You Should Transition To A New Career Path With Blockchain and Hit a Goldmine
Why a blockchain career could be the next goldmine
To transition into a career in blockchain, the first step anyone would need to take is to pick the initial technology they want to work on, Horvat said.
That can range from contributing to a core of open-sourced blockchains (e.g., Bitcoin); creating business networks using the Hyperledger family of modular platforms; or creating public smart contracts using Solidity.
"Having experience with back-end and lower level development (cryptography) is beneficial for the transition as well, but is not required," Horvat said.
Toptal sets a high bar for talent, requiring engineers to have a strong fundamental knowledge of blockchain and the underlying technologies.
This including cryptography and distributed systems – as well as some knowledge of how most public blockchains work, "which we test for using theoretical tests and coding tasks which are geared towards the technologies powering blockchains."
Blockchain developer positions come in all types, from hourly to full-time. The type of role depends on the size of the client and the kind of project or product it is working on, according to Horvat. Regardless, the demand for blockchain roles (whether hourly or full-time) is skyrocketing.
The Toptal Dig
Toptal's client list ranges from startups raising funds via ICOs (initial coin offerings) to Fortune 100 companies that are transferring major business segments to the blockchain, Horvat said.
The work developers are tackling varies from distributed programming to cryptography, private blockchains, decentralized applications, and smart contracts, among others.
"Even assuming 20,000 developers have worked with blockchain in some form or another, this is less than 1 in 1,000 developers worldwide. ...Those developers that do have experience in the field are in great demand." – Windsor Holden, Juniper Research
"Some clients start with only a few developers part-time to get a project started, and then ramp up with a larger full-time team as the project gets underway,"
Horvat said. "As the underlying technologies related to blockchain continue to evolve over time, organizations that are investing in the technology will have needs that evolve as well, which Toptal is suited to addressing."
The supply of blockchain experts, however, still lags well behind the demand for their services.
In a survey of 200 Fortune 500 executives by Synechron Inc., a New York-based IT consultancy, 55% said they had plans to implement blockchain technology over the next decade.
"For blockchain technology to gain traction, it will require more developers to acquire the skills to be able to work with the technology," said Windsor Holden, a blockchain analyst with Juniper Research.
"Even assuming 20,000 developers have worked with blockchain in some form or another, this is less than 1 in 1,000 developers worldwide. For the moment, those developers that do have experience in the field are in great demand."
While the small number of developers will stand to benefit enormously in the short term, it will be essential to develop training programs, both by academia and in-house via the leading technology providers, according to Holden.
In the meantime, a number of blockchain 'boot camps' have offered developers an introduction to the technology, including an eight-week course provided by New York's Byte Academy that costs $10,000.
The Academy Blockchain School
The Academy - School of Blockchain claims to be one of the only accredited schools for blockchain code training. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CASI).
On Jan. 29, the Academy launched its first onsite "immersion class" to retrain 120 software developers for blockchain in Sofia, Bulgaria; it plans to offer a six-week online course in July.
The immersion blockchain course is six weeks long and costs from $18,000 to $24,000, depending on the location of the classes, the Academy said in its marketing material.
The Academy is launching four more international classes in the April-May timeframe, the locations of which have yet to be announced. It expects about 1,600 students will complete its six-week blockchain training program this year.
The school also works with students to place them in jobs once they complete the program.
While the first class has yet to graduate, an Academy spokesperson said its regular software development program boasts a graduate placement rate of 92%, "and we fully expect our blockchain student placement rate to equal, if not surpass that rate."
The blockchain age is here, and making the transition to a career of the future can make all the difference.