I’m an open source learner: I like to share the knowledge I’m acquiring. A lot of people want to know how to find a job in blockchain, and I have a few tips to share. I’ll start by asserting that blockchain is in its early days but that the juggernaut technology unleashed upon the world by the invention of Bitcoin in 2009 is starting to make its general-purpose potential felt and known. Those who are curious about how and whether they can pivot into the industry while it’s still this young should take heart: there’s a lot of opportunity ahead. Sure, blockchain is an experiment without a verdict. Sure, some, especially Bitcoin maximalists, say the tech will only find longevity and utility in the brilliant economic policy and architecture of the Bitcoin blockchain, the implication being that blockchains like Ethereum and others being used by hundreds of enterprises and startups won’t be around for much longer (or their jobs).
However, many others view blockchain as a foundational technological instrument that we’ve only just begun to make economic and non-economic music with. In the latest edition of MIT Technology Review, the front cover sports the word “Blockchain” in big letters. Beneath that are two boxes. One box reads “HYPE”. The other box reads “HOPE”. Overlapping at the intersection of the two is a much smaller square, with an arrow pointing at it. The arrow reads, simply: “The future is here.” It’s a nice symbol that at the intersection of hype and hope, an ever-growing box of opportunity now sits for the job-seeker to search. There’s no time like the present to dive in, because nobody knows when a blockchain-based “killer app” will come along or when a good time to dive into the industry is. So why wait?
Those who are curious about how and whether they can pivot into the industry while it’s still this young should take heart: there’s a lot of opportunity ahead.
Before We Start: Where to Look? The Devil is Definitely in the Details
Here’s my opening advice to the aspiring blockchainist: find companies building core infrastructure technology if you can, especially protocols and layer two technologies. Let me provide some context.
Because blockchains are still so young, and all companies creating blockchain solutions are building on one of the available blockchains, the most important and far-reaching work in the industry is currently happening behind the scenes, in the design of back-end infrastructure. These protocols and layers will be the building blocks companies are going to use to implement a variety of tech into their blockchain solution stacks. Are companies interested in such projects? According to Deloitte in a recent poll of 1,053 companies from around the world, yes:
- 43% (452) said they view blockchain as a top 5 strategic priority, and
- 29% (305) said blockchain was not critical yet important to their business
Not only that, of the companies already active with blockchain proof of concepts and implementations in production, 52% are focused on permissioned blockchains, 44% on private (internal) blockchains, 44% on public blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others), and 35% on consortium blockchains. In terms of infrastructure, despite this diversity of approaches, what all these companies have in common is that they need back-end tech to create front-end solutions to their problems. So if you’re able, find a company “building out the plumbing” of blockchain. Be a plumber. Soon there will be a need for the masons, carpenters, roofers, electricians, painters, interior designers, and landscapers, too. But first we need interoperability standards, scalability mechanisms, context-specific consensus algorithms, on-device key management, hardware enclaves, ASICs specializing in private key cryptography and security, industrial-grade IoT-to-blockchain bridges, and other “early-day infra”.
These protocols and layers will be the building blocks companies are going to use to implement a variety of tech into their blockchain solution stacks.
But As with All Things Blockchain, DYOR (Do Your Own Research)
The caveat to the above is that not all buildings go up at the same speed, and they’re certainly not all built at the same time. There are thousands of blockchain startups and companies worldwide building a blockchain project of some form (and currently seeking to fill 1,500 positions), and they’re not all building infrastructure. Also, not every company has the same current hiring horizon: one company building self-sovereign identity technology might be hiring marketing teams for its two year-old project, whereas a newer company in the same space might be more focused on hiring back-end developers to build out its tech over the coming year. Then there are historical industries by geography: London and New York may have more fintech jobs, Connecticut might lean more towards insurance tech, Research Triangle and Boston might have more biotech-focused blockchain pilots, and so on.
Political and legislative factors might also influence local opportunities: Wyoming, Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, and Vermont are among the states in the U.S. with the most blockchain-forward legislation, which might attract startups; the State of Illinois has already used blockchains to digitize land titles and launched an Illinois Blockchain Initiative in 2016; and Germany has a HODL law whereby owners of crypto pay no capital gains tax upon selling BTC, ETH LTC, XRP, and other altcoins if their owners don’t sell the crypto for a year. These localized differences might translate into differences in job prospects.
So if your heart is set on making the leap, here are some tips to help you land a job in blockchain.
To be credible in conversations when networking, or during interviews, you need to at a very minimum develop situational fluency with some core concepts and terminology in this industry so that you can build meaningful relationships (see the next section, “Second, Get to Know the Founders and Developers of Startups in your City”). Working in your favor is the sheer amount of learning material on the web. Working against you is that “blockchain moves in dog-years”, therefore the clock to accrue an early mover advantage is ticking faster by the day. For perspective, the Ethereum Virtual Machine is three years old, yet it is already making global waves in the developer community, in businesses, and in governments because of its advanced smart contract capabilities. Three years is ancient in blockchain time, so an Ethereum-based company will likely expect an interviewer to be familiar with what Ethereum is and does. Therefore, you need to study, and to study, you need a foundation. My advice to any job-seeking blockchain newcomer is to invest, at a minimum, 5–20 hours to internalize every part of the following Merriam-Webster definition of blockchain:
BLOCKCHAIN: a digital database containing information that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network; also the technology used to create such a database.
The reason it could take five to 20 hours to understand every part of that sentence is that those 29 words contain a lot of information that, unless you have a technical or computer science background, may take you a while to digest and develop fluency around.
Source - Read More at: blog.usejournal.com