So you want a job in blockchain...

9 months ago by Jeremy Bloom in Trends
Image by iStock.

Blockchain - the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies - is the hottest buzzword on the planet right now (aside from Chloe Kim). As we reported last week, established companies are doubling down on the technology, with IBM ($NYSE:IBMtaking a lead role in hiring. Today we take a look at what kind of blockchain jobs are being created, and what skills are in demand.

A lot of these listings read like somebody's boss said, "By the way, what are we doing with Blockchain?"

The #1 listing is, unsurprisingly, the most generic: Blockchain Developer, which pretty much covers just about any sort of coding involving blockchain. The other top five titles are fairly general as well. After the table, we'll take a look at a few specifics.

(Note: Thinknum job listing data is tracked on a daily basis, so these totals represent "job-listing days", rather than individual hires.)

Job title # of listings
Blockchain Developer 1219
Blockchain Technology Expert (Ethereum, Node.js, Javascript, AngularJS, Bootstrap, Java, Python, Go, Rust) 426
Senior QA Engineer (Blockchain) 262
Blockchain Engineer 260
EU Information Security Engineer - Rakuten Blockchain Lab 212
Blockchain Business Expert 180
Senior Blockchain Developer 178
Blockchain Application Developer / Architect 161
Blockchain Architect 146
BlockChain Engineer 144
Manager, Blockchain Solution Architect, Advisory, PI – ITA 141
Software Engineer - Graduate and Placement position - Rakuten Blockchain Lab 141
Blockchain Software Engineer 137
Sr Community Manager and Blockchain Evangelist 135
Vice President of Business Development - Blockchain 133
Innovation Expert - Blockchain Lead 112
Blockchain Tech Lead 106
(Junior) Platform Developer for SAP Blockchain Job 105
Blockchain Center of Excellence Lead 103
Senior Sw engineer - BlockChain 103
SW Engineer - BlockChain 103
Application Developer - Java - Blockchain - CIB Fixed Income Spread Technology - London - VP 102
(Senior) Frontend Developer & UI / UX Designer for Blockchain Team Job 99
IT Blockchain Engineer 99
Principal Program Manager - Blockchain Applications - Oracle Public Cloud 99
Praktikum ab Oktober 2017 im Bereich Digitalisierung & Blockchain in Stuttgart 98
Principal Blockchain Software Engineer - Oracle Public Cloud 97
New Grad - Research, BlockChain (PhD) 94
Staff Software Engineer, Rakuten Blockchain Lab 84
Software Engineer, Blockchain Tech Internship, Corp - Summer 2017 83
Sr Principal Architect / Developer - Blockchain 80
Application Developer - Java - Blockchain - CIB Fixed Income Spread Technology - London - Associate 79
CIB Operations (Derivatives Ops) - Blockchain Business Analyst - Bournemouth - Associate 79
Intern - Research, Blockchain (PhD) 79
JR0035864 - PSD BlockChain Security Development Engineer 79
(Senior) Developer - Blockchain Team Job 77
Principal Blockchain Application Developer - Oracle Public Cloud 76
(Junior) Developer - Blockchain Team Job 75
Business Developer - Blockchain Team Job 71
DevOps Engineer, Rakuten Blockchain Lab 71
Senior Software Engineer, Rakuten Blockchain Lab 71
Blockchain and Java Developer 70
Global Innovation Blockchain Product Manager 70
Global Innovation Blockchain Solution Architect - Manager 70
Industry Value Advisor- IoT-Blockchain-AI-Whitepapers-Publications Job 70
(Senior) Business Developer - Blockchain Team Job 69
Senior Programmer / Developer - Technical Leader – PLATFORM - BlockChain 69
Senior Trade Commercial and Risk Underwriter - SCF, TF and Blockchain 68
Content Marketer - Blockchain 67

IBM seems to have a reasonably clear idea of what they're doing, and what they're looking for. In this listing for a Research Scientist at the IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation, for instance, skillset requirements are specific:

You will be joining IBM Research to advance industry transformations using Blockchain technologies working with research colleagues around the world. This effort will involve working actively with clients across different industries such as Finance, Trade, and Commerce to explore how Blockchains can transform as well as create new opportunities. You will help create new digital Blockchain platforms and business networks in support of these key industry transformations. New information models that leverage distributed ledgers, security models that meet industry requirements while maintaining data integrity, confidentiality and privacy, smart contract libraries and templates that support multi-party business processes, cognitive analytics and services to generate breakthrough insights, new scale-ready deployment architectures and infrastructure to enable global business networks are some of the many ways in which you will be able to help transform industries and be part of a unique team of top talent. 

...The Research Scientist position requires a PhD in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering or Other engineering background with research record and commitment in one or more of the following areas – distributed systems and applications, cloud computing, performance modeling and analysis with focus on scalability, cryptography and trusted computing —and preferably knowledge in any of the industry domains such as finance, trade, supply chain management and commerce.

We invite junior research scientists from universities as well as senior research scientists with industry experience.

On the other hand, a lot of these listings read like somebody's boss said, "By the way, what are we doing with Blockchain?" And they swallowed hard, thought fast, and said, "Oh, we're hiring a team right now to jump all over that!"

Consider this listing from Invesco ($NYSE:IVZ), a publicly traded asset management firm handling $830 billion:

Do your thoughts and passions reside at the intersection of technology, financial services, and innovation? Invesco is a global asset management firm whose sole purpose is to help people get more out of life through a superior investment experience. We’re seeking a Blockchain Developer to join our Disruptive Technology team who can envision the next great technological innovations in the asset management world. Someone who wants to work on cutting edge Financial Technologies (aka FinTech) that will ultimately yield significant benefits for Invesco. Spearhead innovation leveraging the latest tools and technologies to introduce leading edge products and services to market, as well as foster new ways of working.

...We’re seeking well-rounded candidates who know their way around multiple Blockchain platforms such as Hyperledger and Ethereum, as well as programming languages like Javascript and Java. Members of our team are required to be enthusiastically passionate about championing speed, quality, automation, and continuous delivery. Our team is responsible for evaluating technology as it evolves, so the incumbent must thrive in dynamism, uncertainty, and flux.

Key Responsibilities / Duties:

  • Play, Explore, Hack, Break things, and Fix them so that they’re better and more useful...

And then, there are the hyper-specific, hyper-directed listings. For example, some of the folks who brought you Netscape and Mozilla are working on a new browser, Brave ($BRAVESOFTWARE), and are planning on using blockchain to run what they're calling a Basic Attention Token. "It is a utility token based on the Ethereum technology that can also be used as a unit of account between advertisers, publishers, and users in a new, blockchain-based digital advertising and services platform."

So they're looking for engineers with experience in blockchain, particularly Etherium:

The primary task is the development of an open decentralized blockchain-based ads ecosystem, involving user contributions, attention rewards, and publisher contributions over several phases. The first phase will include transition of our existing Bitcoin based proof-of-concept, so familiarity with Bitcoin is a plus.

The ideal candidate will have previously worked with distributed applications, have extensive familiarity with Ethereum and related blockchain technologies including smart contracts (especially ERC-20 tokens), sidechains, and state channels. They must be well versed in the current best practices surrounding smart contract development and be able to rigorously test and verify contract code.

One of the key things about blockchain: It allows global transactions to take place without a trusted intermediary. It's therefore not too surprising that a lot of the companies that currently act as trusted intermediaries - banking houses like Goldman Sachs and consulting firms like Ernst & Young ($EY- are getting into blockchain in a big way (more on this later).

EY's advertisement for a Manager, Blockchain Solution Architect reads more like a wishlist:

The responsibility of the Solution Architect/Technical Leader is to turn requirements for Blockchain-based products into architected solutions to enable high-value offerings in one or more of our Service Lines...

...Blockchain technology is a complex emerging capability that is far from mature.  Above and beyond any of the “essential” skills for this job, you must have a love of learning and experimentation with new technologies and a passion for learning by doing and leading by example. If you consider yourself an open source enthusiast, a hobbyist in development or a best in class Solution Architect with a desire to gain knowledge in an emerging market, please apply. 

...Ideally, you’ll also have

  • Past work experience in blockchain technology, encryption, or distributed peer-to-peer systems.

  • Knowledge of numerous well-documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Blockchain development approach (example: numerous Burn-down techniques, numerous Retrospective formats, handling bugs, etc.)

  • Blockchain experience is not a requirement; a self-starter, a passionate enthusiast for advanced technology, and a self-taught developer or programmer, who can work in an environment and embrace on the job learning of Blockchain is needed

  • Excitement for and passion around disruption, technological change, and, ideally, Blockchain technology

More: Where are the blockchain jobs at? You may be surprised

Jeremy Bloom

When Jeremy Bloom isn't writing about energy, the environment, or the amazing strangeness of modern life, you can find him drinking really good single malt whisky...

Learn more about Thinknum data today Request demo

Request a demo

We would love to show you how Thinknum will benefit your investment process. To get started, fill out the form and we'll contact you shortly to schedule your demo.

The best of media, delivered to you

Get a newsletter of our most popular stories of the week.