The blockchain industry wants to use the new blockchain technology to replace legacy data storage systems. Blockchain is a decentralised ledger that is used to record data across multiple nodes. The technological details on how blockchain works is out of the scope of this article.
In basic terms, blockchain can be described as a data structure that holds records, at the same time ensuring security, transparency and decentralisation. Information stored in the blockchain are digitally recorded and have common history. Picture a situation where you need to transfer someone money in another country without going through PayPal or banks that charge extra fees for international transactions. Cryptocurrencies is one use case of blockchain technology. You can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to make the transfers instead since it is cheaper and a safer way of making these transfers. However, a common misconception is that blockchain is cryptocurrencies. The truth is that it isn’t. Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to store transactional data but blockchain can do much more than that and you do not always require a currency to use blockchain technology. A lot of large companies are using blockchain to store data without a virtual currency in place. The big advantage of blockchain technology is that it is immutable but discussion about the advantages and disadvantage of blockchain is outside the scope of this article.
As this sector has emerged, many job opportunities have also opened. So, the first step is picking what matches your skillsets and sparks your interest.
What are the job opportunities within the blockchain industry?
2. Core Blockchain Developer: This role involves understanding advanced concepts of blockchain protocols. Unlike a smart contracts developers, a core blockchain developer is developing the actual blockchain which stores the data. You can now create blockchain in virtually any programming language, even PHP. If you are good at server side programming and have great analytical skills, them you should really consider being a blockchain developer.
3. Blockchain Researcher: Blockchain is a very new type of technology and people are constantly doing research to create blockchain networks that are fast, secure and scalable. A deep understanding and knowledge of programming and cryptography is essential here. A lot of PHD computer science graduates go into blockchain research to find the best methods of creating highly advanced blockchain networks. A common issue within the crypto space is having blockchain network with a good balance of scalability, security and decentralisation, also known as the blockchain trilemma. A lot of projects are hiring blockchain researchers to find new methods to solve this issue. While a PHD is not essential to be a blockchain researching, this is the toughest job out of the three.
How to get a blockchain related role?
If you are an existing developer and want to move to blockchain development, then learning how to build contract contracts is a good start. Then you can start learning about blockchain protocols. There are many online courses and guides which can help you with the transition. If you are a fresh graduate, then getting a junior blockchain developer role can help you build foundation in the technology and you should also look at guides and tutorials online. Udacity has some good courses for blockchain.
The learning curve for smart contracts developer will be lower than a core blockchain developer and the blockchain researcher role will have the highest learning curve but the important thing is to go for a career that you like so if blockchain researcher is the job you want to go for, by all means go for it. It doesn’t matter if you start as a junior smart contracts developer. You can always move to different roles at a later stage of your career.