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How to get a job as a blockchain developer or engineer

Matthew Finnegan | May 25, 2016
Why demand for distributed ledger expertise is on the rise.

Blockchain jobs: You don't have to be a cryptography expert

There a variety of blockchain related roles that businesses are hiring for. For some this means taking on leading experts with experience of creating and running distributed ledger systems in production.

But often a large corporate will build a team around a core of blockchain experts. In this case all that is needed in addition to strong software development or engineering skills is a solid understanding of the principles around blockchain systems.

"It is going to be a lot of the same skills you need for building more traditional technology," says Nick Williamson, CEO of blockchain platform as a service startup, Credits, which has been working with public sector service provider Skyscape.

"It is just that, because you are building a cryptographic system, you are going to need to be that much more aware of the depth of technology."

Of course, Blockchain is just one piece of a typical technology stack. Engineers that specialise in networking or security, for instance, play a vital part alongside those with core software development skills.

"You have also got people that are actually probably more conventionally thinking about how they get the services from the cloud, for example," says PwC's Webb. "If I am going to use cloud computing to get different parts of the way that I stand my blockchain up, how do I do that?"

He adds: "So you have the infrastructure part, the core deep coders and then you have people thinking about how does the UI work and what does the application look like."

An awareness of modern technology tools such as Docker containers and microservice architectures are a plus too.

Williamson at Credits adds: "When you start looking at some of the more traditional skillsets that map well to building the infrastructure side of blockchain - anyone who has worked on distributed systems or who has worked extensively on large scale microservices architectures, those skillsets are going to come in very handy."

Blockchain jobs: What skills do you need?

That said, there are certain specific skills that are beneficial.

Polyglot software engineers - those able to code in a number of languages - are preferred. Knowledge of Java and C++ appear as a requisite in many job listings, for instance.

Zeth Couceiro at specialist technology recruitment firm Opus says: "They are normally tech stack agnostic, they just need strong programming skills - ideally someone who has programmed in two languages in conjunction or is comfortable with multiple languages and large datasets."

An understanding of cryptography is useful too. "Interestingly, people [who have worked for agencies such as] GCHQ or people with strong cryptography backgrounds make good [blockchain developers]."


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