Are you so fascinated with blockchain technology you’d like to make it your day job? Perhaps you’re already pottering around with blockchain applications in your spare time? If so, we’ve got great news for you.
Unlike in the rest of the software development industry, there is a global shortage of capable blockchain developers.
‘The biggest problem I have is finding engineers with Bitcoin skills. We spend a lot of time and resources internally to help build Bitcoin developer skills, and we are not alone in having to solve this problem. The demand is far, far higher than the available pool of Bitcoin-skilled developers can satisfy.’ - nChain CTO Steve Shadders
While the demand for blockchain developers is growing, there are also other roles becoming available, from research to operations and marketing and communications.
James Scott, Engineering Operations Manager at blockchain technology leader nChain, offers his perspective on the scope and availability of blockchain careers - present and future.
Thinking of a job in blockchain technology? These roles are waiting to be filled.
Blockchain developer positions
As with any other software deployment industry, the blockchain industry has room for developers with different specialities:
- Software architects are required to design blockchain systems from the ground up before any apps can be built on them.
- Software engineers write code on top of these systems. In Bitcoin SV, Script engineers work in a language based on Forth, a stack-based language common in embedded systems that has been around for many years. Just like in other software development industries, programming languages like, Java, .NET, C#, Go, Python are also used.
- As code is being written, QA engineers test the software to ensure it works in theory and in practice.
Scott notes there are no additional obstacles in transitioning to blockchain compared with other software industries.
‘In blockchain, a developer would do a pretty similar job as a one that works in telecoms or banking,’ Scott says.
‘Just as each industry poses its unique challenges, blockchain development will require a unique approach. The rules of software development apply across the board, with unique conditions to be considered for Blockchain, e.g. the distributed design.’
Blockchain researchers / scientists / mathematicians
Another area of technical specialities that the blockchain industry is hiring for is research.
Before architects can design, developers can implement, and QA engineers can test, researchers perform their crucial work. Blockchain researchers (some companies might refer to them as ‘blockchain scientists’) focus on solidifying the theories that underlie implementations. This means developing mathematical proofs to prove hypotheses before developers put their shoulder to the wheel. These mathematical questions could relate to data encryption on the blockchain, such as determining how secure a particular encryption algorithm is. Researchers would typically produce white papers to present their proofs so the scientific community can review them.
By the time engineers start implementing the research results, they will have confidence that their work is based on solid scientific thinking.
Blockchain operations roles
Though the blockchain industry offers an abundance of technical roles, Scott adds that less technical, operational roles are just as important.
‘We’re talking about business analysts that help capture the requirements for what you're trying to write. There are project managers, delivery managers - all the usual operational roles that you’d have in a similar industry.’
Blockchain communications and community roles
Another category of blockchain professionals in short supply is communications. Scott refers to marketing, business development, relationship managers, sales and services consultants, and community managers.
‘We’ll need a lot more people who can explain blockchain and Bitcoin from a range of different angles to different audiences, regardless of how technically knowledgeable they are.’
Suppose you care about blockchain, but you don't fall in one of the more technical categories. In that case, you might be just the person the blockchain industry needs to increase general awareness, educate different audiences, and aid adoption.
Communications professionals with experience in other tech industries will find their skills transfer well to the blockchain industry. The challenge will be to gain an understanding of blockchain’s key value propositions.
‘The immutability of the blockchain is its key selling point, yet most people don’t understand how it could benefit their business,’ Scott says.
Communicators will play the vital role of raising awareness of blockchain technology, differentiating it from other electronic databases, and educating enterprises about its applications for their businesses.
‘Just having blockchain talked about and understood is an essential function. We need people on board who can help businesses understand its value, its stability and how it will transform data communications.’
When it comes to mainstream audiences, communicators also have an important task.
‘For a start, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings we need to dispel. At the same time, we need people who can grow and support a thriving blockchain community,’ Scott says.
The evolution of blockchain professions
Scott notes that the blockchain industry is still nascent and specialised skills are needed to improve scaling and adoption.
‘Blockchain is a young technology, and we’re only just crossing over from pioneering to settling a ‘new land’,’ he says.
‘At this stage of the blockchain industry where we’re building a lot of components from scratch, architects are highly in demand. Once the underlying blockchain components exist and platforms have been built, which is where we’re headed to now, software engineers and testers will play a bigger role.’
That does not mean that any of these roles will become outdated as blockchain adoption advances and use cases evolve. Scott notes that blockchain architects, for example, will always have a role to play, such as when an enterprise client needs a custom-designed blockchain product.
Each of these roles plays a pivotal part in blockchain adoption. While many of the skills required for these jobs will be transferable from other software industries, they will pose unique challenges. One of these is a shortage of tried-and-tested solutions, and this is where individuals with pioneering mindsets can shine.
How to start your career in blockchain
If a career in the blockchain industry sounds like a challenge you will enjoy, Bitcoin Association offers a great selection of resources to help you transition your career into blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Association is a Switzerland-based global industry organisation that works to advance business with the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
Bitcoin Association’s blockchain job board
The perfect Bitcoin job for you might already be posted on the Bitcoin Association’s job board.
Bitcoin SV's rapid growth is fuelling a boom in new projects and applications, which has led to a surge in demand for blockchain talent within the Bitcoin SV ecosystem.
Take a look at our job board to find the position that best suits your skillset.
Bitcoin SV Hackathon
Think you have the expertise blockchain enterprises are looking for?
Our bi-annual Bitcoin SV Hackathon event is your opportunity to show off your skills. Not only will you compete for your share of a $100,000 prize pool paid out in BSV, but you also stand a chance to catch the eye of prospective employers.
Bitcoin SV Academy courses to get you certified
If you would like to improve your blockchain development skills, Bitcoin Association offers you the Bitcoin SV Academy – a dedicated online education platform for Bitcoin, offering academia-quality, university-style courses and learning materials.
Courses are divided into three streams, with introductory-level courses offered for free:
- Bitcoin Theory
- Bitcoin Development
- Bitcoin Infrastructure
Sound like your cup of tea? Register for your Bitcoin SV Academy account for free to start taking courses.