Technology is one of the sectors that has thrived during the coronavirus pandemic. Blockchain, which was already growing rapidly before the virus struck, has proven particularly successful. Crypto and blockchain jobs are now advertised in large numbers on major recruitment sites – and demand outstrips the supply of qualified individuals.
Thanks to this mismatch in demand, salaries for blockchain jobs are significantly higher than for comparable roles in other sectors. While it’s hard to generalise due to the diverse nature of the space, it’s normal to expect a 15-20% pay bump if you move into blockchain from another role. At the bottom end of the scale, internships are more likely to be paid than unpaid, and even entry-level blockchain jobs can come with a decent salary. For the most specialised roles, salaries of $175,000 and even higher are regularly advertised.
The blockchain sector occupies an interesting position in the jobs market. Blockchain technology is now well enough established that it’s possible to find jobs via conventional means; at the same time, the blockchain world is still small enough, informal enough, and still enough of a grassroots phenomenon that it’s also possible to find (or create) opportunities far more informally.
- Formal recruitment. There are plenty of blockchain jobs to be found on major recruitment portals and networking sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and so on. You’ll need to go through the conventional process of updating and submitting your CV, gaining references, going through interviews, and so on. It’s no different to the way you’d find any other job.
- Finding entry-level blockchain jobs. Alternatively, you can go for the grassroots approach and look for part-time roles and gig work. There are many, many crypto communities in which bounties are offered and competent self-starters can pick up work – often leading to more permanent positions..
There’s no shortage of specialist blockchain jobs that require in-depth knowledge of the different technologies in play, from cryptography and consensus algorithms to smart contract programming. There are also lots of roles for those who are proficient in another relevant area, such as UX or web development, plus communications and marketing roles for individuals who know their way around the sector but are not necessarily technical experts. Below are 15 examples of the kinds of vacancies companies are looking to fill.
- Blockchain developers create the distributed ledger software that underpins cryptocurrencies and decentralised applications, building new blockchain platforms.
- Blockchain engineers create apps using the blockchain in some form, though there is significant variation in how this looks in practice.
- Smart contracts developers build decentralised applications (dApps), writing smart contract code (often Ethereum’s Solidity) that executes on the blockchain.
- Backend devs take care of the processes that take place server-side, between the database (in this case the blockchain) and a website or other interface.
- Frontend devs deal with the user-facing side of the application – a website or app.
- UI/UX experts design and build the interfaces users employ to access the services.
- Project managers are a link between the company and its needs, and the team of blockchain devs who build the required software.
- Quality engineers conduct automated and manual testing of all elements of a blockchain system or app to ensure proper functioning.
- Data scientists parse and analyse the wealth of data provided by blockchain end-users to provide commercial and other insights.
- Community managers act as a point of contact between a blockchain project’s official team and its global community of users, token owners and other stakeholders.
- Marketing managers oversee the many different means by which blockchain projects seek to gain publicity, new users, partners and investors.
- Communications roles come in many forms, from social media experts to white paper writers and bloggers.
- Business analysts devise business strategies and aim to understand the improvements required for blockchain apps/products to be successful.
- Blockchain lawyers provide legal counsel on every aspect of a project, including the vital role of ensuring a company and its people do not fall foul of the fast-evolving regulation surrounding the blockchain and crypto space.
- Compliance officers help the project maintain compliance with existing financial regulation, fintech and blockchain best practices, and so on.
Even five years ago trying to carve out a career in blockchain was an uncertain business. The sector was new and promising, but lacked any kind of track record. Additionally, there was no clear regulatory framework within which the majority of companies and organisations could operate.
Today, the situation is very different. Cryptocurrency has become well established as an asset class, and the benefits of blockchain technology are becoming clearer all the time. Major corporations are investing in blockchain research programmes, and more and more applications and use cases are being developed. Blockchain has ‘crossed the Rubicon’: it has gained critical mass and will not disappear overnight, as many critics claimed it would a few years ago.
Ultimately, blockchain is a database, an information storage and retrieval system – one that offers qualitative benefits over centralised approaches. It is one of the basic infrastructure layers for Web3 and the internet services of the future. Blockchain will not disappear any more than social networking, the cloud, email or the internet itself will do.
The direction of travel is clear: blockchain will continue to gain traction, with greater numbers of users and advocates. The technology will continue to evolve and become more effective, with more and more powerful functionality. Seeking a career in the blockchain sector offers a rewarding way to contribute to the success of these technologies and the movement that has grown up around them.