A blockchain engineer is a technical professional with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to develop and operate decentralized applications using distributed ledger technology. In the age of the metaverse, the demand for blockchain engineers is constantly rising. This article explains the blockchain engineer’s role, salary, and skill requirements.
What Do Blockchain Engineers Do? Roles and Responsibilities
Blockchain engineers are tasked with developing and implementing digital blockchain solutions to provide solutions to organizations. They may also be required to research and analyze the needs of an organization and work on existing open-source technologies.
Additionally, they may be required to develop and implement assets, accelerators, and infrastructure setup processes. They ensure that the applications in the blockchain network are secure. Blockchain engineers work on existing platforms such as Ethereum and Hyperledger.
The blockchain market value is expected to grow exponentially to 39.7 billion by 2025. Major companies such as Coinbase, IBM, and Walmart employ blockchain engineers. Blockchain engineers utilize blockchain technology to develop their computer networking, data structures, cryptography, and algorithms.
What are the responsibilities of blockchain engineers?
Blockchain engineers are responsible for the blockchain network and the applications that run on that network. They are also involved in designing blockchain networks, analyzing existing systems, and evaluating new technologies.
The specific roles and responsibilities of a blockchain engineer change depending on the circumstances present in an organization, but in general, they can include the following:
- Researching, evaluating, and creating blockchain networks and decentralized applications.
- Performing tests and troubleshooting blockchain-driven projects.
- Maintaining cyber security best practices across the entire blockchain technology by applying cryptographic methods such as hash functions and digital signatures. Then, ensuring compliance with various security measures.
- Researching and assessing new tools and technologies that are on trend and incorporating them into the blockchain network or its applications.
- Developing, testing, and managing a blockchain network with an emphasis on ensuring efficiency, distributed computing, consensus protocols, and cryptography.
- Developing, testing, and monitoring client-side applications, decentralized applications, and other application stack components.
- Performing back-end and front-end application maintenance, including application security engineering when needed.
- Developing an application or system using blockchain technology as a solution for the organization.
- Recording development procedures, artifacts, blockchain applications, and best practices.
- Employ various soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and multitasking to ensure that an organization meets its objectives.
See More: Top 10 Online Cybersecurity Courses and Certifications in 2022
How do you get into a blockchain role?
The following are the six steps to follow if you are interested in a blockchain engineering role:
1. Understand the blockchain basics
Professionals interested in a career path as blockchain engineers should start their journey by learning the basics of blockchain. This can be achieved through self-study, joining a course in an institution, or an online tutorial platform such as Coursera or LinkedIn learning. These professionals should ensure that they understand various blockchain concepts such as decentralization, hashing functions, security, and consensus mechanisms.
2. Get hands-on experience
After understanding various blockchain concepts, interested professionals should download and use ready-made wallets or decentralized applications. They should inspect them thoroughly and learn how the applications and wallets work. They should know how to generate and use wallet addresses and encryption-related private keys.
They should try to buy cryptocurrency to understand the consumer experience better and the cost the consumer accrues in transfer charges. They should learn how to interact with exchanges and innovative contract platforms. Additionally, they should consider joining developer forums to interact with other developers.
3. Learn to code and earn a certification
4. Take on a blockchain engineer role
An individual can now become a blockchain engineer by participating in a hackathon competition or by training at a blockchain training institution and earning a certification. Subsequently, they can develop a blockchain by creating a genesis block and adding other blocks, validating the chain, and then utilizing it.
5. Develop the necessary technical and soft skills
Professionals interested in becoming blockchain engineers should develop the necessary technical skills. They should master data structures, cryptography, web development, blockchain architecture, smart contract development, blockchain ecosystems, and enterprise blockchain platforms like Ethereum. Moreover, they should develop soft skills such as good leadership, excellent communication, cooperation, and agility to change. These skills will enable them to become successful as blockchain engineers.
6. Connect with employers hiring for blockchain engineering roles
Blockchain engineers who complete the above steps should seek employment to test their skills and earn from them. They can first seek to join an organization as interns or directly seek employment – usually in blockchain companies, financial service providers, public sector organizations, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) product sellers. The job can also be available remotely or on campus. Several opportunities are available for blockchain engineers, such as becoming a blockchain UX designer, a blockchain developer, or a blockchain quality engineer.
See More: Top 10 Online Cybersecurity Courses and Certifications in 2022
Why should you aspire for a blockchain engineering role?
There are several advantages of working in this role:
- High salary: The gap between demand and supply in the blockchain industry remains high as the blockchain industry is still relatively new. Organizations are willing to pay more to lure in more experts. The average annual salary for blockchain engineers is $107,000, per recent Payscale data (last updated on 15.10.22). Individuals looking for a technological field to kickstart their careers should consider being blockchain engineers.
- Flexible work locations: The lack of adequate blockchain experts often motivates organizations to offer a flexible work plan. This necessitates that organizations acquire talent from around the globe, which leads to the availability of remote jobs for blockchain engineers.
- An opportunity to work for a large organization: Large organizations such as Microsoft and Samsung are adopting blockchain technologies in their networks. This opens up a potential employment opportunity in a large organization as a blockchain engineer with better employee benefits.
Blockchain Engineer Key Skill Requirements in 2022
It would help if you had a combination of hard and soft skills to succeed in this role. The following are the soft skills that blockchain engineers should possess:
- They should have excellent verbal and written communication skills to convey the blockchain project’s requirements.
- They should be cooperative team workers to enable them to cooperate effectively with different team members.
- They should exhibit strategic and critical thinking skills to create strategies to solve problems effectively.
- They should possess creative and problem-solving skills to enable them to create solutions.
- They should be able to embrace changes and implement new strategies.
Now let us look at the ten critical technical skills that blockchain engineers should have:
1. Understanding of blockchain architecture
Blockchain engineers should have a thorough understanding of blockchain architecture and its operation. They should show familiarity with ideas such as consensus, cryptographic hash functions, and distributed ledger technology.
2. Expertise in coding languages
3. Understanding of data structures
Blockchain engineers should have in-depth knowledge of data structures used in blockchain technology, such as Patricia trees and Merkel trees. Blockchain engineers frequently interact with data structures when building and implementing networks. Thus, knowledge of data structures enables them to understand the fundamentals of blockchain.
4. Experience in using cryptography
Blockchain engineers should have adequate knowledge of cryptography. They should be able to use cryptography to ensure that the data is encrypted, thus guaranteeing the security of a blockchain network. Cryptography ensures the safety of public and private keys when performing transactions, similar to cloud encryption technology. Additionally, blockchain engineers can develop a unique blockchain using the different subcategories of cryptography.
5. The ability to identify and work with blockchain platforms
Blockchain engineers should thoroughly understand the various types of blockchain platforms to enable them to create effective and practical solutions.
6. Familiarity with the top blockchain ecosystems
Blockchain engineers should have an in-depth knowledge of the different standards or ecosystems used in blockchain technology and how they work. These ecosystems are used to create an effective blockchain system to streamline business processes and influence business outcomes. Examples of ecosystems in blockchain technology include Ethereum, Hyperledger, Corda, and Quorum.
7. Interest in constantly learning new blockchain development tools
Blockchain engineers should have a thorough understanding of various blockchain development tools. They use development tools such as MetaMask, Remix, and Truffle as catalysts to create solutions at a faster rate.
8. Skills in smart contract development
Blockchain engineers should know the concepts of smart contracts. These concepts include the creation of smart contracts, their significance, and their commercial applications like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which are tradable digital assets. The introduction of Ethereum 2.0 in 2021 made smart contracts one of the most frequently used applications in blockchain technology. This resulted from blockchain’s seeking to integrate smart contract capabilities into its system. Blockchain engineers should also be familiar with network-specific languages such as Solidity, Viper, and Chaincode.
9. Competencies in web development
Blockchain engineers should show expertise in web development. They should be familiar with the fundamentals of web programming, such as front-end and back-end, to enable them to design decentralized applications.
10. Object-oriented programming capabilities
Blockchain engineers should be familiar with object-oriented programming (OOP), which is the foundation of most programming languages. This language enables them to reuse code, solve complex problems, gain flexibility through polymorphism, and use modularity for effective troubleshooting.
See More: Top 10 Masters in Cybersecurity Programs in 2022
Blockchain engineering certifications to ratify your skills
The demand for blockchain certifications by professionals is on the rise with the expansion of the blockchain economy. A blockchain certification helps candidates stand out from their peers. It assists professionals to gain the ability, credibility, and competency to work in blockchain technology.
The following are examples of blockchain certification courses that address a variety of business needs and offer candidates a certificate for completing the course material and passing a certification exam:
- Certified Blockchain Expert: The Certified Blockchain Expert (CBE) certification is a self-paced 3-month course that the Blockchain Council offers. It introduces candidates to various concepts of blockchain technology, mining, and security practices. Candidates learn about real-world applications of blockchain technologies in multiple sectors, such as telecommunications, healthcare, and finance. The price of this certification course is $179.
- Blockchain Technology: The Blockchain Technology certification is a self-paced 3-month course that EdX offers. BerkeleyX’s Blockchain Fundamentals Professional Certificate is provided at the University of California, Berkeley. It is divided into two parts; bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The price of this certification course is $198.
- Certified Blockchain Security Expert: The Certified Blockchain Security Expert is a self-paced 4-week course offered by 101 Blockchains. This course assists candidates in developing a theoretical and practical understanding of various blockchain security concepts. These concepts include smart contracts, algorithm security, existing and emerging threats, and threat modeling. The price of this certification course is $399.
- Blockchain Specialization: The Blockchain Specialization certification is a 4-month intermediate-level course. The University of Buffalo and Coursera offer it. This course outlines the fundamentals of blockchain technology, the underlying technologies of blockchain, and how to design, code, and deploy decentralized applications and smart contracts. The price of this certification course is $226.
- Blockchain Basics: The Blockchain Basics certification is a self-paced, beginner-level course. LinkedIn Learning offers it. This course provides candidates with insights into blockchain technologies’ benefits, risks, obstacles, and business implications. The price of this certification course is $22.
- Blockchain: Foundations and Use cases: The Blockchain Foundation and Use Cases certification is a self-paced 5-week course. ConsenSys Academy and Coursera offer this course. It provides candidates with information on the entrepreneurship side of blockchain technologies and the security basics of blockchain. The price of this certification course is $99.
See More: Cyber Security Degrees: Types, Comparisons, and Best Practices for Selection
Blockchain Engineer Salary in 2022
The salary compensation for blockchain engineers continues to rise. The average annual salary for blockchain engineers is $107,000, per recent Payscale data (last updated on 15.10.22). Blockchain engineering falls under the category of software development.
However, blockchain engineers get paid more than other software engineers as they do more than create software. According to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the software systems engineers market sector is expected to experience a job growth rate of 11% from 2016 to 2026.
The location of a blockchain engineer determines their salary. For instance, those in India receive an average annual salary of ₹ 614,000; in the US, $107,000; in the UK, £92,187; in Singapore, SGD5,000; in Germany, €50,555, and in China, CN385,000.
Additionally, blockchain engineers in major cities receive higher compensation than their peers. For instance, those in Seattle, the SF Bay Area, and London received the highest average annual compensation with salaries of $176,996, $170,296, and £146,800, respectively.
The career level also affects the salary a blockchain engineer can receive. For instance, a junior blockchain developer earns an average annual salary of $121,875, while a senior developer earns $180,000.
5 Blockchain Engineers Jobs in 2022
Blockchain engineering is a promising career pathway with many different kinds of jobs. The following are five jobs that blockchain engineers can pursue:
1. Blockchain developer
Blockchain developers are responsible for creating application features and interfaces by using programming languages and writing multithreaded code. They research, analyze, and design blockchain networks, consensus protocols, and decentralized applications. They are fluent in programming languages such as Java and Python and thoroughly understand cryptography. They should have good analytical and creative skills to solve problems efficiently. They earn an average annual salary of $136,000.
2. Blockchain quality control engineer
Blockchain quality control engineers are responsible for conducting tests, such as manual testing and testing for bugs and glitches, and automating frameworks for the blockchain. They have in-depth knowledge of various blockchain concepts, developments, and implementations. They keep up with recent technological developments in blockchain and related technologies. They also have excellent communication skills to maintain a good working relationship. They earn an average annual salary of $112,000.
3. Senior blockchain engineer
Senior blockchain engineers are responsible for building and maintaining significant features of the blockchain network from inception, design, implementation, and launch. They have a thorough understanding of distributed systems and practical experience architecting and developing existing blockchain smart contract platforms.
They ensure the high performance and responsiveness of the blockchain by monitoring and performing analytics on all services they build. They also have excellent communication skills to communicate effectively within the team. They earn an average annual salary of $164,000.
4. Digital asset blockchain engineer
Digital asset blockchain engineers are responsible for identifying and designing software solutions for developing and managing risks related to digital assets. They also build new technology capabilities in cloud systems like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) to engage with the digital asset ecosystem. They analyze, design, code, and test digital asset-related software components to build functional and scalable software.
They provide solutions to various business challenges by designing and developing various proofs of concept. They have the proper leadership skills and communication skills to enable them to work in a union with other teams. They earn an average annual salary of $110,000.
5. Blockchain UX designer
Blockchain UX designers are responsible for developing unique, simple, and user-friendly interfaces. They have practical hands-on experience in using tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator to design visual graphics. They know the best methods and procedures for UX mobile design. They have creative skills to enable them to design excellent UX interfaces. Additionally, they are resourceful and time-efficient, allowing them to meet their deadlines. They earn an average annual salary of $107,500.
See More: How To Prepare For the CCNA Certification Exam
In the age of the metaverse, there is a very high demand for blockchain engineers. A 2022 US survey by PwC found that 66% of business leaders actively leverage the metaverse, and 82% expect it to be part of their plan in the next three years. That means most companies across sectors will need blockchain capabilities, which necessitates professionals skilled in blockchain engineering.
MORE ON IT SKILLS AND CAREER