Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably by now heard the terms ‘bitcoin’ and ‘blockchain’ be mentioned in the news, by the water cooler or online. You’ve hopefully got a vague understanding of crypto currency but you might be wondering what all the hype is about, how it all fits together and who is responsible for it all.
Blockchain developers are behind the creation and development of the technology and its increasing proliferation and many new applications in hundreds off industries. It is the new hot job category in IT and technology and in extremely high demand, but the understanding of what the job entails is lacking, even amongst developer crowds.
If you’re looking to understand what it is that a ‘blockchain developer’ does then firstly we should establish what it is that these terms all mean. Read on below to find out more about blockchain developers.
What is blockchain?
A blockchain in its most basic sense is an online digital ledger that records transaction information. Blockchain is a decentralised peer network that creates a permanent record of transactions, unlike centralised systems there is no need for a middleman. This means that blockchain is more secure as it doesn’t put you information or money into the hands of a third party.
It’s most often associated with cryptocurrency as that is its most popular use – whilst all cryptocurrencies are blockchains, it’s not the only use for a blockchain. Blockchain is famous for revolutionising cryptocurrency because it solved the issue of cryptocurrency being easy to tamper with. Blockchain’s can be used for just about any transaction and it’s being discovered by many new industries today.
The thing that makes the blockchain so attractive and the reason it is gaining popularity as a technology is that it only allows users to append information to it. Older information can never be deleted or tampered with, this makes blockchain very secure and handy for securing transactions and its potential for areas such as banking and security is now beginning to be recognised.
Blockchain has the potential to make things such as local and international transactions faster and cheaper, identity verification more efficient and it can cut out the middleman for many industries such as the entertainment industry.
What is a blockchain developer?
The rise in popularity for blockchain has meant that there is an increasing demand for blockchain developers.
With so many different kinds of developers out there, it kind of confusing to try and understand what it is that blockchain developers are.
Essentially, blockchain developers are basically responsible for creating, implementing and maintaining distributed blockchain networks.
Anyone who is involved in blockchain design and implementation can usually be called a blockchain developer.
There are actually two main types of blockchain developers, those who create the core security and architecture of the blockchain for others to build on and software developers who develop decentralised applications.
What do blockchain developers do?
So what does the daily role of a blockchain developer entail?
Most blockchain developers are responsible for front and back end development, smart contract management and design and decentralisation of data and architecture.
Core block chain developers will usually design the blockchain protocols, design consensus protocols and security patterns for the network, design network architecture and supervise the entire network in their roles.
Software developers use the architecture created by the core block chain developers to develop decentralised apps.
The role is complex but increasingly being sought out as industries and entrepreneurs look to capitalise on blockchain technology. The role involves high level analysis, development, testing, design and debugging skills, as well as knowledge of multiple operating systems, platforms and programming languages.
Challenges include working within legacy infrastructure and understanding the technical needs of projects or utilising a skillset that falls outside traditional IT or development skillsets.
What skills are required?
The role of blockchain developer job requires a high level of technical skills and ability. Some of the key skills that block chain developers must have include;
Knowledge of blockchain architecture
The newness of blockchain technology means that blockchain concepts are not yet part of the bread and butter IT and software development skillset. Blockchain developers have to have a highly specialised understanding of blockchain specific concepts such as consensus and distributed ledger technology to be effective in the role.
They should understand the ins-and-outs of the technology and be able to understand the future potential of the technology and wider importance of blockchain to different industries.
Data Structures are a big element of the daily role of a blockchain developer and is essential to building secure systems. A poor understanding of data structures will make for a poor blockchain developers, as data structures are regularly tweaked and worked on to fit network requirements.
A high level of cryptographic knowledge is essential for blockchain development. Cryptography is essential to blockchain as it’s the component that makes it secure and builds the chain, without cryptography skills a developer will not be able to generate digital signatures or understand how the architecture of the blockchain works.
Smart Contracts are the new buzzword in the world of blockchain and it is generally included in most blockchain development nowadays. Smart contracts are basically a way for business processes and agreements to be stored on the blockchain ledger. Many blockchain developers are now learning smart contract specific languages and skills as this has become a hot commodity for industries like finance and the property industry.
Front and back-end web development skills are essential for blockchain developers to create decentralised applications. This is the skill that most blockchain developers will start with when beginning on their journey to blockchain development.
How much do blockchain developers make?
Blockchain developers are highly sought after and the salaries are reflective of this reality. Salaries commanded in the US are upwards of $175 k and in Australia can easily be in a similar income bracket.
Blockchain developers do very well salary wise!
What education do they have?
Blockchain developers are most typically computer science majors, software engineers or IT specialists. They are intelligent people even without any degree. The relatively new status means that there are yet specific degree courses or units for blockchain developers, but there are courses and certifications that are beginning to come out for those interested in a career in blockchain.
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about what it is that blockchain developers do and the technology that they work with.
The potential of Blockchain is enormous and the technology will revolutionise the way we do things in many industries, so it’s important to understand what exactly goes into the daily role of the people who design and implement it.
As blockchain technology continues to grow the demand for developers will only continue to rise, so it’s important to get the word out there about what exactly the technology is and how to get into.
An exciting future awaits future developers and existing developers have endless opportunities to be a part of the blockchain revolution with excellent salaries and job benefits as an added perk.
Hopefully this article has been helpful in explaining what it is that blockchain developers do.