There is a change in trust in the financial world. The name of this change often starts with “crypto” or “blockchain”. Here’s how you can build a career in this profitable field.
A change of trust
Banks today play the role of a trusted financial intermediary in transactions. Importantly, for any deal to take place, both sides have to trust a middleman – the bank, as they have done for hundreds of years. Banks often take a cut of the transaction, somewhere along the line, for their trouble. The sum of those ‘clipped tickets’ amounts to many billions of dollars of revenue for banks around the world.
Recently, two overlapping technologies have come together to threaten banks’ grips on trust. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer, some believe, an alternative to Sovereign currencies, and can also be transacted anonymously.
Records as to who owns what cryptocurrency are currently stored in one of a number of ‘Blockchains’ – distributed financial ledgers of creditors and debtors. Together, cryptocurrencies and Blockchains offer an alternative to banks – which might be much cheaper.
The result is an increase in demand from employers looking to hire Crypto and Blockchain skills. As you can see from the chart below, both areas, Blockchain and cryptocurrency, are seeing a great deal of interest at the moment.
With such interest in the field and such a noticeable skills gap bidding up wages, I contacted Ben Green, Senior Blockchain Recruitment Specialist at Blockchain People, a recruitment firm focused on this fast-growing niche, who confirmed the opportunity,
“Wages are very good for talented people, there is a lot of money being invested on a global scale.” he said.
There is now a Gold Rush for blockchain skills
If you’re in the mood for a career upgrade, it’s a seller’s market, according to Ben, who has identified two primary needs among his customer base. He says,
“Demand is far outstripping supply at the moment. There are not a lot of experienced people going around, those with experience are already employed and doing well.”
There are two key motivators behind businesses’ desire to hire.
First, most established Financial Services businesses start with some internal research and testing, often employing a web development agency, or a local software consultancy house, to experiment or develop a proof of concept. If, in the course of that investigation, they determine there is a commercial opportunity that they can attack with a project, they go looking for individuals with Blockchain skills. At that point, they start hiring people with real-world experience in an advisory capacity.
The second most common source of jobs from hiring managers in the field comes from people in the technology and Financial Services Industry forming a start-up designed to disrupt their industry. In their rush to bring a new product to market, they also need skilled team members who can help them construct their dream.
So, if you want to take advantage of these opportunities, how can you do it?
Where to get the skills you need to become a Blockchain expert
For those who already have a natural curiosity or passion for Blockchain technology, there are a number of resources available to you which can assist in the upskilling process.
“There is a big wave of people coming who are currently skilling up. There are more and more courses being offered including by Universities, private institutions etc. “Says Ben.
Specifically, experts in the field suggest you:
- Get your hands dirty: if you are not in the Blockchain technology field now, do your own research and find out what technologies are being used by leaders in the field. Consider what programming languages you could usefully learn, what frameworks are relevant to Blockchain builds as all of those skills are relevant attributes that employers are looking for.
- Broaden your experience – you need to be a dualist: The people getting hired are the people that see both sides, says Ben. Hiring managers want employees that see a Blockchain business someone as having both the technology component and a commercial benefit. A single individual with those things, is even more important than a person with specific Blockchain project experience, according to Green.
- Meet Up with and network alongside others who feel as passionately as you do about the subject: There are some great meet up groups such as Bocky Poobah’s Ethereum Dev group where people can talk tech and meet others who share the same interests. Exposure to these people and these ideas will keep you on the front foot, demonstrate to potential employers you have a genuine interest and introduce you to valuable contacts who could help you get a job in the area.
- Get involved in Open source Projects: Finally, involvement in any sort of Blockchain related Open Sourced project is a real differentiator for candidates. Open sourced solutions assist in setting the standards for the industry.
“At the end of the day though employers want to see candidates who have done something meaningful and not just dipped their toe in a project.” Says Ben.
Bringing it all together
Next to Blockchain, the only alternative roles in technology, which are so highly sought after are those related to Artificial Intelligence. The same thing is happening to skills and employees in both spheres. The enormous financial rewards of disrupting banking and transactions, in the case of Blockchain and the chance of disrupting pretty much everything in the case of AI, have stimulated a frenzy of investment and left those with relevant skills in short supply.
Blockchain is spawning whole new industries. Now there are smartphones designed to transact in these new currencies, governments using Blockchains and even power companies employing the technology to assist with their billing. The area is rife with innovation and opportunity.
It’s telling that the other interviewee I had approached for this article, like Ben, a Blockchain recruiter, didn’t have 30 minutes to discuss the issue with me in the course of a 2 week to and fro. It seems there is no quiet time in Blockchain recruitment at the moment.
Whether your goal is financial certainty and you’re working for a Blue Chip corporate, or world domination and you’re part of a StartUp with a Blockchain, there are any number of cheap ways that you can invest in yourself and learning the skills required to take advantage of the opportunity these technologies present.
Ralf is an I.T expert and a technology blogger, he writes about mobile phones and the latest technology news. He currently works at Whatphone.com.au as a content manager and his writings can bee seen on various technology blogs. He also loves taking pictures when free. You can follow him at Twitter @IamRalf12.