You’re an Engineer, I am one too. We both remember how cool it was when we first started coding, but we also know that the tech we used back then has been long forgotten. The tech market is crazy fast, and today’s tech might not be there tomorrow either. In software, there’s a huge premium for the ones who nail new stacks and architectures early on. Blockchain is up for the grabs.
Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: ‘Are your ready?’ — Johnny Carson
Some historical context
I remember when I first went hands on into blockchain. Ethereum fascinated me since the very first moment. When the DAO came up as the first big ICO, I was passionate, it was all so smart and futuristic. A whole new way of thinking tech architectures and applications was there to be explored, I felt like touching the future. But all of a sudden, it collapsed when a vulnerability was exploited and everyone lost serious money. I was bummed, it felt too early, unfortunately I couldn’t take it too seriously yet.
In less than 3 years, blockchain tools, languages, frameworks and communities have flourished. The whole space has gone mainstream for several reasons, some of them not the greatest. Arguably everyone has heard about Bitcoin, Ethereum, blockchain, smart contracts and the most common buzzwords in the space. By now, you should have also heard that blockchain engineers are the guys on highest demand in the current job market. Well, that’s actually true. As a blockchain consultant and CTO, I can tell you this trend will grow, and it could be a serious career opportunity.
Blockchain adoption and the evolution of software architectures
The potential of decentralised architectures is immense, and the innovative business models that can be enabled by them will be life changing. You’ve probably heard about some very futuristic use cases, where decentralisation is used to totally disrupt established business processes and value chains. The best such example is bitcoin, which aims to make banks redundant in a use cases where they have always had the monopoly.
If you go beyond bitcoin, the applications are much broader and their adoption is much more realistic and immediate. That’s where companies of all sizes are starting to assemble teams and build new decentralised architectures to enable new products and business models. Their roadmaps are long, and most companies are aware that this will be a decade long adoption curve. But they are also aware that in 10 years, maybe less, most value chains will be decentralised and today’s business processes will be massively disrupted.
Applications range widely. On the simpler end there are internal project management tools, that companies use to bring departments and business units together in a trestles manner. On the more disruptive end there are startups and consortia bringing crafting new processes that will entirely disrupt industries. Somewhere in between, there are consortium blockchain solutions that enable supply chains to work more efficiently, or even protocols that allow competitors to collaborate in trustless environments.
Why good blockchain engineers will earn so much
Decentralisation is not just an architectural novelty, is a new way of thinking business processes. One that is incredibly contrary to what we’ve been taught over time. Now there isn’t necessarily a central server, or an entity to be the master in the data flows, or central payments clearing. This new way of thinking is being adopted fast by the business side of organisations. The fear of being disrupted is pressing Innovation Directors and CTOs to come up with blockchain roadmaps and Proof of Concepts to test assumptions.
Companies are getting really aggressive in staffing these initiatives, and a whole new market segment is emerging within tech. There is now an increasing need for people who can consult, architect, develop, integrate and maintain decentralised applications. In blockchain, as in early days of any new technology, engineering skills are the bottleneck. There is right now an incredible imbalance between demand for blockchain engineers and the number of engineers who can build decentralised products. For any software engineer out there, this is your opportunity for a big career boost.
How to get aboard the blockchain boat
While in most stacks, companies look for people with several years of experience, in blockchain that’s not really possible. First because the tech is so new, and second because most people who’ve been around for say 5 years are so few and simply impossible to hire. This is a huge opportunity for fast learners with an appetite for decentralisation. Engineers who can learn this new tech paradigm, and learn the right tools will be easily employable in the space.
While the roadmaps of most companies include heavy lifting protocols with high stakes, that is still a few years away in most cases. The fact is that not many blockchain applications are being pushed to production yet these days. Companies are still mostly in an experimentation and assumption-testing mindset, and embrace the fact that this is a stage to create the key learnings, awareness and skillset to tackle the next stages in blockchain adoption. That’s why this is the right time to get in for a software engineer, it’s a very interesting context for learning, since most people involved are also still learning rapidly.
In a nutshell
I wrote a few months ago how I usually select engineers for the blockchain teams I build. Most tools and frameworks in the space are still immature and evolving at light speed. I don’t focus on people who know the tools of today, I prefer people who will learn and build the tools of tomorrow. Over my career I learned not to underestimate smart people with a passion for learning, those are the ones who change the world.
If you’re an engineer full of energy and curiosity for blockchain and for this brave new decentralised world, just reach out. I’d love to tell you about some cool stuff we’ve been doing at TechHQ, and some challenges we might need your help with.