LinkedIn has seen the number of Blockchain related-job adverts surge over the last year as experts claim demand for expertise is far outweighing the supply. For a technology that is yet to be fully utilised, its showing promising signs of becoming one of the hottest areas for technology recruitment. In this post, I’ll outline the areas in which Blockchain expertise is required and what you can do to get in on the action before the market saturates.
The Blockchain Story
Blockchain is the technology behind the Bitcoin currency but its uses extend way beyond crypto-currencies. It’s effectively a database which allows digital information to be distributed, but not copied, over a p2p network. As the information is hosted by lots of different computers simultaneously there is no centralised version for hackers to corrupt.
Blockchain has got a bit of a mixed reputation due to being synonymous with Bitcoin. The infamous crypto-currency has received negative press after being linked with the movement of money from less than reputable sources. This has meant that companies have been hesitant to adopt the technology. However, whatever your thoughts on Bitcoin, the Blockchain technology underpinning the currency works exceptionally well.
Blockchain startups are popping up all over the shop. Despite all of the economic uncertainty around Brexit, the UK still remains the financial hub of Europe and the place to be for Blockchain-based companies. 16.7% of all Blockchain startups are based in the UK, second to only the US.
The bulk of positions available are for Java developer roles and the most in-demand skills from Blockchain job posts include Fintech, agile software development, Test Driven Development (TDD), Linux and software engineering. However, people with existing experience in blockchain development are the golden nuggets and incredibly sought after.
Blockchain has the potential to affect the way all businesses share data but it’s the financial services industry that has been the first to take advantage of this technology. The database cannot be controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure, meaning transactions are more secure and costs are reduced by cutting out the middleman.
At the time of writing, there were 77 Blockchain-related positions for Financial Services in the UK on LinkedIn. As well as developers, larger firms are investing in technical architects to oversee Blockchain projects. Tim Coates, a managing consultant for the Blockchain technology consultancy firm Synechron, outlined the importance of speaking the banking language for those looking for a lucrative career.
“If you speak banking language and you have Blockchain experience you are in a very good position,”
Tim Coates, Consultant at Synechron.
For the tech industry, the adoption of Blockchain technologies is starting to snowball: CIO’s are considering the technology as part of their cybersecurity strategy, IBM and Samsung have been using Blockchain to form a decentralised network of Internet of Things devices, whilst Intel and Fujitsu have joined the open source Hyperledger project. Considering the size of these companies and the importance of their brand image, it’s safe to say that large tech companies will be investing heavily into Blockchain talent to stay ahead of the game. Many of these positions are likely to be in the US, but the pull of London talent may bring some organisations to set up Blockchain projects this side of the Atlantic.
With Blockchain, there may finally be a way to solve the illegal sharing of music that has been happening since the likes of Napster back in the early noughties. Music can be published on the ledger with a unique, unalterable ID. The metadata stored in each file will ensure the correct people get paid when the music is distributed or played.
The UK government said it envisions a role for Blockchain as part of a broader digitization plan unveiled earlier this year. It highlighted work at the Digital Catapult Centre, through which government officials would seek “new ways to work with personal data with more control and trust… [and] applications of Blockchain and smart contracts”. The government has been researching ways to use Blockchain for tracking welfare payments and disbursing student loan funds.
So, how do I become a Blockchain Developer?
You don’t need to be a cryptography expert to get in to the blockchain world. The most common requirements are pretty standard for software developers:
- A degree in Computer Science or Engineering
- A couple years’ experience as a developer
- Expertise in C++, C, Go, Java or Python
- Use of performance management tools
Apart from that, you’ll need to read up about ledgers and consensus methods to get a good grasp of the technology. As long as you have an open mind and you’re willing to learn, a career in blockchain is very achievable.
IBM has an online resource area for Blockchain developers, with lots of free tools and advice.
Github’s ‘Blockchain stuff’ section has collated a huge list of books, documentaries, infographics, talks and more to get you started.
A vital component of progressing your career is working for a company that invests in your development. At Jumar, we’re working some of IT’s top players. If you’re looking for a workplace to match your ambitious mindset, submit your CV today and Jumar’s friendly recruitment team will be in touch.