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How to Build a Career in Blockchain

How to Build a Career in Blockchain

How to Build a Career in Blockchain

Over the past 18 months, blockchain has leapt onto the world stage and presented itself as the next-generation solution to many of the tech industry's most pressing problems. It has received influential endorsements from government leaders, industry giants and ambitious entrepreneurs, an unprecedented recognition of the technology's prowess.

To be sure, they were not wrong. Originally developed to explain the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain is now one of the most dynamic technologies today. As The New York Times wrote in mid-January, “The Bitcoin bubble may finally distract from what blockchain really means.”

 According to global freelance exchange Upwork, in the first quarter of 2018, blockchain-related skills were the most popular skills on its platform. 

Of course, blockchain technology is a new field of work, and there is no one tried and true path to success. Children have not heard of this technology from an early age, while developing the ambition to work on this novel technology. Therefore, career paths in blockchain are as new and innovative as the technology itself.

Traditional paths may not be suitable.

For decades, high school students have had a less traveled path with a relatively simple formula: Do well enough in high school to go to college, earn a degree in a desirable field and get a well-paying job. A college degree is seen as the promise of a high-paying, stable job.

Lately, the promise has seemed more like a motto. In 2013, The Washington Post wrote: "Only 27 percent of college graduates have a job related to their major." Meanwhile, college graduates leave school with unprecedented levels of debt. The average student college graduate has more than $37,000 in student debt. Overall, U.S. student debt is close to $1.5 trillion. In a surprising study, Citizens Financial Group found that college graduates spend a fifth of their salaries on student debt and continue to do so for nearly two decades after graduation .

Interestingly, as the labor market tightens and companies struggle to find candidates with a bachelor's degree, there is a growing consensus that a candidate's skills are more important than his or her formal education. Deloitte, a research and consulting firm with strong ties to the blockchain industry, backs the assessment. A 2017 study by Deloitte found that “aspiring workers should realize that a bachelor’s degree is not important to their future. A bachelor’s degree is just a piece of paper in itself. It’s more about skills and careers. When it comes to employment, That's the real goal of education."

In many ways, this is not a particularly shrewd observation. There are plenty of successful people who have viable, even extraordinary careers without getting a bachelor's degree.

Blockchain Education

Clearly, those looking for a career in blockchain technology will follow a different script than the tech entrepreneurs before them. With that in mind, what is the best way to strategically build a career in blockchain technology?

What the blockchain industry needs are people who are constantly developing their skills and keeping up with the progress of the industry. Blockchain enthusiasts can take steps to start developing their careers without having to enroll in traditional college courses or attend expensive seminars.

1. Build the foundation.
Blockchain is unlike any other technology available. Understanding its unique value proposition is a key cornerstone of blockchain education. Features like decentralization, smart contracts, and Dapps aren’t just buzzwords. They are the essence of blockchain, and any successful blockchain professional will know them closely.

More technical skills also form the basis for blockchain developers. JavaScript for web development and Solidity (a popular programming language for building smart contracts) is a good place to start. These skills not only contribute to blockchain education, but also enable learners to become freelancers while learning to develop the remaining blockchain-related skills.

A level of formal education might help in this case, but that doesn't mean aspiring blockchain developers need to go to college. Instead, online education platforms and the like offer comprehensive courses.

2. Consider cytography.
Assets are increasingly moving online, underscoring the importance of cryptography. Blockchain is known for its ability to secure and secure these assets, and it relies on cryptography to achieve this. Encryption, if used inappropriately, can have devastating consequences for companies that rely on it.

Advanced cryptography training is available online from reputable, affordable venues such as ecoursera and Udacity.

3. Understand the theory and application of distributed computing.
Distributed computing is no longer a theory. In an era where reliability and security are two of the most pressing issues facing technology proliferation, distributed computing is the solution for blockchain. However, this is far from an elegant practice. There are still many areas that need solutions. For example, issues of scalability and excessive energy consumption continue to plague its implementation. Students of blockchain technology need to study these problems so that they can later start developing solutions to the problems.

4. Maintain community management.
The blockchain and the cryptocurrencies it supports are unique to their active community, which helps encourage their growth and popularity. There are hundreds of new cryptocurrency projects that can serve as on-the-job training mechanisms for blockchain students.

Connect with reputable, verifiable blockchain startups and serve you through community outreach, which includes event organization, discussion leadership, and other engagement-oriented events. While not a perceptible skill, it is an opportunity to interact and network with people in the field, while also gaining personal insight into the industry and its community. This is a tangible way to start getting involved in a blockchain-based career.

5. Forge your own path.
The blockchain job market is booming, and those wishing to get involved can follow their own path to success. These DIY strategies can simplify the process and make it more feasible for just about anyone to try, rather than spending years in an academic institution preparing for a blockchain career. The market is booming and the opportunity is there.