The blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem has been making a lot of waves around. And just like the internet, search engines, and the entire dot-com era, the blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies are here to stay. But there is one single problem that is still hindering the sector: the availability of the right expertise, especially software engineers to create blockchain-based, decentralized systems. These new technologies, will no doubt, have a significant impact on the software engineering career.
This article will guide any software engineer through the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry and how they can keep themselves abreast of this new invention and become developers if they so wish. But before that:
What are blockchains and cryptocurrencies?
The blockchain is a ledger that has incorruptible capabilities and records not just transactions, but virtually everything of value on a continuously growing database known as blocks and secured through cryptography. It is decentralized, meaning no central authority controls the blockchain. It is also immutable – records done on the blockchain cannot be altered, making it a big technology to contend with.
Cryptocurrency – a cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is used as a form of exchange, a trading asset, uses cryptography and the blockchain technology to build and verify the creation of new cyber coins and to record transactions on the blockchain. New cryptocurrencies are created through mining, timestamped, and kept on the block forever.
Why should software engineers be interested?
From EdgeList to the smallest developer job board, the demand for software engineers in the creation of blockchain-based apps, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts is increasing each day. Additionally, the sector is one of the fastest-growing fields of technology that needs engineers. For the past 2 years, many companies, both big and small have ventured into this new technology, with the UK government, IBM, and other big names all taking part in the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution.
The revolutionary nature of this technology and how it is entering our entire life from business to finance, from governance to the economy, and from health to supply chain, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies are everywhere. This behooves on software engineers to ensure that they follow the sector and make good use of new inventions. But how does a software engineer identify the possible areas that this new technology is revolutionizing?
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Development – Where software Engineers will be needed
Though these new technologies are revolutionizing almost every sector, there are current and future sectors where software engineers are needed most to develop decentralized applications. These sectors include:
Banking and other finance Firms:
Cryptocurrencies have been disruptive forces against big banks and the momentum is not stopping. As such, banks and other financial institutions will need a lot of software engineers in the cryptocurrency development ecosystem for the creation of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based systems.
This sector has already seen big names like UBS, BBVA, and Barclay’s researching and working closely with other blockchain development platforms like Ethereum to build and launch decentralized applications called Dapps. Software engineers will be needed to build these apps, sparking the industry.
Consortiums and startups in the blockchain world
At the crux of the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem are blockchain startups. There are a lot of companies in this space, some offering state-of-the-art blockchain-based foundational blocks, where many other blockchain-based systems are built. Examples include Eris and Ethereum. Some other companies focus on building blockchains and cryptocurrencies for businesses whiles others focus more on the financial sector.
In all that fuss is the need for more software engineers. As IBM, Ethereum, and Eris create both business and foundational blocks for the blockchain world, software engineers will be needed to design the needed ecosystem for applications to thrive.
There are many technology firms that are also creating the next big things in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. Whiles companies like Ethereum, BlockStarter, and others are centered on building developer platforms for decentralized apps and ICOs, other tech companies like Microsoft, the Linux Foundation, and IBM are centered on satisfying the business class with modern, decentralized tools through the blockchain. These companies, viewing the entire market with a “blockchain-as-a-service” lens, are geared towards leveraging other technologies, including Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics, to ensure a comprehensive approach to solving business and global problems.
Whether it is Microsoft, IBM, or the Linux Foundation, software engineers will be in high demand so as to put the industry on its toes. There are currently not enough developers on Ethereum’s Solidity, which is the programming language used by Ethereum to help others build and deploy Dapps and smart contracts.
The government, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies
The United Arab Emirates is fast into the blockchain and cryptocurrency world where it is finding many use cases, including the central banks, business registrations, and trade for the blockchain technology, as well as towards creating a new government-backed cryptocurrency for the country. Blockchain-based voting has also hit the streets with Estonia finding ways to decentralize the entire voting experience. In the United States, the government was reported to have started a grant system to support blockchain-based companies.
Governments and public sector institutions will need more software engineers in blockchain and cryptocurrencies to advance their agenda and drive the growth of these new inventions. This sector will see significant growth in 2020 and in the coming decades, especially to the careers of software engineers.
Professional and consultancy firms – blockchain developers
The software engineering field is seeing a major shift, with many software engineers being recruited into the blockchain and cryptocurrency development ecosystem by big consulting firms.
How software engineers can become blockchain and cryptocurrency developers
Be abreast with trends in the industry
Being a software developer is one thing and becoming a blockchain developer is another. Software engineers need to learn on their own in this field. A good way is to expand your network in the social circles so that you can reach more industry expertise in this field, which will be of help for you to build a good portfolio.
In this field, one sure way of staying on top is to use Reddit for the latest staff and make use of GitHub where most of the development in this field goes on. Ethereum is another good place for developers to dabble in smart contracts and decentralized apps. The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger technologies, as well as IBM’s blockchain courses, are good for any software developer who wants to enter the blockchain industry.
Your adaptability matters
The blockchain technology is not like an established or single platform or place. This makes it a field that requires increased knowledge almost every passing day. A software engineer’s best bet is how fast he stays on top when it comes to new technologies and ways of doing things. You need to be ready to face the fluctuating technologies and use cases that come along with the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.
If you want to be a blockchain developer, there is one single piece of advice: Be ready to adapt or just give up.
Research into different use cases
The blockchain technology has many use cases. The technological aspects as well as business use cases. Though software engineers might be at the coding-end of this technology, in order to develop a scalable decentralized application for companies, governments, or individuals, knowing the different use cases and tailoring your project towards that will be of great help in producing relevant software.
Develop interest genuinely in the technology
Software engineers that want to become blockchain developers need to have a genuine interest in the technology, as well as its many different use cases. This is what will keep them on their toes to keep learning and explore new releases in the field and come up with their own to ensure that the sector sees a comprehensive innovation.
Since the blockchain was made popular some years ago by bitcoin, which is another cryptocurrency and is built on the blockchain, many software engineers started attending conferences, seminars, and training sessions on this technology. The trend is going to grow as we move into the future. Those who want to be abreast of new developments in blockchains and cryptocurrencies have to monitor the ecosystem, develop genuine interests in it, and research into the different use cases so as to help provide better solutions.