Blockchain is one of the fastest growing segments in the digital world, as evidenced by the explosive growth in job openings within the sector. LinkedIn recently reported over 3,000 open positions in the field, while Indeed.com listed over 1,600 current job postings that are related to blockchain. For candidates with the right skill set, there are a variety of career opportunities related to blockchain.
What is blockchain, and what types of jobs are available in this industry? The “blocks” that comprise blockchains are digital records that represent a transaction. These transactions can include data about the sale or exchange of goods, services, supplies, contracts, money, and other information exchanged between business partners. The block contains all of the specifics of the transactions.
A major appeal of blockchains is that they can be encrypted, making them resistant to fraud, tampering, or other unlawful changes. Blocks cannot be detached from surrounding blocks. As a result, users can form immutable chains or sequences of records.
Blocks are visible to the parties involved in the exchange and include the documentation of agreement by the parties to the specifications of the transaction. Since the blocks can't be altered, they serve as a record of the agreement or a contract. They include conditions for payment and/or actual payments which may be in traditional currency or cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Blockchain technology is attractive to businesses because it creates efficiencies, speeds transactions, reduces costs, and can eliminate financial intermediaries (i.e., cutting out the middlemen).
Blockchain Career Opportunities
The construction of blockchains relies heavily on encryption. Accordingly, individuals with expertise in security protocols and data structures will be highly sought after by hiring managers in the field. Many of the early applications of blockchains center on financial transactions, and more specifically on the use of cryptocurrencies within the execution of financially-oriented transactions.
Developers and engineers with experience in building financial software and programs will be in demand as employers recruit blockchain professionals. Blockchain technology facilitates the development of smart contracts between parties, so legal professionals with a background in blockchain will be called upon to review contracts from a legal perspective. Blockchain architecture is one of the best-paying gigs for freelancers this year.
Top Blockchain Jobs
According to the analysis done by Ladders, Upwork, and Computerworld, the following job categories are among those with the highest potential. The results are also derived by reviewing the number of available jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn:
Blockchain Information Security Analyst
Security is paramount when constructing blockchains. Candidates with experience in supervising encryption, anticipating and guarding against threats, and testing blocks to ensure that they are impenetrable are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts earned an average of $95,510 in May of 2017. The top 10% earned more than $153,000. Given the strong demand for professionals in the blockchain space, it is likely that analysts with blockchain experience would receive above average compensation.
Blockchain Data Scientist
Data scientists collect, interpret, analyze, and manage data by applying statistics to complex data. They write algorithms that are used to detect and analyze patterns in very large datasets, create models and data visualizations, and provide insight into the data that is collected. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2017 median pay for Computer and Information Scientists was $114,520, with the highest 10% of workers earning more than $176,780. The job outlook is excellent, with a 19% expected increase between 2016 to 2026.
Blockchain Marketing Specialist
Many blockchain service firms are starting to add marketing outreach processes to their operations. Marketing specialists and managers create marketing plans, research potential markets, develop social and mainstream media strategies to promote services, write press releases, and compose copy for websites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Marketing Specialists in Technical Consulting Services and Software earn an average of $68,010 to $91,250 respectively.
Upwork has rated blockchain development as the hottest skill for freelancers for the first quarter of 2018, and Ladders notes that there is a strong need for developers with the right technology skills. Developers write the code and build the data structures for blockchains. They apply knowledge of ledgers, smart contracts, consensus methods, and cryptocurrencies. That being said, expertise in threat analytics, anomaly detection, and performance management is required. PayScale data indicates an average salary of $110,500 for blockchain developers.
Blockchain Project Manager
Creating blockchains is usually a complex process, requiring precise coordination of many layers of information and enlisting timely support of different staff and client representatives. Project managers outline project steps and set goals and timelines. They track progress, coordinate communication among participants and resolve process problems. According to the latest survey conducted by the Project Management Institute, the average salary in the United States for project managers was $112,000.
Given the rapid expansion of the field and the relative shortage of qualified workers, recruiters working for employment firms or Human Resource departments will be in high demand. Strong knowledge of blockchain job requirements and the ability to entice passive job seekers to consider changing jobs will be critical to the success in this role. Recruiters analyze candidate profiles, interview prospects, reach out to employers to promote agency services, and present prospective candidates to hiring managers. Recruiting is one of the most lucrative tech opportunities that doesn’t require coding skills. According to PayScale, technical recruiters earn an average of $50,500. However, top professionals earn over $92,000. These salaries include bonus, commission, and profit sharing.
If you’re in college or a recent graduate starting a career, an internship can be a solid stepping stone to a professional role. Current college students and recent graduates studying computer science, engineering, and information technology can enhance their background in blockchain technology by completing an internship in the field. Search for "blockchain intern" on your favorite job site to see examples of the types of internships that are available. Also, check with your university career office to see if they have internship listings you can access.
Positions, where you will have the opportunity to help build software and write code for blockchains, will be particularly valuable. Students with a marketing background should look at blockchain service companies and explore opportunities working with company marketing teams. If you're a college graduate, Computerworld reports that there are also entry-level opportunities available for candidates with the right technical skills.