Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency, has become a point of interest for multiple industries. From healthcare to government to supply-chain companies, almost every business or institution is investing in the blockchain technology. In order to build the systems, companies need the necessary talent with the right skill sets. The meteoric rise of blockchain is making it impossible for universities and training boot camps to keep up. So the shortage of talent is making blockchain a highly sought after skill in the job market.
The Rise of Blockchain in Various Industries
The cryptocurrency revolution started with the publication of the Bitcoin white paper in 2008. The technical details of blockchain were explained in this document.
Since then, Bitcoin was implemented as a cryptocurrency and it has grown to have a $100+ billion market cap. But developers and scientists have started to take interest in blockchain as an independent technology.
Blockchain provides trustless and decentralized transactions. Throughout human history, transactions have been centralized between two parties because a third-party is necessary to prevent fraud. In blockchain, the trust is created programmatically. It has opened up a lot of doors for changing the way we exchange value with each other. Ethereum is a great example. It has used blockchain to build a decentralized platform for smart contracts. With smart contracts, it’s possible to automate legal transactions or financial transactions automatically.
The blockchain technology has implications for various industries. Here are some examples:
The vast potential of applications has inspired companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Accenture to invest heavily in blockchain technology. Google and Goldman Sachs are actively backing companies who are working in this area. So the growth surrounding this technology is explosive.
Blockchain: A Prized Skill
Naturally, when businesses invest heavily in an area of technology, the need for talent in that area increases. According to Upwork, blockchain is the second most sought-after job skill in the freelance market today.
It’s not only the competitive freelance market. The traditional job market is also seeing an upsurge in demand. According to the Financial Times, blockchain related advertisements for jobs on LinkedIn have increased threefold since last year. LinkedIn doesn’t even list blockchain as a recognized skill. But due to the frequent listing of it in job ads, LinkedIn is thinking about making it part of the recognized skills set.
The increase in demand is coming from multiple places. A lot of new cryptocurrencies are popping up with initial coin offerings (ICOs). These ICOs require experienced developers. Also, the various industries who are creating new solutions need blockchain experts. IBM alone is developing more than 400 blockchain applications that have about 150 related job openings.
Finding Blockchain Talent
When demand outstrips supply in the job market, finding talent becomes challenging. The blockchain related companies are feeling the pain. There are not many developers with the necessary skills to create high-quality applications. So some companies are taking matters into their own hands. IBM is nurturing its own talent by providing free online training to its employees. Other companies are sure to develop similar programs.
But in the long run, universities and training companies have to step up their game to produce the necessary skills in the next generation of developers. Universities and software boot camps are already making progress. US premium educational institutions like Stanford University, University of California Berkley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have all opened their own blockchain courses. Coursera is offering an eleven-week course with the help of Princeton University. Also, Blockchain University, an institution created by cryptocurrency experts, offers an eight-week course in California.
Companies interested in hiring blockchain developers should look into their local universities and development boot camps to see the kind of talent available. Businesses can even invest in programs to help grow local talent that will make it easier to hire and retain. Without the necessary skills, most companies will be unable to fulfill their vision. So it's important to proactively cultivate the next generation of blockchain developers and programmers.
On Becoming a Blockchain Developer or Entrepreneur
Rising demand also means rising interest from future job seekers who want to enter this lucrative field. Executives or business leaders who want to learn about blockchain can enroll in a certification course like B9Lab’s Blockchain for Technical Executives and Analysts.
Besides the hard skills, blockchain developers also need a wide array of soft skills and peripheral knowledge. Most developers have to work with groups in time-constraint projects. So they need to have an understanding of time management, team dynamics, and software engineering processes. Also, prior knowledge about the relevant industry (e.g. healthcare, government, hospitality, etc.) can help them design more effective solutions.
It’s important to remember that large companies are looking for talent who have the necessary attitude to learn. So even if a developer doesn’t have all the skills, businesses are willing to invest in people who are eager to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise.
Both Analytical and Creative Thinkers Necessary
e blockchain is a technology that is changing the traditional way of conducting business. It requires a new way of thinking and a paradigm shift. Companies who are looking for blockchain developers should look for both analytical and creative skills.
On the other hand, developers should not only spend time learning how to program for blockchains, they should also think about creative designs and new ways of using this technology.
Future blockchain applications will require more forward-thinking leaders, creative entrepreneurs, and smart developers. So the demand for blockchain skills will keep growing.