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The Arrival of BlockchainIn 2009, a coder named Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin – the world’s first decentralized digital currency.
Note: Want to know more about blockchains? Check out my Blockchain Explained guide.Since Bitcoin, hundreds of other cryptocurrencies have been launched and thousands of different companies have been formed which offer blockchain services. Digital money was the first successful use of blockchain tech, but there are many others now. Every new blog, exchange or cryptocurrency creates new blockchain jobs. Every new technical improvement creates new skills which need to be taught and learned. Ethereum, Coinbase, and BlockGeeks aren’t the only places creating blockchain jobs. Almost ten years after the invention of Bitcoin, there are very few industries that aren’t investigating or developing new uses for blockchain tech. Let’s have a look at where the new blockchain jobs are coming from…
Who’s Hiring?There are four major players in the crypto job market; startups, legacies, tech companies and governments. Here’s how each got involved in blockchain and what they’re doing with it;
- Startups: These are the independent businesses and products created since the invention of Bitcoin. AngelList holds records of over 1,500 crypto startups which have raised more than 3.7 billion USD from ICOs in America alone.Note: Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a way for new crypto businesses to raise funds without using more formal types of investment like stocks and bonds.Startups are run by crypto nerds and blockchain businessmen who saw how important the technology was and got involved early. They are creating platforms like EOS, Monero, and Qtum as well as exchanges like Bittrex, Kraken, and Binance. Startups can also be wallet providers, news sites, blogs, and educational tools that have been formed to support blockchain projects. Many of the jobs created by startups were unpaid, to begin with, but have now started to pay very well!
- Legacies: These are big companies like banks, accountancy firms, and law offices that have been around for many years. They took a long time to react to the technological developments of Bitcoin. They have seen it grow over the years and now they’re scared. If they don’t work out ways to use blockchain tech, it could put them out of business! Legacy companies have a lot of power and money. Their global reputations allow them to hire almost anyone they want. Most are hiring whole teams of blockchain experts to help them keep up with the technology.
- Tech firms: These are the companies that have the most to lose if blockchain tech takes over the world. They are companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook. Much of their success and power relies on the centralized services they offer. If the popularity of decentralized platforms keeps growing, users won’t want to use centralized networks anymore. Tech firms are having to adapt and fast! Blockchain development has become a high priority. Most are investing in projects which will use blockchain tech to benefit their businesses. One of the biggest projects of this kind is Hyperledger. Hyperledger aims to provide businesses with the tools they need to implement blockchain technology.
- Governments: the cost-cutting potential of blockchain is huge so many national governments have been hiring crypto experts to advise them. In Britain, Sir Mark Walport has suggested that a blockchain could be used to manage student loan payments. In Estonia, blockchain tech is being used to make government agencies fairer and more efficient. Projects like e-Residency are being used to make it the world’s first “digital nation.” Venezuela has gone even further and created its own cryptocurrency called Petro!
Who’s Being Hired?
- Techies: These are tech professionals like software developers and engineers. They are highly trained in programming languages like Java, Python, and C++. Some will have experience with crypto tech but most won’t. Even for techies, cryptocurrency jobs are a new challenge! Developers and engineers will need to become familiar with new coding languages like Ethereum’s Solidity or the Ripple protocol if they want the best blockchain careers. Blockchain developer jobs are different. They require engineers and developers to do many tasks which they wouldn’t normally do. Blockchain projects might require them to research, design and build a new platform as well as offering business ideas and plans for the future.
- Non-techies: Blockchains need more than just technical support. Like any business, blockchain projects need accountants, lawyers, public relations (PR), marketers and much more. The blockchain jobs site, Crypto Jobs List, advertises vacancies in marketing, community, design and even has listings for meme specialists!
Growth AreasBlockchains are threatening the way a lot of industries work but they are finding new roles for people trained in those fields. Below are a few of the skill sets that will be needed in crypto in the future;
- Media: The blockchain industry needs to reach a wider audience. We could see dedicated blockchain advertising agencies, PR firms, and media outlets in the coming years. Youtube vloggers like Ameer Rosic, Ivan on Tech and Crypt0 are the first of a new breed of crypto journalists.
- DApp development: Blockchain projects will only succeed by building decentralized applications that people want to use. There will be a huge focus on hiring software designers who can build dApps for a mass market. Decentralized Facebook, anyone?Note: For more information about smart contracts and dApps, check out my What is a Smart Contract guide and my Decentralized Applications guide.
- Legal compliance: All around the world, new laws are being written about how cryptocurrencies can be used. The technology itself can guide legal contracts (in the form of smart contracts). This means that law firms will need crypto experts and crypto businesses will need legal advisors!
- Logistics: The ability to store and transfer large amounts of information could have a big effect on the way supply chains work. This could mean big changes and new jobs in farming, heavy industry, and international trade.
- Trading/Sales: The stock market grew massively in the 1980s and now the coin market is growing even faster! Coin exchanges handle tens of millions of crypto trades every day. They need; asset managers, crypto brokers, analysts, and ICO advisors.
Blockchain Jobs: Supply and DemandDemand for blockchain professionals has gone up a lot in recent years. Between November 2015 and April 2018, listings for blockchain jobs on Indeed have gone up by 63%. LinkedIn lists 2,527 search results for blockchain developer jobs in the USA alone.
- Startups attract some of the best blockchain talents. They offer a lot of responsibility and freedom. They don’t offer the highest wages though. The average yearly salary for a blockchain developer with no experience is around 50,000 USD. With five or more years of experience, this can go up to around 70,000 USD per year. Some startups offer their staff equity in the company, which is an extra bonus not usually found elsewhere.
- Legacies and tech firms offer the best salaries in the business. Entry-level salaries can be as high as 70,000-80,000 USD. After five years in the trade, salaries can go as high as 100,000-120,000 USD! Which is quite reasonable, I think you’ll agree! IBM’s VP for People and Culture, Mike Schade, has said that the gap between startup salaries and those of more established companies is so large for one simple reason. Blockchain developers don’t like working for large centralized organizations. Therefore, legacy businesses and tech firms have to offer a lot more money to attract the right staff.
- Government salaries vary from country to country but are generally paid less than either startups or established companies. Working for the government does have its benefits though. Government projects tend to involve top-secret data and systems so blockchain techies can pretend to be James Bond while they work!
- A blockchain focused degree: Some of the world’s top universities – including Berkeley, MIT, and Princeton – have begun offering degrees in blockchain development.
- A MOOC: Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are affordable and easy to access. For example, BitDegree offers blockchain courses for beginners and more advanced students.
- On-the-job training: If you are lucky enough to work in a field in which blockchain tech is being applied, then you might get retrained for free! 75% of blockchain jobs are being given to employees who already work for the hiring company.
- Keep up to date with industry trends: Blockchain tech is changing all the time. Visit Reddit and GitHub for regular updates on industry developments.
- Be flexible: Blockchain careers come in many forms. You need to be part-coder, part-entrepreneur, and part-Youtube celebrity. There are a lot of skills to master, so be ready!
- Love crypto: If the Bitcoin protocol doesn’t put a smile on your face, then Bitcoin jobs probably aren’t for you. This is one of the greatest technological breakthroughs in history, so enjoy it!