Over the past few years, developers of the blockchain technology have evolved from representatives of a narrowly focused specialization into professionals highly demanded on the market. Thus, according to the TechCrunch publication, to date, specialists working with blockchain rank second in growth in demand on the international labor market, and there are about 14 vacancies around the world for each blockchain developer.
Blockchain Developers and the Labor Market
The rapid growth in the demand for blockchain developers was first noted last year. Bitcoin developers took the first place in demand among the top 20 list of the most popular professions on the Upwork platform for searching and hiring remote employees in 2017. The demand for blockchain developers had grown by 700% on the Toptal website for freelancers from January 2017 to January 2018. Moreover, 93% of the Toptal platform developers surveyed indicated that they planned to receive additional education for working with distributed ledger technology since the average salary of a programmer with such knowledge in the US is at the level of $130 thousand per year. In Switzerland, salaries of specialists in the development of blockchain networks are from $120 to $180 thousand per year, and in the UK, beginning blockchain developers get paid about $50 to 60 thousand, and experienced ones earn from $90 to $140 thousand per year.
A similar situation has developed in the Russian labor market, where more and more companies are interested in hiring blockchain developers. According to the HeadHunter recruiting agency, in 2017, 484 vacancies were submitted for blockchain specialists, while in 2016 there were no such offers at all. In connection with such a high level of demand, the minimum monthly salary of a blockchain developer in Russia starts from 250 thousand rubles, while experienced specialists are offered about 400 thousand, and the mention of blockchain in resume raises the cost of the employee by 25%.
Where Is the Highest Demand for Blockchain Developers?
If we talk about traditional business areas, the greatest demand for blockchain developers is noted in the financial sector. Large banks and financial institutions have long recognized the technology of distributed ledger as an optimal system that can reduce costs, accelerate transactions, and improve the security of networks.
To date, companies such as American Express and MoneyGram have already integrated and are using the Ripple technologies to provide instant international money transfers. The MasterCard payment system plans to integrate its own blockchain network as an alternative method of payment for goods and services, and its competitor, Visa, in November last year, presented at the Fintech festival in Singapore a pilot version of a blockchain-powered payment system for cross-border corporate payments B2B Connect. At the same time, the financial holding company JP Morgan Chase in the fall of 2017, announced the launch of an inter-bank information network based on the Quorum blockchain.
Moreover, large financial companies are merged into blockchain consortia to search for and implement solutions based on a distributed ledger in their sector. Since 2015, the R3 consortium on the Corda platform has been operating in the market. It includes financial giants such as UBS Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc., Bank of America Corp., Thomson Reuters Corp., as well as the Russian Qiwi. And in October of last year, R3 opened a representative office in Russia on the basis of fintech startup accelerator Fintech Lab. Alexey Blagirev, the Head of Innovations at Public Joint-Stock Company Bank Otkritie Financial Corporation, was appointed the head of the project for the development of Corda in Russia and the cooperation of R3.
IBM is also taking an active role in the development of services on blockchain, being one of the world's largest manufacturers and suppliers of hardware and software, as well as IT services and consulting services. IBM is preparing to take advantage of blockchain for goods tracking and shipping systems and to use the distributed ledger network in "smart homes" and the "Internet of Things." On March 22, it became known that Google was engaged in the development of its own blockchain to support the cloud service.
The Most Demanded Directions in Blockchain Development
As for the crypto markets represented by ICO projects, crypto exchanges, and crypto companies, according to the industry report at the beginning of 2018, representatives of this industry are interested in hiring developers with knowledge of the C++ programming language and Go, who are able to create smart contracts and also know how to work with the Ripple protocol. Michiel Mulders, a blockchain developer who worked with BigchainDB, Hyperledger Fabric, Stellar, and Ethereum, named the three most sought-after areas for blockchain specialists:
Solidity is a high-level programming language created and used in the Ethereum blockchain for writing and launching smart contracts. Solidity allows developers to create self-contained applications that contain business logic resulting in unrecoverable transactional records on the blockchain.
Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source project run by the Linux Foundation. The aim of the project is to create an alternative blockchain system that will help achieve a new level of automation and transparency in areas such as finance, banking, the Internet of Things, logistics, production, and technology.
Ripple is not only a cryptocurrency and a platform for payment systems, but also a protocol used for making payments and exchanging and transferring funds. Thanks to this protocol, the Ripple platform allows one to transfer almost any currency to anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.
The Gap Between Supply and Demand
Given that the blockchain technology was presented only ten years ago, even a high level of demand cannot contribute to a rapid increase in the number and quality of specialists. Nevertheless, the developers themselves are working hard to solve this problem. So, in addition to specialized paid courses, for developers there are:
Among the most popular solutions for developers are educational Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which offer online programs on blockchain. Massive open online courses appeared in the field of distance learning back in 2008, but became really popular in 2012, when projects such as Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy began attracting a large number of users. Among the few MOOCs aimed at studying blockchain and cryptocurrencies for developers, there are often free programs such as Blockchain Initiative, Coursera's Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, and Blockchain for Business by the blockchain project Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation.
DApps for Beginners
For those who wish to study the process of building and launching DApps, or decentralized applications based on Ethereum, the Dapps for Beginners site contains a detailed guide for developers. Here, everyone can get acquainted with 14 materials fully covering the development of DApps and their subsequent launch.
iOlite Smart Contract Platform
Also, the iOlite project is preparing to enter the market along with the launch of a specialized blockchain platform for writing smart contracts. The key goal of iOlite is to provide a unique information system the users of which would be able to independently write smart contracts in any programming language. Also, users directly participate in the development of the platform. To achieve this, the platform will use the machine learning technique, and the iOlite ecosystem will be integrated into popular software development environments, such as Visual Studio and Eclipse, thanks to a special plugin.