6 Steps to Become a Blockchain Engineer in 2022
Blockchain technology began with the introduction of bitcoin in 2008 and has since expanded into a variety of industries and sectors. It is a database that acts as a ledger for information provided through transactions and does not require third-party verification. Blocks of data are linked like chains to form data that can not be deleted or modified.
The integration of blockchain across so many other industries has increased the need for engineers specializing in this technology. Engineers use this technology to design and execute digital solutions for companies. This important database ensures that information can be shared over the internet without the risk of being copied. These engineers must be able to identify, develop, and incorporate solutions that work best for individual companies and recognize that every company may require a different solution. They are highly skilled and require an extensive knowledge base.
Some of the skills that are needed to adequately perform this role are:
Understand different blockchain ecosystems and their standards. Ethereum, Hyperledger, Quorum, and Corda are a few ecosystems that are used in different settings. Each has its own set of standards and uses that make them appropriate for different types of businesses. For example, Ethereum has both private and public networks and is adopted by companies such as Amazon and J.P. Morgan. Hyperledger is private and requires permissions and is used by companies such as PayPal. Businesses will require different ecosystems based on their requirements and needs.
Proficiency in blockchain development tools. Tools such as Remix and Truffler allow for more efficiency in this role. Remix allows for smart contracts to be created and distributed. Truffle is a tool that provides a framework as well as a library to help in many aspects of blockchain development.
Ability to utilize cryptographic methods. In order to protect information from unauthorized users, cryptography is necessary for engineers utilizing this tech.
Understand the differences in platforms and their specific architecture. Blockchain platforms include public, private, federated, consortium, and more. Engineers must know which platform is best for an individual business and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Knowledge of interoperability. Moving into the future, engineers are working increasing on the interoperability of blockchain networks. This allows networks to “talk” to each other in order to share data. Interoperability is becoming even more important as industries outside of bitcoin are utilizing this application.
Ability to incorporate data structures. Along with cryptography, data structures help to ensure data shared is kept secure and only visible to authorized users.
Ability to develop smart contracts. Smart contracts use programming languages to designate the terms of the blockchain and processes of interactions. For example, in e-commerce, a supplier can be paid directly after a consumer purchases their goods. This automatic chain of events is part of the smart contract that identifies the terms and relationships of the users.
Front-end and back-end development basics. While blockchain engineers are necessarily required to do all of the development, employers like them to have a working knowledge of both the back-end and front-end processes of systems and networks.
While some people can enter this field with extensive practical experience with software development, most employers require a degree in computer science engineering or a related field. Certifications are a great way to specifically learn the skills needed for this profession and show employers your level of knowledge and expertise, beyond a computer science degree.
Bootcamps are a great option for obtaining the skills needed to specialize in this technology and are available in a variety of formats and timelines so you can find the one that is best for you.
Depending on your background, the time it takes to enter this field varies. A bachelor’s degree requires four to five years on average to obtain. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, a bootcamp is a great option to focus on skills needed for this particular career. Most bootcamps are eight to 36 weeks long, depending on their curriculums and learning formats.
Most companies want candidates that have a solid background in computer science to prove that they understand the inner workings of systems and all aspects of networks, software, development, and more.
In order to work in this field, you must be able to decide which ecosystem and tools are appropriate for each business and industry. Research on the different platforms, ecosystems, and tools as well as practice creating blockchains with them will help you become an expert in this field.
Programming languages are a must in this line of work and proficiency in at least Python, Java, and C++, and Solidity are needed in order to perform work for most companies. The languages are used to write smart contracts, incorporate security protocols, and more.
Blockchain’s main purpose is to create security and this is done through the use of data structures and cryptography. Cryptography is important so that authorized users can send information securely. Unauthorized users will not see the information because it is configured so that it will not be recognizable to them.
Bootcamps are offered for specific types of blockchain ecosystems, like Corda or Ethereum. They are also offered for careers such as blockchain engineers, developers, or architects. Many culminate with a certification or prepare you to obtain certification.
To show that you specialize in this growing technology, certification is a great option. Certifications are available in specific career focuses as well as a general certification.
As technology continues to evolve, the need for these engineers continues to grow, providing a positive outlook. According to Onet Online, the projected growth of computer occupations including this one is between 5-7% from 2019-2029. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the demand for software developers, in general, will be 22% from 2020-2030. Both estimates are projecting an outlook above the average growth of 4%, which is encouraging for this field in the next decade.
As more information is shared and entered online, there is an increasing need to keep data secure. Therefore, this technology is becoming imperative in nearly every industry. Not only is security a factor, but the resulting customer experience and efficiency of operations matters as well. This creates a high demand for related engineers and allows engineers to pick an industry within which to specialize according to their interests.
According to IBM, industries such as telecommunications, automotive, oil and gas, financial services, gaming, travel, healthcare, and government are only a selection of areas that need this technology.
ZipRecruiter estimated that the average salary of these engineers was around $131,208. Of course, salary varies based on geographical location and experience. Below is a chart of some of the country’s tech hubs and their average salaries for this occupation.
|New York, NY||$161,815|
|Silicon Valley, CA||$147,525|