Despite the increasing interest in blockchain, appearance of numerous startups and investments in the sphere making up to $1.1 billion, the amount of developers who have mastered the software remains relatively small. According to the career site Indeed.com, there were only 136 jobs with “blockchain” in the description as of September 7.
“The supply of people that have extensive blockchain experiences is pretty low,” said Jered Kenna, an entrepreneur who may be hiring a blockchain expert this fall. “And the demand is quickly increasing. Sometimes they get five job offers a day.” Kenna seeks to hire “someone with a lot of experience to lead and a few others that had just graduated from a blockchain bootcamp or were more junior.” He claims that a blockchain developer with enough experience can earn up to $220,000 a year.
Bloomberg tells the story of Roy Breidi, a 27-year-old software developer who was planning to launch a bitcoin startup a year ago but really didn’t have a full understanding of the cryptocurrency. He admits that he “didn’t really understand what’s the magic behind it.”
Breidi decided to take an online course Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies from Coursera. Within months, he quit his previous job and was employed as co-founder and chief technology officer at Shake, the company that allows people spending with a bitcoin-based debit card. It has recently raised investment from Boost VC.
Breidi moved to San Mateo, California, where he has temporary housing and an office. He admits that now he is not getting paid for his work but he sounds rather optimistic though and hopes to make money off his equity. “The sky is the limit,” he said.
Breidi is only one of the examples and Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies course is only one of the workshops and bootcamps appearing to give people – especially software developers – a clear understanding of the blockchain technology. More hands-on workshops are popping up from New York to Sydney to Luxembourg. There are courses that last several days or several months giving the basics of cryptography and the programming language Solidity, explaining how applications on the shared blockchain work.
The cost of most advanced programs can be rather high. Byte Academy in New York plans to offer a full-time, eight-week program this fall for $10,000. In April, the Luxembourg School of Business organized a two-day bootcamp for 17 people. Each participant paid 1,200 euros ($1,350).
It is most likely that the number of developers will increase significantly. Jeff Garzik, one of the few experts working on the bitcoin blockchain, says that 7,000 to 8,000 people can develop for the blockchain with various levels of proficiency while only around 250 people are true masters. The situation can change within several years. The number of blockchain developers can reach 100,000 if more industries move from testing to deployment.
Many companies, like Google-parent Alphabet Inc., launch blockchain courses for their own employees. Capgemini Financial Services held an eight-week full-time course for the first 25 young developers while the company is planning to train 100 employees till the end of the year. “There’s only probably 100 blockchain experts in the world,” Bart Cant, the company’s blockchain community leader, said. “Most of them are at startups. People are liking that environment, it’s difficult for them to come to a more traditional environment.”
Of course, it can take several years for a large number of high-paying blockchain jobs to materialize, but judging by the increasing number of educational programs in the sphere, the process is moving rather rapidly.