From Supply Chain to IP Protection: Why Demand for Blockchain Engineers is Exploding

There’s no doubt about it: Technology is evolving at an ever-increasing rate, making it that much more important for technical talent to stay on top of new trends and skills that are in demand today — as well as understanding how tech needs will evolve. At Hired, we have unprecedented visibility into tech hiring, from the exact coding languages companies are looking for to engineers’ sentiments towards working styles such as pair programming.

Using this proprietary data, we’ve just released our 2019 State of Software Engineers report, the first of its kind to include in-depth analysis of trends in the market for software engineering roles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, blockchain and security engineering skills are in high demand this year, a trend which we’ll dig into in further detail in this post.

Exciting prospects for blockchain engineers

Blockchain and crypto were huge buzzwords in recent years, but not without reason. Despite being in the very early days of crypto adoption, trading volumes are expected to grow by over 50% in 2019. Further, as of mid-February of this year, there were more than 2,500 known cryptocurrencies—over 50% more than there were less than a year ago.

Given that blockchains underly cryptocurrencies, the explosion of these alternate currencies suggests that engineers with blockchain skills must be in demand—but the trend goes far beyond crypto. Companies of all types are increasingly considering the implications and opportunities associated with using blockchain technology in their operations, from tracking products along a supply chain to IP protection to distributed data storage.

As blockchain technology has become more interesting to companies of all shapes and sizes, the need for talent has grown exponentially. In fact, the global demand for blockchain engineers grew 517% year over year between 2017 and 2018—and we expect this growth to continue as businesses continue finding novel ways to leverage this technology.

Security: The (old) new kid on the block

From Equifax to Wannacry, 2017 was a tough year for data breaches—so it’s not all that surprising that companies are beefing up their security teams. According to our proprietary data, demand for security engineers has increased by 132% over the past 12 months, falling second only to blockchain engineers in terms of demand growth.

The need for security is the result of a perfect storm of technological advances. As increasingly more consumer data is collected and stored by digital companies, data storage and security techniques have had to evolve, sometimes leaving gaps for hackers who can identify weaknesses and access this sensitive data. But it’s not simply a matter of patching up those holes: Hackers tend to move at least as quickly as the companies they target, so security is and will be an ongoing need for any company hoping to stay relevant and earn their customers’ trust—and thus we expect engineers with security expertise to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

What increased demand means for compensation

Having in-demand skills doesn’t just mean that it’ll be easier to find a job, but also that you’ll be compensated accordingly. According to Hired’s data, blockchain and security engineers are often amongst the highest-paid engineers, suggesting that companies have adapted their hiring strategies to attract top talent with these specific skills.

It’s important to note that compensation can vary widely across geographies, both in terms of absolute numbers as well as which skills are compensated most highly. For example, engineering salaries across the board tend to be significantly lower in the U.K. and Europe, which is likely more reflective of the job market and compensation standards than it is of demand for these skills across markets. In addition to the insights from Hired’s 2019 Developer Report, our Salary Calculator tool can help technical talent of all types to better set their salary expectations based on where they live—and negotiate for a fair package when it comes time.

It’s clear that 2019 is both an exciting and challenging time to be a software engineer; new technologies are creating opportunities for career growth but also threatening to make old skills obsolete. Demand for software engineers of any type certainly isn’t going away any time soon, but it’s important to understand the market trends, and what you can do to remain competitive.