Blockchain is a complex digital framework where transactions are recorded in a decentralized manner. It’s a digital ledger that differs from other databases since information is stored in blocks that are chained together and distributed among other users, meaning every time a transaction is made on the blockchain, a record is added to every user’s ledger. Blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) where each transaction is distinguished by an unchangeable cryptographic signature or a hash that makes tampering with data immediately apparent. Transactions on a blockchain network can include both tangible and intangible assets, and since all details of transactions on a blockchain can be seen, these also involve lower risk and cost in between.
The recent boom in cryptocurrency interest has made blockchain a hot topic, but besides cryptocurrency, blockchain is a secure means of storing information or data for other types of transactions for other industries like banking and finance, healthcare, insurance, government, and real estate among others. Besides the interest in cryptocurrency, careers in blockchain and blockchain development are likely to increase in demand in the coming years due to companies’ interest in adopting DLTs. Whether you’ve just taken an interest in blockchain, or are already a full-stack developer looking to shift careers, here are a few tips to consider in becoming a blockchain developer.
Know what blockchain developers do
In essence, a blockchain developer designs, optimizes, and develops blockchain-related protocols, dApps, smart contracts, and architecture. Blockchain developers can either be core blockchain developers or blockchain software developers.
A core blockchain developer deals with the security and architecture of a blockchain network, designs protocols needed to run a blockchain solution successfully and ensures the overall network works as intended. On the other hand, a blockchain software developer uses the architecture and protocols built by core blockchain developers to create decentralized applications (dApps) for blockchain systems and ensure these run smoothly with other services and apps.
Learn how blockchain works
Before getting into becoming a blockchain developer, you should understand blockchain architecture, how it works, and other concepts like decentralization, the use of consensus in decision making in a network, and distributed ledger technology. It’s also helpful to go through Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper on bitcoin to understand how blockchain technology works.
Learn to code and use programming languages
Get familiar with technical skills and concepts
Besides learning to code, knowledge of data structure concepts come in handy in becoming a blockchain developer since these are used to build an efficient blockchain system. An understanding of databases and networking concepts will also help understand how distributed systems work, and cryptographic concepts like digital signatures, RSA algorithm, hash functions, among other important concepts can help build your foundation to get started with blockchain development. While a degree in information security or computer science may help provide the background knowledge needed to work as a blockchain developer, it’s not necessarily a requirement.
Learn about cryptonomics
A portmanteau of the words cryptography and economics, cryptonomics involves understanding the economics and methodology behind cryptocurrency, as well as measuring and predicting metrics like coin price, transaction volume, among others. Although cryptocurrency is one use of blockchain, knowing how mining, transaction fees, and other mechanisms work can also help understand blockchain even more.
Understand how smart contracts and dApps work
Smart contracts are self-executing agreements between two people (a buyer and a seller) written in code and exist across a blockchain network. These contracts allow transactions to be executed among different parties without needing a third party or external enforcer to oversee a transaction. Decentralized applications or dApps are software that exists and are built on blockchains, examples of these are Ethereum, NEO, EOS, and Hyperledger. Understanding and knowing how these work are useful to core blockchain developers and blockchain software developers.
Online courses and other resources
Transitioning into becoming a blockchain developer may be easier for those with backgrounds in computer science or who have similar degrees, but there are multiple programs and resources available online to help you become a blockchain developer. Universities like the University at Buffalo and MIT offer courses on blockchain, blockchain courses are also available on Coursera and Udacity, and sites like simplilearn and Dapps for beginners offer resources on blockchain and creating dApps on Ethereum blockchain respectively. There are also online communities and forums you can join for additional resources.
Though blockchain is still considered to be in an early stage for practical use at present, use for the technology is seen to increase in demand in the coming years. Learning about blockchain and becoming a blockchain developer this early may not be easy for everyone at present, but may eventually pay off in the near future.
About The Author:
|Chatty is a freelance writer from Manila. She finds joy in inspiring and educating others through writing. That’s why aside from her job as a language evaluator for local and international students, she spends her leisure time writing about various topics such as lifestyle, technology, and business.|