain systems.
For example, the Ethereum blockchain allows developers to create smart contracts and decentralized applications. So they need to understand how Ethereum and other altcoins work, as well as the development of dApps.
6. Practice makes perfect
In addition to theoretical knowledge, blockchain developers need some hands-on experience to perfect their skills. They can use their technical skills to build various blockchain applications, while programming languages such as Solidity can be utilized by creating smart contracts and dApps.
As they advance their knowledge and experience, blockchain developers can get internships in organizations and enterprises that are looking for professionals in this domain. They can also benefit from online hands-on tutorials and certified educational institutions before taking full-time blockchain developer jobs.
Blockchain developer jobs and other blockchain professionals
With the rising popularity of blockchain and the emergence of crypto-related companies, the demand for professionals with skills in blockchain development, security protocols, and data structures continues to rise. Major companies such as International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Deloitte, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and many other startups are exploring blockchain technology, which also means there’s likely going to be an increase in different blockchain developer jobs.
Blockchain developers are probably the most required professionals in the blockchain market. Companies and businesses are looking for professionals who can develop applications on the blockchain to enhance service delivery in various sectors.
Considering these advancements, blockchain developers seem to have a solid career opportunity because they can work across various industries ranging from finance and manufacturing to health and crypto-allied sectors. In addition to blockchain developers, the following professionals can also work in the blockchain sector:
Blockchain architects assign, design, and connect various blockchain solution parts. They cooperate with various departments such as IT operations, network administrators, UX designers, and developers. Blockchain architects need to possess skills such as React, Python, HTML, CSS, Generic SQL, and Node. Besides, they need a clear grasp of data science, DevOps, and cryptography.
These blockchain professionals are responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining operations of blockchain infrastructure. Their main objective is to utilize the capabilities of various blockchain teams to assess the quality of services and tools implemented on a blockchain system. Their core skills include UNIX, Linux, Bitcoin protocol, and advanced programming languages.
Blockchain project managers
Blockchain project managers are responsible for developing a relationship between a company and blockchain experts. They establish proper communication and set up technical requirements for their employees. These blockchain experts need the skills of a regular project manager.
Blockchain UX designers
Blockchain UX Designers build and develop unique, simple, and user-friendly interfaces to keep users engaged. These blockchain experts require creativity, good communication skills, and technical knowledge about blockchain technology.
Blockchain quality engineers
The work of a blockchain quality engineer is to perform manual testing, automation frameworks, debugging, and testing glitches. Any problem detected in the system is reported to the engineer to ensure that the final product is free of any bugs. Blockchain engineers require solid knowledge of multiple blockchain platforms, decent communication skills, and the ability to solve problems.
Blockchain consultants devise strategies, form solutions, and offer technical knowledge. These experts work in various areas of blockchain and so they need a deep understanding of blockchain technologies.
Blockchain consultants also include legal consultants whose role is to form legal partnerships, advise companies on the structure of crypto offerings, and oversee business contracts. Legal consultants in blockchain must have a solid knowledge of the financial regulations set by a specific country and a clear grasp of smart contracts.
Blockchain engineers are tasked with creating applications that reflect the technological aspect of their companies. These blockchain experts keep learning new things and are conversant with the economic aspect of blockchain engineering. They also understand the concepts of supply and demand.
Blockchain analysts fall under two categories: business analysts and risk analysts.
Business analysts develop effective business strategies and processes while identifying potential areas of improvement.
On the other hand, risk analysts evaluate potential risks and develop effective solutions to combat them. These professionals need comprehensive knowledge of blockchain and a specialty in the related technical areas.
In addition to these professionals, the blockchain workplace attracts other experts, including blockchain security and community managers, and junior developers. Junior developers are mainly interns, assistants, and entry-level developers. These experts create blockchain database application programming interfaces (APIs), user interface design, and other front-end developments.
Blockchain developer salary
Blockchain professionals tend to earn more than individuals in similar positions in other industries, according to the Blockchain Academy 2022 Global Blockchain Jobs and Employment Report. In the same source, the average annual income of a blockchain developer is $136,000 in the US, $87,500 in Asia, and $73,300 in Europe. Remote blockchain developers earn an average of $123,750.
Additionally, LinkedIn Job Report 2020 revealed that blockchain development was the most emerging job of the year, with an increase of 33 times. In 2021, LinkedIn also reported that cryptocurrencies-related job postings on the site surged by almost 400%.
Importantly, blockchain developer salaries vary from region to region and are based on factors such as the level of expertise, skillset, job location, and role.
Therefore, the mentioned figures can change, and blockchain developer salary is spread across the board from complete beginners and new developers to experienced and advanced blockchain developers.
Some limitations of blockchain developers
Blockchain is still a work in progress as not all companies have adopted the technology. Blockchain developers also have their shares of challenges, such as dealing with legacy infrastructure and its limitations.
They also need to understand the technical practicality of launching decentralized cryptosystems and all unrelated processes to the traditional IT development skillset. These challenges imply that blockchain developers need more specialized skills.
Many big companies are already using blockchain-based systems to optimize their processes. In 2020, blockchain was among the top 10 hard skills employers are looking for, as shown in a LinkedIn report.
Additionally, blockchain technology is spread across most sectors, including finance, healthcare, energy, food, and agriculture. These advancements are likely to create more employment opportunities for blockchain developers and other blockchain-based professionals.
FAQs on how to become a blockchain developer
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a digital public ledger that embraces peer-to-peer networks, cryptography, consensus mechanisms, and smart contracts to provide a trusted channel for data storage and value transfer.
Who is a blockchain developer?
A blockchain developer is an individual responsible for developing a blockchain and the applications that run on it. There are two types of blockchain developers: core blockchain developers and blockchain software developers.
What are the requirements to become a blockchain developer?
A solid academic background with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, IT, or computer science provides a favorable foundation to become a software developer. One also needs technical skills in different areas, such as blockchain architecture, cryptography, hash functions, and dApps development, among others.
Where can one work as a blockchain developer?
Many companies, including mainstream organizations such as IBM, Microsoft, PWC, Goldman Sachs, and others, already use blockchain technology. Besides, many startups have also adopted the technology, opening up job opportunities for blockchain developers.
Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.