How To Become A Blockchain Engineer | A Step-By-Step Complete Guide
20 Jul 2021
12 min read
A lucrative career has good pay, future security, and growth opportunities. A career in blockchain engineering qualifies as lucrative and a promising career in the current job market. As blockchain technology is making its prominence felt across multiple industries, it has become increasingly important to have a talented workforce in this space to justify its true impact.
The various exploits of blockchain technology are still relatively new and given its vast scope, it will be an ongoing exploration. In such a scenario, it can be overwhelming to find the path to success for those who have taken a fascination for this technology. Blockchain is often mistaken solely as the technology behind cryptocurrency. While the opinion is partially correct, blockchain does enable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin but the applications are not limited to that. The applications can be far-reaching and used in various industries that need to secure their digital assets and data to improve their overall value offering. Finance, banking, healthcare, and now even real estate is harnessing the power of blockchain in some unique way.
To understand its various applications, one must know about this technology. Blockchain is a distributed and decentralized ledger to record the history of digital assets. The transparency of a distributed ledger makes it impossible for the record to be manipulated, altered, or corrupted. The real-time time stamps, verified by multiple nodes on the network, gives blockchain the power of incorruptibility. With a technology like this, numerous types of industries can make their data and digital assets secure, and to accomplish that, they would need talented blockchain developers.
Why Start A Career As A Blockchain Engineer?
Working as a blockchain engineer would require a professional to develop specialized solutions based on this technology for their respective industry. In such a job, the problem-solving abilities required are of considerably high levels and that ensures a rewarding pay structure for their skill set. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a software developer is $110,140 per annum. This number significantly reflects on the opportunities available for blockchain developers and the demand for their skills in the software job market. The opportunities in this space are also going to grow manifolds in the coming years. The blockchain market size will grow from $3 bn in 2020 to $39.7 bn in 2025. This data implies that there will be a huge requirement for talented engineers well versed with blockchain and its evolving technology.
According to blockchain research portal, blockchain experts and specialists are paid as much as $175,000 per annum on average. Given the forecasted demand, high salary, and interesting field of work, becoming a blockchain engineer is one of the most lucrative career transitions or decisions one can make based on their interest and other soft skills. Even after becoming a blockchain engineer, the options to proceed to the various specialized fields are always there. Based on interdisciplinary skills or experience, one can work in the blockchain domain as a developer, UI designer, project manager, solution architect, etc. mostly in technology and data consulting firms. Though, there is an increasing demand across various industries and startups, where teams for blockchain development are built from scratch.
With the growing market size and opportunities, becoming a blockchain developer is one of the best decisions one can take. Even though the entry barriers are high when considering beforehand knowledge required, the space for new talent is plenty. So, if you have a passion for this progressive technology that keeps you on the regular learning path, then taking the plunge will be highly rewarding.
Take Your Passion For Blockchain To A Full-Time Profession.
As much as the idea of working in a multi-disciplinary and future-driven environment sounds exciting, it can be equally overwhelming to find the right path to build skills, gain experience, and succeed in blockchain development. It is important to understand beforehand that this technology is used to provide enhanced and impenetrable security to digital assets, which makes blockchain engineering a high responsibility job. Experienced professionals at senior levels also need to identify requirements for enterprises, providing a solution for them, and hold oversight over teams. A mid-level developer with 2-5 years of experience will be required to execute full-cycle projects where they will have to design, develop, and implement blockchain-based solutions. Launching networks, developing smart contracts, etc is the core of their jobs. Entry-level employees, in blockchain-based projects, are given the role of testing and debugging. The growth of blockchain engineers is based on their pace of learning and upskilling, the same as any other industry. But, technology is changing at an exponential pace and, so are industry standards. The skills that are highly rewarding today will not be as beneficial for a blockchain job seeker in the future.
That is why, one must stay on their toes to learn various coding languages, work on various libraries, and develop cross-disciplinary skills to become a blockchain engineer and consistently grow as one. Passion for this technology is necessary to go the extra mile but so is clear and structured guidance. With the rest of this article, we will inform you about all the skills and knowledge required to become a good blockchain developer. We will also provide a comprehensive guide around various steps that will help you to enrich your technical knowledge.
What Education And Skills Required To Become A Successful Blockchain Engineer
Multiple sets and combinations of coding languages along with proficient knowledge in data, finance, etc. are required for different types of job opportunities and projects but, learning everything at once might become counter-productive. A graded approach of the following measures will help every aspiring blockchain developer.
1- First Start With The Basics
Before jumping into the heavy stuff of deep coding skills, blockchain tools, and platforms, you must begin with understanding the technology in its complete scope. It is very essential to know how blockchain works and what are the various terminologies attached to it. Having a complete understanding of terms like decentralization, smart contracts, proof of work, cryptocurrency, and all others would build the required base for further learning. It is better to spend extra time and effort at this stage to ensure a robust understanding of evolving technologies and the impact of blockchain on other industries.
2- Expertise In Key Coding Languages
3- Understanding Blockchain Architecture
To thoroughly know what blockchain is and what it can do, you must know about its architecture. Going through enterprise blockchain platforms and its whitepapers will help you understand these concepts better. You will come across terms like consensus, hash functions, etc., and it is advisable to know as much about them beforehand.
4- Deep Knowledge of Cryptography
Blockchain is all about security and its impenetrable features. And cryptography ensures that blockchain networks remain incorruptible. It is that part of engineering that deals with active and intelligent opposition. Being a master at cryptography will take your blockchain development skills notches higher as you will be able to encrypt decentralized records, which is the essence of blockchain. Asymmetric key algorithms and hash functions are two main cryptography algorithms used in blockchain. Learning and practicing them is the groundwork for becoming a successful developer in this domain.
5- Grasp the application of data structures
A blockchain developer’s ability to tweak around with data structures to get desired results is instrumental to the respective project. So, as an aspiring blockchain developer, you must learn the applications of data structures in a way that you can produce exponential results in your future projects. Merkel Trees, Patricia Trees, and various other data structures that are typically used in blockchain along with cryptography. Having a solid grasp will go a long way while applying for projects.
6- Basics of Front End And Back End Web Development
Designing UI, handling requests, and API management is also part of blockchain projects. Experienced developers perform most of these jobs but full-stack web development knowledge will add several points to your resume. It also provides a great headstart as you will already have the skills required to perform in bigger roles.
7- Understanding Blockchain Platforms
There are various blockchain platforms to classify the different projects. Public, private, permission, permissionless, and federated are the different types of platforms and they have varying features. As a developer, you will come across many projects and each will have a varying purpose to serve. To create effective solutions you must have a deep understanding of each of these platforms. Knowing what will work best for a particular blockchain solution will considerably enhance your skill as a developer. This step also involves learning about all the significant ecosystems and understanding how they work. Hyperledger, Ethereum, Quorum, etc., are some of the many ecosystems in the industry that are open source, and you can experiment with their code. Your understanding of standards and ecosystems will be a big plus in your resume, as many enterprises have it as a requirement.
8- Strengthen your base on Blockchain development tools
The ability to build something efficiently is a sign of mastery and that is what you must chase in your process of becoming a blockchain engineer. Development tools are catalysts that will help you in designing solutions at a faster rate. This will also favor your enterprise career as you will come across as a highly effective developer.
Learn to use various libraries and tools like Metamask, Remix, Truffle, etc., to speed up your process. Being active with online communities is another practice that will keep you in touch with new applications and tools that keep popping up.
9- Basic Understanding of Finance
When you are working towards entering the Decentralized Finance aspect of blockchain, it becomes essential to learn about the basics of finance and macroeconomics. It is one of that interdisciplinary knowledge that you are going to need to develop effective enterprise-level solutions. If you already have experience in software development then you can even go for advanced certification in finance to stand out and forge your path to specialized roles at senior levels.
10- Develop Problem Solving Skills
Soft skills like strategic and critical thinking are very crucial for a blockchain engineer’s skill set. The prowess to come up with creative strategies that can effectively solve problems is a big plus with employers in any work environment. With blockchain implementation, it is even more important as enterprises are always looking for expertise and creative solutions. Enrolling in a course or certification that solely focuses on blockchain development will provide you the framework to build such skills in relevance to your career. There are multiple ways to develop a solution-oriented thinking
- Focus more on the solution than the problem
- Define the problem in a concise way
- Break things down into comprehensible targets
- Look at every possibility
- Be agile to adopt a new approach
While we have laid out a step-by-step guide for you to start your learning process, you might want to know where to access this knowledge at one place, conveniently. The fact that blockchain is a new and evolving technology, a lot of your learning will take place through different channels. We have mentioned several ways for you to learn about blockchain in the following section.
Read Our Article: What Skills You Need To Become A Blockchain Engineer
Where To Learn About Blockchain
There are mainly two ways to get educated in the field of blockchain. One begins with getting a formal college degree in computer science and then specialize in blockchain technology. The second involves the process of self-learning through various resources and online certifications.
1- Get A Degree
Getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information security can give you a complete fundamental background required to build a career as a blockchain engineer. These days, various colleges are offering post-graduate diplomas, and bachelor’s in computer science with a specialization in blockchain technologies. Some of the universities and courses are mentioned below.
A- The University of the Cumberlands, Master in Science in Global Business with Blockchain Technology
It is a completely online master’s program that provides an academic degree in blockchain engineering. The course is designed around developing blockchain technologies for different industries and cryptocurrencies. Blockchain data mining and implementing crypto components to applications are thoroughly covered in this program.
- Duration - 13-18 months (divided into 3 semesters)
- Where - Kentucky, USA 3 Method - Online
- Fees - $9765
B- The University of Arkansas, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with specialization in blockchain development
The course is designed to prepare students to solve business problems through the application of technology, especially blockchain and its enterprise implementations.
- Duration - 3 years
- Where - Arkansas, USA
- Method - On Campus
- Fees - $15-25k depending on aid
C- Duke University, Master of Engineering in FinTech
The course is primarily conducted on campus for 3 semesters but has a part-time online option for 5 semesters. It prepares graduates for careers in blockchain, financial engineering, etc.
- Duration - 5 semester, part-time
- Where- Dublin, Ireland
- Method - Online and Offline both available
- Fees - $87265 for online, $58,176 for on campus (only tuition)
2- Complete A Blockchain Certification Course
Doing online certification courses in blockchain technology is an excellent way of expanding your knowledge base. Below are some of the best certifications available on the internet provided by leading communities in the blockchain world. Most of the courses mentioned here do not include courses in coding languages and they should be considered a prerequisite.
A- Certified Enterprise Blockchain Profession
This certification is provided by 101blockchains.com and gives a complete fundamental knowledge about blockchain and its uses. The learners will get to know about the impact of blockchain on enterprise-level solutions and develop the skills required to provide these solutions. The course is divided into 5 modules that are fundamentals, blockchain platforms, blockchain in finance, blockchain applications, and blockchain use cases.
- Duration - 5 weeks
- Platform - academy.101blockchain.com
- Fees - $397
B- Online Degree in Blockchain by Blockchain-council.org
This certification is on the tougher side as it requires you to pass an exam at the end to get certified. The 100 mark exam requires you to score 60+ to pass and get certified with three maximum attempts. There are many benefits of taking this course as it teaches you about the technology, its implementations, and various platforms. As you progress through the units, the course material will dive deeper into the intricacies of blockchain development. This coursework is a great starting point to build your knowledge base and gather enough skills to take on the growth curve of becoming a blockchain engineer.
- Duration - Self Paced (12 hours training material)
- Platform - Blockchain-council.co
- Fees - $323
C- Advanced Certificate Program in Blockchain by ‘upGrad’
This course is developed by the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, and is provided by the ‘upGrad’ platform. This 7.5 months online certification program is a condensed degree because of its contents. Candidates will be taught to become blockchain developers without any prior coding experience. The program also provides hiring assistance and has an interactive curriculum. Duration - 7.5 months (250+ hours) Fees - $1348
D- Code with Ethereum and Solidity (Udemy):
- Duration - 24 hours video lessons
- Platform - Udemy
- Fees - $60
3- Free Knowledge For The Super Passionate
A mini internet in itself, Reddit is amongst the best online places to stay updated with blockchain news. A couple of threads to follow for some great resources
Podcasts are quite excellent when looking for informative audio content from industry pioneers. They can be consumed conveniently and while multi-tasking.
- Epicenter, by Multiple Speakers
- Blockchain Insider, by 11:FS
- The Blockchain Show
Reading is for the engrossed learner. Newsletters provide an immersive experience through high-value content for the enthusiastic reader. Some of the best newsletters in the blockchain domain are
Youtube has become a vast source of knowledge for almost any topic in the world and that is a huge benefit for blockchain enthusiasts. Some of the best Youtube channels for Blockchain news, development, and content
- Blockchain Weekly
- Blockchain at Berkley
Books provide insight into subjects that are seldom matched by other mediums. With the personal experiences of authors, the learning experience becomes even more enriching.
- Blockchain Revolution, by Dan Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
- The Truth Machine, by Michael Casey and Paul Vigna
- Blockchain: Blueprint for New Economy, by Melanie Swan . The Infinite Machine, by Camila Russo
There are some voices in every industry that hold a certain value. When we talk about blockchain the following people are always worth giving an ear and keeping an eye on.
- Joe Lubin
- Kevin Owaki
- Alex Tapscott
- Laura Shin
We are well aware by now of the continually increasing demand for blockchain engineers and developers at the enterprise level. Another great thing about the blockchain industry is that it is a great leveler, anybody who is willing to learn, experiment, and implement can find success here. If you are driven enough to start your journey towards being a blockchain engineer, then this step-by-step guide is going to be right up your alley.
A Freelance SEO Consultant who also loves to blog about technologies.See other articles by Fawzan