Solving the Blockchain Industry’s Number One Problem - Talent Shortage

Is your organization competing for Blockchain technology expertise on the hiring front? Cointelegraph takes a closer look at the current situation.

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Solving the Blockchain Industry’s Number One Problem - Talent Shortage

With the amount of activity happening around Blockchain technology, companies are now hiring individuals with Blockchain related expertise, mainly including developers, security experts and business consultants. Due in part to the relatively new emergence of the technology, businesses are now competing with one another to access this talent due to the lack of supply.

The war for talent will only get worse unless we train more people globally, including going back to the grassroots of society, whereby universities begin the introduction of Blockchain and cryptocurrency courses as part of a degree program.

If you help them build it, more will come

Those interested in Blockchain technology, from a perspective of how they can grow a business with the right talent and funding, must hold a community-oriented approach.

While there is currently a lot of passion behind Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it may still be considered a fringe subject and many developers with the talent to move the needle on major development projects may still lack the awareness on the subject.

Finding a community and enabling it to grow will provide a steady, long-term and strong base of talent and potential capital for businesses for years to come.

The need for talent is only heating up

We must ask ourselves, who are setting the standards for development, best practices and regulations in the industry which can be followed and improved on?

While the days of the cryptocurrency and Blockchain world being the wild west are maybe only narrowly behind us as we see major enterprise adoption, there are still many unknowns as far as how all of this new technology will affect our lives and businesses.

What we can conclude from the current trends is that the need for talent in this space is only beginning to heat up and it will get much much hotter in the coming years.

The number one issue of the Blockchain industry

Blockchain, the underlying technology that we’ve all learned about through the revolutionary digital currency called Bitcoin, has taken the world by storm. Virtually every enterprise has been, is being or will be affected by the way this indigenous distributed ledger allows for the trustless and immutable transaction of data.

In 2016 alone, over $1 bln has been invested into Blockchain technology by businesses. Most of the businesses in past years that have garnered big money investments have been related to Bitcoin and were more consumer oriented. However, the shift seen in 2016 is more towards the enterprise focused Blockchain solutions companies.

Clearly, if large enterprise organizations have private and permissioned Blockchains that are developed within a silo, there will need to be standardized best practices on how organizations can cooperate with one another’s Blockchains.

Currently, Hyperledger and R3 are doing some of the most progressive work in this regard, allowing many different types of enterprises to join their consortiums and work to create common standards for Blockchain technology development.

Most important technical expertise

While there are Python, Java and Ruby clients to interact with Blockchain platforms, one of the most popular common coding languages being currently used is Javascript.

Browsing across job descriptions for Blockchain related jobs, from start-ups to global corporations, the following languages and frameworks were mentioned as the most important to the core role responsibilities:

  • Of course, Solidity and Golang are crucial languages for programming smart contracts within the Ethereum ecosystem specifically.
  • C++, Python, Haskell, Java, Scala, Javascript, Node.js, Ruby on Rails.
  • Javascript frameworks such as Angular, Truffle, React and Meteor appear to be important for developers to tie their backend knowledge of Blockchain technology into a workable front-end for users.

Legal expertise is also crucial

Not only technical skills will be needed in order to architect, build, implement and operate Blockchain systems within modern and new business models. Systems thinkers with a solid ability to abstract and conceptualize complex concepts will be crucial in the Blockchain space.

Especially with the programming language associated with many Blockchain platforms and smart contracts, a precise understanding of a code’s function within a business model is essential.

As was obvious with the hack and exploit of the DAO as well as the legalities associated with issuing securities through tokenized ICO crowdfunding, people able to parse through legal jargon and translate it into executable code will be among the highest demanded professionals in the space.

A key to a thriving Blockchain technology ecosystem

What we believe is essential in order to have a thriving Blockchain technology ecosystem is these three key fields:

Access to Capital - This will not only allow for individual Blockchain businesses to seek funding but also may help spur community building entities like startup accelerators and incubators. Accelerators such as Techstars have vertical-specific startup programs and having a Blockchain focused one which is sponsored by a local venture capital and angel investing source would help attract all key players to one specific area.

Access to Universities - College students are typically an integral part of the fabric of any community where startups and businesses want to be. These individuals tend to be highly educated, of course, but also highly motivated to participate in and eventually work in cutting edge technological verticals. If a local university program has good programming for Blockchain and cryptocurrency technology in tandem with a local startup economy focused on that sector, they will have most of the ingredients in a recipe for success.

Community spaces are important beyond just being co-working locations. They provide spaces for early stage businesses to continue their work after their incubator or accelerator has finished.

They also provide a space for hackathons and community events to take place. Hackathons can be great opportunities for new talent to become engaged with new technologies like Blockchain as well as for businesses to have their ideas tested and floated in a dynamic and critical environment.

- Written by Antonio Sabado of The Blockchain Connector