Blockchain developers use a new kind of decentralized computing technology to verify and warehouse data. Blockchain gets its name from blocks of data committed to an expanding digital ledger at regular intervals.
The underlying innovation behind blockchain is that, for the first time, people, companies, and organizations don’t need a trusted third party to vouch for the legitimacy of the underlying data. Instead, because of the computing mechanics involved, the data housed in the blockchain has already been vetted by a distributed network of computers.
So blockchain developers get to work at the forefront of an exciting new field and build very early infrastructure, applications, and systems that will likely impact and power future generations.
What is a Degree in Blockchain Technology?
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Though expanding in popularity, earning a degree specifically in blockchain technology is rare. With that said, there are different degrees that you can earn that will allow you to focus on the topic.
Aspiring professionals looking for a career in blockchain technology have several different areas of study that will help propel their future in the field. Many employers will look for educational backgrounds in computer science, information security, financial technology, or other related fields.
Furthermore, many institutions offer various course selections that focus on blockchain subject matter. According to coursera.com, some course examples and descriptions include the following:
- Introduction to blockchain technology – In this course, you will learn what blockchain is, how it works, and why it is revolutionary. This course covers key concepts such as the following:
- Public key cryptography
- The double-spend problem
- Design principles for blockchain technology
- Common challenges for developers
- Blockchain: Foundations and uses cases – This course is another good introduction to blockchain for developers and non-developers. Course material involves some of the philosophy behind decentralization and why there is so much excitement.
- Blockchain, crypto assets, and decentralized finance – This course covers all the basics of crypto assets, smart contracts, new identity systems, new financial business models, and how they all play a role in solving today’s challenges.
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency explained – This course dives into decentralization and consensus algorithms. You will also have the opportunity to examine blockchain as an asset, review the dynamics of the cryptocurrency markets, analyze blockchain as a business solution, and determine when blockchain technology does and does not make sense. Check out the cryptocurrency analyst career guide for more info on cryptocurrencies.
- Blockchain basics – This course delivers an overview of the essential basics of blockchain technology – from Bitcoin protocol to Ethereum protocol. Understanding these basics will lay a necessary foundation for programming and developing applications.
You will also learn how to:
- create nodes on your personal Ethereum blockchain
- create and unlock accounts
- transfer Ethers
- check balances
Blockchain is becoming more relevant in daily discussions, and its uses only continue to grow. Many institutions have established programs that specifically discuss the subject.
For example, Fordham University created “Blockchain at Fordham,” a blockchain educational club for undergraduates. They complete group projects, attend speaker events and office tours, and participate in weekly seminars and panels. Their goal is to promote a shared understanding of blockchain and the industry throughout the campus.
What Does a Blockchain Developer Do?
The role of a blockchain developer can vary based on an employer’s or organization’s needs. For the most part, a Blockchain Developer is responsible for optimizing all blockchain protocols, building the blockchain internal systems, and developing any smart contracts and web apps.
Most employers will require their developers to store all blockchain data to prevent hacks or changes strategically. They are also responsible for creating the interfaces to maintain client applications.
Five Skills Needed to Be a Blockchain Developer
1. Data structure
Since all system deployments require developers to engage with data structures, this is one of the essential skills for any blockchain developer or programmer to learn. Data structures aid in the comprehension of the many different elements of Blockchain. Developing a strong understanding will help create a solid grasp of the most complex topics more quickly.
2. Smart contracts
Because of the decentralized structure of blockchain, smart contracts allow blockchain exchanges and transactions to occur in the first place. Although they can be complicated, developers need to understand the “whys” and “hows” behind smart contracts.
Cryptography is the method of designing procedures and algorithms to prevent foreign and outside parties from viewing content. Since there are various types of cryptography, and they are all crucial to the process, a deep understanding of it is important to succeed in a career within blockchain.
4. Interoperability skills
Sharing/transferring data between blockchains is only possible through interoperability. It gives you the ability to both view and collects shared information. This is necessary for all blockchain platforms to work effectively and efficiently.
5. Blockchain architecture
For developers to comprehend the importance of different blockchain ledgers, they must first have an extensive understanding of blockchains architecture. The different elements of blockchain architecture that any developer should familiarize themselves with include the following:
- Node – blockchain architecture user.
- Block – data structure.
- Chain – the precise order of a series of blocks.
- Miners – particular nodes involved in the block verifying process.
How to Become a Blockchain Developer
Arguably the most pursued job title by applicants and desired by employers in blockchain is a blockchain developer. Since the position is relatively new for most companies, the required experience may vary depending on the employer. Regardless of the position specifics, several steps are universal to reach this desired position.
Step 1: Education
A degree in any of these majors will give your future employer the confidence that you have a solid understanding of the skills required to work in blockchain technology.
- Computer science
- Financial technology
- Information security
- Other related fields
Step 2: Discover a basic understanding of blockchain
This step could be combined with step one, but it’s important to acknowledge that self-education will help you determine which areas of the field stand out to you personally. Since few institutions offer a complete education on the subject, additional learning will better position you to explore the subject. This includes:
- Reading books and articles
- Taking courses independently
- Attending seminars
- Joining online forums and participating in discussions
- Experimenting with blockchain technology on your own
- Building a portfolio
Step 3: Learn to code
Coding is a necessary and important skill to become a blockchain developer. You can learn to code by following steps 1 and 2 or receiving one-on-one coaching by an expert.
Step 4: Expose yourself to blockchain-related content
Blockchain technology is constantly evolving. Therefore, staying up-to-date on and understanding the current trends in the field will be highly beneficial in positioning yourself above your competitors.
Step 5: Pursue ongoing skills development and training
As blockchain evolves and advances, new and more efficient tactics will always be there. Embracing these applications and incorporating them into your general understanding of the subject is important to mastering the position. Training yourself to understand what works and doesn’t and discovering new tactics will help you excel.
Blockchain Career Outlook
Many companies are creating positions specific to the field. Including the role of Blockchain Developer, below are some of the most pursued positions for an aspiring blockchain technology professional looking to start a career in the field:
- Blockchain developer/engineer – Responsible for the actual build of the blockchain software, the developer constructs the architecture and protocol. They are also responsible for creating decentralized applications and supervising them from front and back.
- Blockchain consultant – The main focus of a blockchain consultant is to ensure the approved technology roadmaps are in line with clients’ business goals and achieve target outcomes.
- Blockchain product designer – Under the supervision of the product manager, the product designer focuses on the user experience portion of a product. Following the business goals and objectives, they make appropriate changes to remove inefficiencies to improve user experience.
- Blockchain project manager – Handling issues within the blockchain processes, the project manager overlooks security protocols, manages the transaction systems, and develops specialized features.
- Blockchain researcher – Monitoring any new blockchain analytics, the blockchain researcher observes the entire blockchain ecosystem to discover new findings that can be pushed towards product development.
- Blockchain journalist – Responsible for covering the latest news in all things cryptocurrency and blockchain, the blockchain journalist constructs all the content and reports, including newspapers, magazines, blogs, or even a brand.
Many factors go into determining the salary range for a blockchain technology professional, including job title, location, and company, to name a few. To give you a rough idea, a remote blockchain UI/UX designer averages $75,000 a year, whereas a remote blockchain engineer averages closer to $154,550.
Blockchain technology is a way to record information and data that makes it easier to authenticate, harder to copy or replicate, and more secure. It’s a way to ensure that transactions on a digital ledger are legitimate and decentralized, without the need for the oversight or involvement of massive corporations or bureaucracies.
Since degrees specific to blockchain technology are few and far between, many students study computer science, financial technology, information security, or a related field. These majors focus on blockchain subject matter, including intro to blockchain technology, foundations, use cases, crypto assets and decentralized finance, blockchain and cryptocurrency explained, and blockchain basics.
Regardless of the position, several steps are universal to becoming a blockchain developer across the board. Learn the basics of how blockchains work, learn computer coding, find blockchain projects to work on (or build your blockchain) and look for the latest developments in blockchain technology.
A blockchain developer is responsible for optimizing all blockchain protocols, building the internal systems for blockchains, and developing smart contracts and web apps. They are also responsible for creating the interfaces to maintain client applications.
With the average salary for a remote blockchain professional between $75,000 and $128,500, many positions are available, including blockchain developer/engineer, blockchain consultant, blockchain product manager, and blockchain researcher.