With starting salaries well over $100,000 and plenty of jobs to choose from, it feels somewhat unnecessary to ask why anyone would make the career shift to blockchain development. And yet, behind that seemingly simple question exists an incredible amount of angst involved in changing career paths from something stable to the unknown.
The news, social media, even happy hour conversations these days seem to at least burp some mention of blockchain. It feels like a summer blockbuster, a current hit, sure. But is it just a phase? And what will the future hold?
Despite its apparent success and potential outlook, there’s still a huge challenge for developers to source talent in the community. This sudden vacuum of skilled developers comes from the apprehension society has had towards blockchain tech, viewing it as synonymous with Bitcoin and initially seeing that cryptocurrency more as a nefarious, drug dealer payment plan rather than a technological marvel has interfered with its full and rapid adoption as a household name. But now that institutions have realized that it has the ability to revolutionize the world, major industries have been sucking up as much of the talent as they can. This has left many startups and growing companies thirsting for staff to help bring their ideas into fruition.
Then what’s the big deal about switching careers?
The truth is that blockchain is just too new. Watching Bitcoin take off as if it were Elon Musk being jettisoned into space driving a Tesla on a one-man mission to Mars has left people amazed, baffled, and doubtful of its success. Investors know there’s potential for huge gains in the market and the result has been that basically any ICO with a decent enough white paper and a somewhat articulate roadmap seems to have no problem raising capital, often hitting their mark within a day or two into their presale.
But when these companies throw out lures to draw in skilled developers, they discover that there’s not that many fish in the sea. They have the money to fund these concepts, just not the talent.
Aside from the hesitation inspired by changing from a stable career into a relatively new field and the fear of the blockchain turning out to be a bursting bubble, sending would be employees running back to the safety of their previous jobs, there’s the difficulty in learning a new system that makes switching careers challenging. Blockchain technology, while utilizing aspects of Java, C++, and other familiar programing languages, still has its own obstacles. There are plenty of new terms and concepts, from understanding and creating DAPPs to the functionality of Smart Contracts and much more.
This makes learning blockchain independently a challenge.
Most people with years of experience in high-level programming are used to teaching themselves as they go along. But when it comes to blockchain, it’s a little different. Going solo is a time-consuming process because of how new blockchain technology is. If you run into a problem when trying to teach yourself, there aren’t a ton of readily available answers. Smart developers can hit up Reddit and GitHub and try to hunt down answers or wait for days for replies to their questions, or they can rewatch videos online attempting to correct and learn from mistakes, but this usually has to be done while maintaining a fulltime career. Another apparent option would be to go back to school as universities are beginning to incorporate blockchain programs into their curriculums, but this is expensive and slow.
What other options are there?
Code schools. For the smart developer looking to rapidly change career paths, this is the best option. They run various lengths, from a few days, to weeks, to yearlong intensive courses. These programs have the resources blockchain novices need to succeed with highly-qualified, experienced teachers ready to guide developers through the process of adapting their skills to this new technology.
They’re not without obstacle, however. Some of these code schools charge money for classes or boot camps and other free, online classes don’t offer job placement or certification after completion. And while these careers pay substantially higher than other current program development jobs, many see transitioning careers alone as a high price; spending time or money for additional the schooling without a solid price for the future is a red flag. Add to that the skepticism about the future of blockchain technology and it’s not hard to see why developers are hesitant about making the transition.
New code schools are on the horizon, offering highly incentivized programs. There’s been a call in the cryptocommunity for companies to support the training of talented developers in their transition into the field. These programs will be incentivized. Hatch Crypto, for example, will work with organizations to recruit individuals, training them for free and providing them with financial assistance to help them cover expenses during full time study. Companies are desperate for top-rated talent and ready to recruit directly out of these schools where they know the graduates have the necessary skills for success.
Time is the major enemy in the cryptocommunity. There is simply too much that needs to happen to guide cryptos into the technological marvels everyone envisions them to be.
Blockchain technology is far from perfect, and right now, there are ample investors waiting on the revolution of Web 3.0 to happen. But for that to happen, developers need to be in the labs, turning out software that can keep up with the major issues plaguing the technology.
The fate of cryptocurrency is the same for its developers. The sooner they are trained and ready to work for companies that have the necessary funds to develop their concepts, the better off the cryptocommunity and ultimately the world will be as a whole. Developers who are hired on early with these companies, those who transition now while demand is high, will have the greatest success. Reputable code schools are the fastest way to make that happen.