Have you ever stayed awake the whole night fiddling with your laptop, trying to create the perfect code to turn your obscure app idea into reality? Or did you just spend hours trying to code your way through your college’s hackathon without taking a break? Does working with new technology excite you so much that you completely forget your meals? If any of this sounds like you then a career in blockchain and cryptocurrency might be the perfect goal for you.
In early 2009, a group of unknown Japanese software engineers came together, under the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakatomo’ to launch a new technology product, Bitcoin (Blockchain was the decentralized ledger used to store transactions) as a solution to circumvent the need for third-party authorization for money transactions. Little did they know that their whitepaper would go on to take the technology world by storm by disrupting conventions in almost every industry.
But is blockchain the ideal career path? Are there enough jobs available in this sector? Is investing in a career in cryptocurrency the right choice?
If these questions are plaguing you then the following facts might help mitigate your worries.
- The cryptocurrency exchange market, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other currencies, is valued at a combined $267 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
- A leading market research firm has revealed that the Blockchain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 67.3% from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion in 2025.(Blockchain Market Size)
- Indeed, one of the world’s leading online job portals, recently reported that there has been a 621% increase in job postings related to blockchain and cryptocurrency since November 2015.
- According to TechCrunch, blockchain-related jobs are the second fastest-growing in the current labor market.
- Hired, an international recruitment company also said that demand for blockchain engineers and developers grew by 517% last year alone.
- Upwork, the world’s largest freelancer community, reported in 2018 that blockchain technology was the most sought after specialty by employers.
There is so much enthusiasm surrounding this nascent industry that it is poised to grow rapidly in the near future. Even though blockchain has often been used synonymously with Bitcoin, they are two different industries. Bitcoin or cryptocurrency is just one of the hundreds of different industry verticals that have used blockchain technology. The distributed ledger system of blockchain has proven to be an intriguing addition to database management and supply chain solutions.
Moreover, it has received unanimous endorsements from some of the biggest tech influencers, entrepreneurs, and players apart from government leaders and industry stalwarts. This acknowledgment of its unprecedented technical prowess has resulted in a dynamic playground for job seekers.
But before we delve any further, let’s talk about what Blockchain actually is and how it is related to cryptocurrency.
WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?
Blockchain, in layman’s terms, refers to a publicly accessible distributed ledger technology that can store information across thousands of computers making it near impossible to tamper with. The industry-altering impact of this peer-to-peer topology has been compared by some to the open-source software boom that occurred 25 years ago. Blockchain has the capability to completely revolutionize data storage, supply chains, banking, and almost every other industry that uses cloud-based computing.
Every transaction is stored in a block with thousands of other bits of information. The blocks are connected to each other via a chain link (that’s where the name comes from) that cannot be altered unless there is consensus between every node in the system. The transactions have a timestamp and a unique code called ‘Hash’ to help recognize it. This is the primary reason that it has been touted as ‘hack-proof’ and ‘digitally transparent’.
On the other hand, cryptocurrency is a digital asset -coins, if you will – that is secured by cryptography. Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to secure their transactions and make it immune to any third party involvement. While cryptocurrencies themselves have often been criticized for their volatility and misuse, the underlying blockchain technology has opened up new opportunities for tech enthusiasts.
Both fields offer a plethora of diverse roles for interested candidates. While getting a B.Tech degree in computer science or software engineering is a good start, a technical background isn’t necessary to secure a high-paying job.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO CREATE A FULFILLING CAREER IN BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY?
- Ability to Evolve and Adapt
Blockchain did not exist in the mainstream technological spheres before 2010. this has rendered in prone to rapid innovation and changes which need to be accounted for by blockchain enthusiasts. Most leaders agree that it will take at least a decade more to uncover the true potential of blockchain. Keeping this in mind, you’ll have to learn, unlearn, and relearn the nuances of this industry without stuttering.
- Coding Skills
Strong coding skills form the base for a successful career in blockchain. Most companies in this sector are looking for candidates with refined coding skills and past experience in full-stack, front end, or blockchain engineering. Software engineers working with crypto tech are responsible for creating custom client solutions, decentralized applications, and Solidity. All of these roles require engineers who can code flawlessly and on the go.
- A Deep Understanding of Blockchain Technology
If you are looking for a career in blockchain then it is time you start studying topics such as Smart Contracts, Decentralization, and Solidity. Cryptography is an integral part of blockchain and helps in protecting digital information and other assets. Another area that students can focus on is distributed computing theory and application. This is another growing avenue that works in conjunction with blockchain. Students who can fine-tune their knowledge and develop effective solutions will be able to land high paying jobs faster than their peers.
- Community Management
The success of blockchain is owed, at least in part, to its actively engaged community of fans who have supported this technology. Many crypto companies and startups explicitly hire community managers to effectively encourage loyalty and forge trust within their community members. These managers conduct contests, events, talks, and moderate the forums to help promote blockchain and cryptography. Developing people skills that can help with community outreach programs will not only help you land a job but also introduce you to a dynamic source of untapped knowledge.
Now that you’re aware of the skills you have to develop to cement a promising future in the blockchain industry, let’s explore the different roles that are on offer.
HOW TO FAST TRACK YOU BLOCKCHAIN CAREER?
If your goal is to end up working in some of the world’s technology behemoths such as IBM, Oracle, Google, Ernst and Young, and Ripple, then getting certified in blockchain development will give you an unwarranted edge over the other candidates.
Getting a strong foothold in this industry requires having domain knowledge in blockchain technology, distributed computing, cryptography, and Solidity. You can train yourself by either joining a certificate program provided by a reputed online course provider or a PG diploma course offered by colleges in India. According to a research by Washington Post, people who got certified ended up earning up to 25% more than their colleagues with the same amount of experience. Listed below are some of the best courses and diplomas for blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers – This is a 9 hour course that focuses on building basics and developing fundamental knowledge of blockchain business networks.
- Grey Campus’s Blockchain Certification Course – This is for the coding geeks who want to dabble in blockchain. Enrolling in this course requires candidates to have prior full stack coding knowledge. Through interactive lectures and hands-on projects, you’ll be introduced to Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Hyperledger operating systems.
- Blockchain Fundamentals by UC Berkeley – This course has been developed by the renowned computer science department of UCB. It covers blockchain technology along with detailed lectures on decentralized technology.
- IIIT, Bangalore with UpGrad – The flagship PG diploma program in blockchain development offered by IIIT, Bangalore in conjunction with UpGrad is 11 months long and completely online. It offers hands-on experience working on projects along with feedback from industry experts.
- Amity University – The 11 month long PG diploma program from Amity has a total of 550 hours of learning followed by a 6 week long remote internship with its industry partners. The course work covers Ethereum, Hyperledger, Quorum, Corda, and Auxledger blockchain platforms.
- IIIT, Hyderabad with TalentSprint – This is an advanced certification program that provides 18 weeks of live learning plus one full year of online access to the course modules. The course also entails 3 day visits to the campus to discuss topics and projects with the professors and network with fellow colleagues.
- IIT, Kharagpur and IBM Research(India) with NPTEL – This is a free 12 week course offered by MHRD, Govt. Of India which includes both conceptual learning and application of blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN BLOCKCHAIN?
- Blockchain Developer – This is by far the most lucrative opportunity in this industry. Not only are full stack blockchain developers in high demand, but they are also paid handsomely for their services. A blockchain developer needs to be adept at handling high-volume, detail-oriented tasks along with providing out-of-the-box solutions for the issues currently plaguing this industry.
- Blockchain Engineers – This set of candidates focus on creating the infrastructure and architecture of blockchain-based solutions. Knowledge of Hyperledger, Ethereum, Ripple, Java, Oracle, and Python can help you secure a well-funded job.
- Blockchain Quality Engineer – In the software world, quality assurance or QA engineers work with other teams to ensure that the solutions developed are of the required quality.
Similarly, blockchain quality engineers create and conduct testing frameworks to check the working of each process in the blockchain ecosystem. Their main goal is to leach out the bugs and loopholes in the codes along with providing solutions to plug them. Thorough knowledge of blockchain architecture is a must to succeed in this role.
- Blockchain Legal Consultant – Due to the volatility associated with blockchain, many government and institutions have set up stringent laws to regulate the market. Compliance with all the legalities ensures that the deployment of the solution faces no untoward hurdles.
Since blockchain is delocalized technology, working knowledge of international trade and finance laws is mandatory. Along with a law degree, blockchain legal consultants are also experts in this technology. They need to decode the entire ecosystem and make sure no laws are broken. Moreover, they also play the roles of legal advisers to investors and help them navigate the bureaucratic roadmap to healthy investments in blockchain startups and cryptocurrency ICOs.
- Blockchain UX/Website/App Designer – The blockchain market is witnessing an unprecedented boom. This growth has opened up doors for website designers who specialize in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Several new companies have sprouted up and competition between them is fierce. To grab and then hold on to market share, companies are investing a lot of money in customer-facing websites and applications.
- Blockchain Technical Recruiter – Blockchain companies that are rapidly scaling operations need to support their services with quality recruits. Due to the scarcity of blockchain developers and engineers, companies often find it difficult to fill up their open positions. This is where a blockchain technical recruiter comes in.
An HR manager with an extensive working knowledge of blockchain and cryptography can help companies hire the right workers suitable for specific roles. A degree in HR or even an MBA can help you land this job.
- Blockchain Data Scientist – Blockchain is essentially an open ledger system with an enormous amount of data stored online. This data needs to be collected, analyzed, interpreted, and translated to actionable inputs to drive sales. A data scientist fits the bill perfectly.
A master’s in data science after your bachelor’s degree will help you stand out amongst your peers.
- Community Manager – If you don’t have a background in software engineering yet aspire to work in the blockchain industry then this might be the perfect role for you. Community managers are paid well to create, maintain, and engage the community members. As mentioned above, blockchain technology has been built on the shoulders of an enthusiastic and supportive community. In fact, a company in Estonia also posted a job requirement for a full-time blockchain meme specialist. People with handy social media skills and marketing experience can expect to land this job without much trouble.
- Financial Analyst – Investors are intrigued by the bull run of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Yet, the uncertainty of this technology keeps them from adding cryptocurrency to their portfolio. A financial analyst who can develop strategies, evaluate risks, and maintain diverse crypto portfolios for hedge fund managers is in great demand.
- Technical Writers – Every blockchain company is seeking out writers who can help expand their online footprints while creating a desirable brand image. Technical writers, copywriters, and social media managers can land well-paid contracts for their writing and marketing skills.
There is no dearth of opportunity in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Diverse roles, spanning different verticals, are up for grabs for people with the right skillset.
The best part is that there are hundreds of online courses and certifications available in this domain that you can use to upgrade your skills. Even though this is a brand new domain, it is growing at an exponential rate and producing some of the most exciting jobs in the market. With the right mix of creativity, passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge, you can launch a successful, high-paying career. If you’re excited to take the plunge, then it is time to start educating yourself about the intricacies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.