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What is a blockchain developer and how do you become one?

What is a blockchain developer and how do you become one?

Unless you have been living in a cave with no access to the internet, newspapers, or the outside world, for the last few years, the chances are that you have heard of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Whether you think it is hype that will die out, or you believe that the tech is set to change the world, there is no doubt that blockchain and the technology that powers it, is a thriving sector full of employment opportunities. The reality is that blockchain is finding a foothold in every industry from banking to logistics, education to wine- and therefore those that develop it, are in demand.

 

With more and more big names breaking into the world of blockchain, having knowhow is one of the most requested skill sets out there. On Upwork for example, the demand for blockchain as a skill, grew over 6000% in 2018 alone. So what exactly is a blockchain developer and how can you become one? Blockchain and crypto are changing the world, this is how you, as a developer can become a part of it. Read on to find out more!

What is blockchain?

In layman’s terms, blockchain is a digital database that stores information in groups called blocks. Think of a ‘block’ in the same way as a Google Sheet spreadsheet- a place where vast amounts of data can be stored and registered. Once data is added onto the blockchain, it cannot be removed, edited, or changed in anyway meaning it is completely immutable. In addition to this, the data is not stored in a centralised place, instead being spread across a potentially infinite number of nodes on the same network. Once a block is added, it is instantly updated across all of the other nodes of the network. All of these blocks are then linked together using cryptography and they also contain a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and other data pertaining to the transaction. Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies but it also has other uses, not related to money.

Bitcoin and Ether

So the blockchain was first created to run Bitcoin, but now there is a seperate blockchain for Ethereum as well. Whilst Bitcoin was designed just to be a cryptocurrency, Ethereum allows developers to create decentralised apps (otherwise known as dapps) and run them on the blockchain.

How to get blockchain training

Luckily for you, this field is still very much in its infancy which means you have ample time to get up to speed. It kind of goes without saying however that in order to be a blockchain developer, you need to have some experience in computer science and developing. Ideally you should have some knowledge of Python and C++ as these are the most commonly used languages for blockchain and related applications.

If you have a background in web development or at least some experience in it, that would be very useful. Knowledge of sector staples such as CSS, HTML, NodeJS and MongDB are essential and it would also be advantageous to have a working competence in networking and security as well as you are likely to have to take these into account during your work.

You should also get yourself well and truly up to speed on blockchain technology, DLT, and crypto. Apart from reading, there are a wealth of online courses and resources out there that you can avail yourself of to help you increase your knowledge. Alternatively and depending on where you are based, there are a number of physical courses that you can take part in, receiving official accreditation afterwards.

Once you have done all of these things, it doesn’t mean you can sit back and consider yourself an expert. In this ever changing and ever evolving industry, you need to keep your finger on the pulse. Also, whilst blockchain developers may be in demand at the moment, in the near future the competition is expected to increase. This means that you need to stay at the top of your game and be sure that you are as up to date as possible with your skill set.

Credits: Finerton Malta Bloggers, May 2019
Photos: Unsplash.com

Last modified on: July 26, 2019

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