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Career Path: How to become a Blockchain Engineer

So you want to become a Blockchain Engineer? Welcome to the future. With the number of job openings exceeding qualified developers, blockchain development is one of the fastest rising fields in the labor market. A successful career in blockchain engineering offers multiple job paths and an opportunity to work on innovative projects using cutting-edge technology.

Getting through the door

To secure an entry-level position as a blockchain engineer, you must have strong software development skills as well as a firm understanding of blockchain fundamentals. If you’re...more

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Career-building content for Blockchain Engineers

We've collected tons of information on salaries, compensation, negotiation and more. See even more on our blog.

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Career Path: How to become a Blockchain Engineer

So you want to become a Blockchain Engineer? Welcome to the future. With the number of job openings exceeding qualified developers, blockchain development is one of the fastest rising fields in the labor market. A successful career in blockchain engineering offers multiple job paths and an opportunity to work on innovative projects using cutting-edge technology.

Getting through the door

To secure an entry-level position as a blockchain engineer, you must have strong software development skills as well as a firm understanding of blockchain fundamentals. If you’re new to the field and you have no coding skills, then a good place to begin will be learning languages like Solidity (used for constructing smart contracts) and JavaScript. You can study on your own, enroll in a program or try signing up for courses on platforms like Udemy, Lynda and Coursera.

Other technical skills that can improve your advantage include proficiency in languages like React, CSS, HTML, NodeJS and Python as well as development frameworks like Truffle. Some of the other minimum requirements that you’ll need to qualify as an intern or junior-level engineer include:

  • Displaying a firm understanding of the basics of blockchain technology, including wallets, distributed apps, smart contracts and networks
  • Showing an understanding of DApps architecture and use cases
  • Being familiar with off-chain and side-chain transactions
  • Understanding blockchain platforms and frameworks
  • Having a grasp of cryptography

Degrees and Experience

You don’t need a college degree in software engineering, computer science or a related field to work as a blockchain engineer, but having one will give you an important advantage—especially if you’re trying to land that first job. Recruiters also place as much emphasis on other elements like experience and programming skills. One of the quickest ways of establishing your skills is to get hands-on with an actual blockchain application. Employers are more likely to hire candidates who have developed prototypes or successfully built applications using Blockchain technology.

Working as a Junior Level Developer/Engineer

Your primary responsibilities as a junior level developer will likely revolve around supportive duties or groundwork tasks like debugging or fixing mobile apps, developing blockchain proof of concepts as well as designing distributed ledgers based on specific platforms. Junior level developers may also be tasked with creating blockchain database APIs.

Other possible duties may include developing pilot solutions for ledger technologies and implementing software solutions for different platforms. Smaller companies may assign the UI design and front-end development of web and mobile applications to junior engineers. Being able to quickly adapt to change as well as having strong problem-solving skills will go a long way in boosting your career.

Moving up the Ranks

One of the advantages of a career in blockchain engineering is that it offers a level playing field, where almost anyone can become an expert with the right amount of dedication and time. To make the growth to a mid-level position, it is critical that you expand your technical skills. Sign up for different blockchain courses to expand your knowledge. Learn more about different data structures like HashMaps, Tree, Queue and Stack. Most mid-level positions require strong technical skills in languages like Agile Scrum, MYSQL, REST, AJAX and Neural-Networks.

Experts recommend that junior developers take the time to familiarize with more than one platform. If you’re interested in ICOs or building decentralized applications (DAPPs) with Ethereum, then it’s vital that you learn Solidity, since it’s the preferred code for building smart contracts. On the other hand, you’ll need a solid knowledge of C++ and Java to get certified with the HyperLedger Platform. Engineers can also gain an edge by learning about the fiscal aspects of blockchain engineer.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior Blockchain Engineer

Senior Blockchain Engineers work in oversight positions where they’re tasked with leading development on different projects. In addition to translating a company’s tech needs into blockchain apps and solutions, their work may include setting up infrastructure, implementing accelerators and assets and organizing training for new employees.

Study the Core Fields

To qualify as a blockchain expert, you have to be skilled in the underlying fields that support the technology, namely mechanism design, distributed computing and cryptography. Unlike learning languages like Solidity (which may no longer be in use in the near future), being skilled in these areas will give you invaluable career tools that can stand the test of time (regardless of which platform your work on). Online courses are good but you can boost your qualifications ever further by pursuing an advanced degree in cryptography, networking or distributed computing.

Invest in Yourself

Senior blockchain developers are given more authority because they have proven expert-level skill in technologies like Java, Solidity, Python and access management solutions. It also helps if you can show employers that you have been involved in major blockchain project. One way of achieving this is to contribute towards open-sourced blockchain-related projects—partly because these often set the standards for the industry. Beyond tech-related skills, senior blockchain developers must be skilled communicators, strong leaders, able to manage teams and be capable of multitasking under pressure.

Don't Stop at Blockchain

Study emerging technologies relevant to blockchain solutions. For instance, an advanced degree in artificial intelligence or finance will score you quick points with companies looking to adapt blockchain solutions in these fields. You can further accelerate your rise by building and maintaining a strong network of other developers who are just as invested as you are. This not only helps keep you updated on industry trends but also gives you invaluable access to contacts who may recommend you to potential companies and employers.

Blockchain Engineer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level blockchain engineer with between 2 and 5 years of relevant experience

As a blockchain engineer, you will be tasked with designing, developing and implementing blockchain-based solutions. We will rely on you in launching blockchain networks as well as developing and enhancing smart contracts. We welcome diversity and encourage healthy debate and discussion. Our blockchain engineers and full-stack developers are versatile and self-motivated, can work in a self-directed manner or in a collaborative setting as needed, and display leadership qualities.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Building back-end blockchain functionality for mobile applications
  • Developing PoCs to enable rapid prototyping of ideas
  • Writing code to satisfy application requirements (for both internal stakeholders and external client)
  • Designing and developing back-end blockchain functionality
  • Collaborating with teams including data science, research and production management
  • Defining blockchain systems architectures and analyzing usage statistics
  • Helping in building blockchain product specs
  • Participating in research as well as collaborating on or writing papers
  • Leveraging experience with proof of stake, proof of existence, open source blockchain platforms and more

We Look For

  • 2++ years of experience with blockchain development
  • 3+ Experience with languages like Solidity, Python, C++ and Java
  • 2+ years of experience in Node.js
  • Experience working with open-source projects
  • An ability to learn new languages and new patterns in the blockchain industry
  • Familiarity with storage systems, front-end frameworks, cloud infrastructure and data structures
  • Familiarity with different technical tools (Linux, JIRA, Git)
  • Effective communication, good time management and mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Familiarity with cryptography, crypto-economic protocols and P2P networks
  • Experience writing safe, efficient multi-thread code
  • Solid grasp of core principles of object-oriented design and applications within distributed environments
  • Strong experience in software development
  • An interest in staying updated with the latest advancements in technology
  • B.S. degree in software engineering, computer science or equivalent degree

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Experience with Ethereum or Bitcoin
  • Good knowledge of exchange-related concepts and market structures
  • A history of contributing to open-source projects
  • Demonstrable leadership on major open-source project(s)

Senior Blockchain Engineer Career Paths: Where to Go from Here

Bitcoin’s emergence in 2008—and the subsequent growth of blockchain technology—means that there is currently a dearth of blockchain engineers with more than 10 years’ worth of experience. Because of this, most senior blockchain engineers will find it easy forging their own path across different block-chain related fields. IBM, Microsoft and Barclays currently have blockchain programs aimed at combatting fraud, tracking financial transactions and managing bank guarantees. Companies aren't the only ones in the market for blockchain engineers. Countries like Dubai, Estonia and South Korea are actively looking to make the switch to blockchain-powered solutions.

Senior Blockchain engineers may work as Blockchain Architects where their responsibilities include designing blockchain networks and protocols for transactions. This position also calls for advanced analytical skills and an expert understanding of cryptography, blockchain and programming. Candidates with five years experience or more may also work as Blockchain Quality Engineers, where their duties will include defining and implementing test automation strategies and developing QA automated test standards. You could also combine your blockchain skills and experience with an engineering MBA to make the move towards becoming a Blockchain Project Manager, which involves planning and overseeing blockchain projects while supervising senior and junior blockchain engineers.

Another factor that will affect your career path is the type of blockchain you decide to specialize in public blockchain or private blockchain. Ethereum and bitcoin are the easiest examples of public blockchains—they have no restrictions and offer financial incentives to people who secure. Private blockchains, like the HyperLedger Fabric, are permission-based, and only open to an invited group.

Experts predict that Blockchain technology will play a major role in how industries evolve around the world. Its use has been suggested for everything from managing financial transactions to automating regulatory compliance to digital voting to authenticating digital IDs.

Ultimately, whether it's media, logistics, trading, DApp development, supplies or finance, the surest path to forging your career as a senior blockchain engineer is to identify your interests and then explore the leading frameworks and technologies emerging within your preferred field.

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