With the shoot of bitcoin value in recent months, one industry that has caught everyone’s attention is the cryptocurrency/ blockchain technology. Does it then make sense to find an opportunity in the world of Crypto? And, have you been wondering if you need a degree to showcase your mastery of blockchain technology?
“No,” said Columbia University adjunct professor Omid Malekan. “Because that almost doesn’t exist,” he added.
How to make career in cryptocurrency?
Blockchain, a digital ledger software that tracks the global flow of all transactions in Bitcoin, has been mentioned as the top-demanded hard skill in the job market in 2020, according to an annual report in January. Malekan, a blockchain consultant for clients like Citi who teaches an MBA course on blockchain and cryptocurrencies has said in interviews that demand far outstrips supply in job postings at both crypto and non-crypto-native companies.
Even though the job market may have shifted during the COVID-19 economic downturn, it is being seen that startups are hiring aggressively for engineering help. Businesses including Walmart and JPMorgan are increasingly experimenting with new blockchain initiatives where people from non-technical are needed.
Professors, students, recruiters, and startup founders all say the same thing: formal education isn’t what it takes to get a job in this sector. The pandemic’s stress on the university business model has made the payoff of a blockchain education even more questionable. Instead, according to the experts, what these companies look for in new hires is firsthand experience such as the ability and experience of interacting with the blockchain, investing in bitcoin, or yield farming on Ethereum.
Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency that uses cryptography (a way of communicating through codes) to validate itself and to protect financial transactions. The most well-known cryptocurrency on the market is Bitcoin, the original decentralized cryptocurrency. The best way to think about Bitcoin, and Ether, and other currencies, is as a contract between buyer and seller. They represent agreements to conduct an exchange between counterparties, just as the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies have always been representations of the implicit promise of governments to uphold transactions. The big appeal is that crypto money doesn’t need to be issued by banks, and exchange rates don’t need to be controlled by a central bank. A company can create its own contracts, just like creating a new programming language. As long as counterparties will agree to uphold the contract, a whole system of transactions can be set in motion without having to be ruled by the processes of normal monetary and banking authorities.
According to data from Seen by Indeed, the cryptocurrency industry is currently severely booming. This data mentioned the most demanded roles related to cryptocurrency, skills most often listed in cryptocurrency job postings, and companies hiring the most cryptocurrency-related positions. Only after analyzing the percentage change in the share of job postings and share of job searches per million for roles related to bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain, it was revealed that between September 2015 and September 2019, the share of jobs per millions of roles grew by 1,457%. In fact, from September 2018 to September 2019, the share of cryptocurrency job postings per million increased by 26%.
Blockchain is essentially a shared digital ledger that has emerged to become a business solution in search of problems. Advocates see it as a secure, decentralized, and cost- and time-efficient way to transparently track shipments and transactions of all kinds. Skeptics, and there are many, raise concerns about the lack of standardized protocols, scalability, and excessive energy use.
The business world, however, is voting with its jobs, and companies seem to be saying that the potential is worth the gamble. Blockchain has become a line of business for a who’s who of the corporate world — IBM, Oracle, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Amazon, and American Express, to name just a few. Blockchain is now being used in industries ranging from shipping to healthcare, from farming and food safety to entertainment and gaming.
Blockchain, for example, is the most in-demand skill in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia. Other tech skills — cloud computing, analytical reasoning, AI, UX design, scientific computing — joined blockchain on the list of in-demand hard skills.
One of the most popular software engineer jobs in cryptocurrency is a blockchain engineer, which has grown by 517% year over year. As more businesses adopt blockchain and handle cryptocurrencies, these roles will continue to be in demand as reported by Hired.
Companies wanting to dive into cryptocurrency will most likely turn to senior software engineers to lead their blockchain engineering initiatives.
A high-level software developer helps select the best architecture for various business systems. Additionally, the architect helps successfully execute solutions alongside software engineers catering to blockchain initiatives if the organization is moving in that direction.
For organizations using cryptocurrency, full stack developers help with cryptocurrency and blockchain integration.
A front-end developer is a specialized web developer who focuses on the user experience part of the web experience, holding strong design capabilities that forge visually appealing elements on a site. For those companies who are focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency, front-end developers could help gear a website toward that focus.
Everyone has heard of blockchain and its related buzzwords, but they do not necessarily know what it brings. It is most pertinent to know the fundamentals of the industry either by taking up a university course or by self-reading, engaging, and learning.
Portfolios and projects will become more important as part of a candidate getting hired, says Tyler Wellner, partner at BlockVenture Coalition in an interview. “We’ll see a trend over the next 10 years that resumes start to get a bit more outdated,” he said further.
Experts say that it is very hard to find someone who can effectively market their company to those folks and skilled developers alike.
One needs to speak the language of the crypto-native while empathizing with mainstream users’ general lack of caring about the fact your product uses blockchain.
Anthony DiPrinzio, head of BASF Blockchain Lab, works to find the right use cases and business models around blockchain technology for the company to pursue. In an interview, he said, “A lot of people get caught up in the hype” of using the technology but they need to understand blockchain doesn’t solve all the problems.” It’s essential to understand how blockchain is being used in the market before pitching a new idea.
Conferences, which bring together companies, investors, influencers and newbies, are major forums for the crypto community where new ideas are exchanged and decisions are made. These conferences, especially being virtual, are great opportunities to chat with people, network and give you a point of reference.