How to Become a Blockchain Developer
Essential Education, Skills, and Job Interview Prep
Blockchain development is one of the emerging technologies with disruptive potential across industries. So, learning how to become a blockchain developer will give you a front-row seat and allow you to play an active role in this technological revolution.
Like many other development fields, you need education, skills, and training to learn blockchain development. If you’re a software developer or on the path to becoming one, diving into blockchain technology will be easier for you than someone with zero coding skills. In any case, this guide will help you start your blockchain development career.
What Is a Blockchain Developer?
A blockchain developer is an individual who designs, maintains, and optimizes blockchain protocols. Note that blockchain technology is a type of Internet-based database that stores transactions on a network of interconnected peer-to-peer nodes.
Typically, there are two categories of blockchain developers. One group, known as the core blockchain developers, builds the blockchain protocols upon which technology like cryptocurrencies and smart contracts exist. Group two, the blockchain software developers, builds decentralized applications on the foundation created by the core developers.
Blockchain Developer Salary and Job Outlook
The average salary for blockchain developers in the United States is $154,550, according to ZipRecruiter. Most blockchain developers earn between $124,500 and $203,000. At the time of writing, New York City had the highest average salary for blockchain developers. Find a role in the Big Apple and you’ll likely earn a salary in the ballpark of $180,380.
Since the technology is still relatively new, there isn’t significant information about the job outlook of blockchain developers long-term. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent job growth for all software development roles between 2019 and 2029.
Entry-Level Blockchain Developer Job Requirements
Employers require a Bachelor’s Degree in Blockchain Technology, Software Engineering, or Computer Science from those seeking entry-level roles. But even if you don’t have a degree, you may be considered for an entry-level position. It typically happens when you are already established in software development and have deep knowledge of blockchain technology.
How to Ace Your Blockchain Developer Job Interview
To ace your interview, you need to prove that you understand the fundamentals of blockchain technology. Typically, recruiters of blockchain developers are more concerned about what you can do than your educational background. So, having a portfolio of your existing blockchain projects helps too.
Below are some common questions you should expect during a blockchain development interview.
Common Blockchain Developer Job Interview Questions
- What are your preferred cryptographic algorithms and why?
- What is a 51 percent power consolidation account, and which blockchains are more prone to it?
- How many steps are involved in the implementation of blockchain technology? Name them.
- Do you think blockchain technology has the power to change the world? Explain your answer in detail.
What are the differences between a centralized and decentralized blockchain?
What Degree Should I Get to Become a Blockchain Developer?
You can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Blockchain Development. However, not many schools are offering standalone degrees. If you can’t find a school with one, look for a school with a computer science or software engineering program with courses dedicated to blockchain technology.
There are also online degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates you can get to become a blockchain developer.
Online Degrees in Blockchain
This is gradually becoming the most popular option for people who want to learn about blockchain technology. You may opt for an online degree in computer science. Irrespective of your previous education, you will learn everything there is to know about blockchain technology, starting from the fundamentals.
Blockchain Council offers three different online degrees for blockchain technology at affordable price points. There is an online degree in cryptocurrency trading, blockchain for business, and blockchain in general.
Bachelor’s Degree in Blockchain
A Bachelor’s Degree in Blockchain Technology is not that common, especially for those looking for standalone courses. Most universities simply add blockchain technology to their information technology or information sciences degree programs. Others offer blockchain courses to those who want to start a career in the industry.
Ivy League universities like Cornell and Duke already have blockchain labs to support their initiative. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also has a digital currency initiative.
Master’s Degree in Blockchain
If you already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related fields, you can apply for a Master’s Degree in Blockchain Technology. In addition, some schools offer interdisciplinary master’s degrees. For example, you could get a Master’s Degree in Blockchain and Distributed Technology or one in Blockchain Technology and Business.
An excellent example of a school with a Master’s Degree in Blockchain Technology is Northeastern University. This school offers a Master of Science in Information Systems with an option to specialize in blockchain technology. Another example is the University of Arkansas, which provides a degree called Master of Information Systems – Blockchain.
Blockchain Doctoral Degree
A PhD in Information Systems with a specialization in blockchain technology is an academic degree for those interested in research. You may either opt for self-funded study or apply for scholarships and grants to support your research.
There are blockchain foundations and education institutes that fund people who want to pursue advanced research into blockchain technology.
What Does a Blockchain Developer Do?
The role of a blockchain developer depends on the company and the services offered. For example, a developer hired to create a decentralized application has different responsibilities from someone hired to develop a stablecoin or cryptocurrency. It also depends on whether you’re a core blockchain developer or a blockchain software developer.
Some common tasks of blockchain developers are outlined below.
Creates Blockchain Architecture
Core blockchain developers design the foundation for blockchain technology. This foundation is called blockchain architecture, and it includes elements like nodes and blocks. Each blockchain is unique, and the type of architecture required depends on the blockchain.
EC-Council offers a Blockchain Certification Course (CBP) that covers the fundamentals of blockchain architecture. Also, 101 Blockchains offers the Certified Enterprise Blockchain Architect Course (CEBA).
Develops Cryptocurrencies and Stablecoins
Blockchain developers may also be employed or take up an entrepreneurship project to develop cryptocurrencies. After all, the first use case of blockchain technology is cryptocurrency. So, it makes sense that one of the job descriptions of blockchain developers is creating cryptocurrencies.
Coursera has a free online course for beginners who want to learn about cryptocurrencies titled Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies. The course is offered in partnership with Princeton University.
Collaborates With Managers
Blockchain developers often work with a complete team made up of many developers. Apart from working with other developers, you will need to collaborate with managers to develop strategies to improve an existing blockchain.
Blockchain developers work on things like scalability and security. Any course on collaboration and teamwork in the tech industry will help you in this regard.
Essential Blockchain Development Skills
Whether you go to school or not, learning some skills makes it easier for you to become a blockchain developer. There are online courses that can help you to pick up these skills.
Below are the top three skills for prospective blockchain developers.
You will need to use and understand cryptography. It is the most common method used by blockchain developers for encoding and decoding data. In addition, most cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, use cryptography.
You must learn how to use cryptography for sensitive data during cryptocurrency mining and when you want to generate private-to-public blockchain keys. In collaboration with Stanford, Coursera has an online cryptography course that offers a certificate of completion.
Most blockchain developers were initially software developers. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a core blockchain developer or blockchain software developer. Start by learning software development today.
You can take free software development classes or attend a software development bootcamp for the proper training. Some of the best software development bootcamps are BrainStation, App Academy, General Assembly, and Code Fellows.
Data Structures and Algorithms
Since blockchain is a type of database that stores information in blocks, you must understand data structures. Learn how traditional databases are different from digital ledgers. Learning about algorithms will also help you in your endeavors.
Pluralsight offers courses on algorithms and data structures for beginners. UC San Diego also has a series on Coursera called Data Structures and Algorithms.
How to Become a Blockchain
Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide
Becoming a blockchain developer doesn't happen overnight. However, there is a process you need to follow, and it depends significantly on self-motivation and self-learning. Below is a five-step guide to becoming a blockchain developer.
Learn How to Code
If you’ve heard anything about blockchain technology, then you know that its development is meant for people with a strong foundation in computer science and information technology. Specifically, you need to know how to code. Blockchains might be different from traditional software, but coding is coding.
Come up With a Use Case
If you are an independent developer, you need to develop a blockchain that solves real-world problems. The more use cases the blockchain has, the more likely it is to succeed. It’s also going to be easier to get funding for your project if you present use cases.
Take a Course on Distributed Ledger Technologies
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is not a new technological innovation. Instead, it is a form of distributed computing that every prospective blockchain developer must know. Blockchain is one of the most popular applications of DLT, but it is not the only one.
Build an App on an Existing Blockchain
Blockchains like Ethereum and Tezos welcome developers who want to build decentralized applications without creating a blockchain. For example, EOS was initially based on the Ethereum blockchain before it migrated a few years ago. So, when you’ve got the skills you need, build a simple application or two to showcase on your portfolio.
Apply for a Job or Look for Investors
With your portfolio in check, you can look for investors to fund your project or look for people to help you promote an initial public offering (IPO). If your dream is to work in an already established blockchain company or a company in need of a blockchain developer, you can start applying for jobs at this point.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Blockchain Developer?
It will take two to five years to become a paralegal. If you are getting an associate degree, you will only have to spend two years. A bachelor’s degree will take four or five years to complete. In either case, you may also want to spend a few months to a year in an internship, where you will apply your paralegal knowledge.
Should You Become a Blockchain Developer in 2021?
Yes, you should consider becoming a blockchain developer in 2021. It’s a good option if you like being at the center of technological innovation. Besides working with others, you can become a blockchain entrepreneur and make a name for yourself by developing a blockchain with real-world use cases.
If your primary concern is salary prospects, a career in blockchain development will benefit you as well. There is currently a skill shortage in the US and other parts of the world for blockchain experts. So, companies and governments are willing to pay developers well to work for them.
Blockchain Developer FAQ
Who created the first blockchain?
Satoshis Nakamoto. The first blockchain was created as the foundational technology for Bitcoin. To this day, no one knows the real identity of the developer or developers involved in designing Bitcoin’s original protocol. However, Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym the developer(s) used to communicate with the community until they went dark in 2011.
Are cryptocurrencies the only application of blockchain technology?
No, they aren’t. While cryptocurrencies and other financial use cases are the most popular applications of blockchain technology, they aren’t the only options. For example, blockchains can be used for trade processing, data management, record-keeping, supply chain management, and onboarding.
Are all blockchains decentralized?
No, not all blockchains are decentralized. Only public blockchains are decentralized. For example, Adoriasoft, OpenXcell, and Unicsoft have private blockchains that only members of the institution can access. These blockchains are centralized.
Can I work remotely as a blockchain developer?
Yes, you can. Blockchain developers do most of their work on Internet-based technology. So, you can get a 100 percent remote position or opt for a hybrid working environment. In addition, some blockchain developers work in companies that aren’t in the same city or state where they reside.