If you're still reeling from cryptocurrency whiplash after the bitcoin bubble burst in early 2018, you might be surprised to hear that demand for blockchain engineers is higher than ever.
Hired.com, a tech-focused job marketplace, has seen a 400% increase in job postings for blockchain engineers, according to data the company shared with CNBC. Increased interest in blockchain-related skills isn’t altogether surprising given the strength of tech careers in general: The tech industry claimed 13 of the 25 highest paying jobs in 2018.
How much do blockchain engineers make?
Blockchain engineers earn between $150,000 and $175,000 on average, according to Hired.com. By contrast, the global average salary for tech workers is $135,000.
While blockchain engineer salaries are on the high end for tech workers, they still fall short when compared to the job of a physician, which commands a median base salary of $195,842, according to Glassdoor.
What does a blockchain engineer do?
If you're wondering what exactly is blockchain, it's the underlying technology that makes cryptocurrencies function. But digital money is just one facet of blockchain technology. It's a decentralized database that helps people store and transmit information more securely and efficiently than ever before, much in the same way the internet revolutionized information sharing in the 20th century. In fact, some people have dubbed blockchain as "Internet 2.0."
Similar to how software engineers create computer-based programs, blockchain engineers develop web-based tools for tech and insurance companies, banks and government institutions, built on the back of blockchain technology.
Top skills for a blockchain engineer
The following programming languages and methodologies are a must for blockchain engineers. If they sound like gibberish to you, blockchain engineering may be outside of your wheelhouse.
How do I become a blockchain engineer?
Forty-two percent of the world's top 50 universities now offer at least one course on crypto or blockchain technology, according to a report from leading cryptocurrency marketplace Coinbase. Despite this growing awareness in academia, you still can't actually earn a degree in blockchain engineering. To fill in the gap, online courses and blockchain-specific academies have emerged. Some of these courses, such as those offered by Udemy and Coursera, are free or less than $20, while more advanced programs cost as much as $1,800—such as the Certified Ethereum Developer Course offered by B9Lab.
While some level of programming experience does help, it’s not always a prerequisite, said Nicole Harper, head of communications for B9Lab. "We've also had some extremely dedicated learners who started from scratch—no coding experience whatsoever, and they now work as blockchain engineers."
What companies hire blockchain engineers?
There are currently 74 companies hiring blockchain engineers on Hired.com. In what should come as a surprise to no one, the city with the most openings is San Francisco. But other cities, such as Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and London, are hiring as well.
While most of the companies hiring blockchain engineers aren’t exactly household names— Paxos, ConsenSys, SmartShare and Open Garden Inc. are among them—these startups have big ambitions to revolutionize the way we interact with each other and use the internet.
Bigger, more established companies are also on the lookout for blockchain developers. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are among those making significant investments in their own blockchain technology, indicating that blockchain developers are likely to enjoy plenty of job security for the foreseeable future.