How to Recruit Blockchain Developers

Demand for Blockchain Developers is white hot! Startup CTOs and corporate recruiters need to adapt to attract the best talent.

In 2017 Blockchain ventures raised 3.7 billion in ICOs and another $0.5 billion in venture capital. But with precious few experienced blockchain developers in existence and even fewer amongst them willing to work on your terms, Blockchain entrepreneurs are left with a curious dilemma… “How do You Recruit Blockchain Developers?”

They’ve come…Now find Blockchain Developers to Build It.

Any lingering doubts that early Blockchain pioneers may have had about the technology’s ability to surpass its abstruse origins were definitively laid to rest in 2017 as professional investors and early adopters acknowledged the importance of the Blockchain—with their fiat wallets. On top of approximately $4 billion in ICOs in 2017, Blockchain startups attracted at least another $0.5 billion from VCs. Established companies pivoted to include or even focus on Blockchain tech, mainstream media and the general public hopped on board as Bitcoin shot to fame, and the runaway Blockchain train now truly seems unstoppable.

The truth is, even some of the most thought-out and best-funded Blockchain projects are still in white paper stage. The process to plan, code, test, integrate and test some more is still months and years in the making for many ventures. And that takes experienced Blockchain engineers. It reminds one of the refrain from Kevin Costner’s’ movie Field of Dreams…”If you build it, they will come.” The debut of Blockchain has left many entrepreneurs with the obverse dilemma…“They’ve come…Now, can you really find Blockchain developers to build it?”

Demand for Blockchain Developers is White Hot!

“The number of job postings including the term Blockchain increased by 115% from 2016 to 2017.”

How many new Blockchain ventures have come onto the scene in the last year or two? How many existing technologycompanies have pivoted into Blockchain or added a Blockchain component to their existing models? While reliable statistics on the number of new ventures to enter the Blockchain fray are hard to come by, an IBM study of 3,000 leading company C-suite executives conducted in mid-2017 revealed that a full third of them were planning to integrate Blockchain in their business operations.

According to employment analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, the number of job postings including the term “Blockchain” increased by 115% from 2016 to 2017, already making the skillset the second highest in demand, trailing only robotics.

Research like this just serves to support what the empirical evidence on the ground already tells us — the demand for Blockchain developers is white hot!

Finding Blockchain Developers is Hard…

Here’s the dilemma. In 2016, there were believed to be no more than 5,000 developers worldwide dedicated to the Blockchain and cryptocurrency programming. That estimate is downright paltry compared to an estimated 18.5 million general software engineers worldwide. Think about that for a moment … the industry is under rapid development and change, mainstream corporations are jumping on board, and perhaps but a few hundredths of a percentage point of developers worldwide truly understand this technology.

This tremendous shortage of experienced Blockchain engineers in the industry makes it very difficult to recruit the right talent for your venture. The problem is exacerbated by three particularly menacing conditions:

  1. Blockchain-related ventures are growing at an exponential rate, meaning that more and more firms want to hire the same Blockchain engineers that you do.
  2. Blockchain development operates under a different paradigm of software development, demanding that traditional developers pick up challenging new skills before they can really perform. (That takes a commodity none of us really has….time!)
  3. Blockchain based systems are designed to perform autonomously, to inherently reduce risk. But as Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas pointed out, “Blockchain technology lacks a history of secure code,” meaning that inexperienced Blockchain developers, working to meet fast-paced business demands, may inadvertently leave vulnerabilities in the system. (Remind you of The Dao, anyone?) Unlike many other software systems, bad Blockchain code can be very hard to patch.

(For more on this, see our article “Why are Blockchain Developers so Hard to Find?”)

…and Blockchain developers can be very expensive!

With blockchain developers in short supply, it is not surprising that experienced Blockchain developers command high salaries—if they’re willing to work for you at all. In December 2017, Computerworld reported that “The median income for blockchain developers in the U.S. is $130,000 a year, compared to general software developers, whose annual median pay is $105,000.” That median was $120,000-$180,000/year, according to Business Insider, and £200-300,000 ($250,000-$400,000) as reported on Bitcoin.com. (See our feature article “ How Much do Blockchain Developers Cost?” for more details.)

So how DO you recruit a Blockchain developer, anyway?!

“Blockchain developers are NOT searching job boards for your opportunity. To engage with them, you need to fish where the fish are.”

With all of the above context, finding good Blockchain talent is no trifling matter. The good news is — good Blockchain developers of all stripes DO exist, and on the whole, ARE interested in taking this industry forward.To hire a Blockchain developer, first you need to think like a Blockchain developer. After talking to experienced, committed developers every day for quite some time now, we here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. have the following recommendations for attracting and hiring the best Blockchain talent:

Top Five Ways to Recruit Blockchain Developers:

  1. Be Interesting.
    Leading Blockchain developers with chops are extremely bright and incredibly passionate. If they’ve been around for a while in the Blockchain world, they got into this field to change the world, not to “punch a clock.” To attract good Blockchain staff, you need them to feel that what you are doing is of genuine importance and a bona-fide intellectual challenge. Blockchain Developers, Inc. can help you craft and share your message in a way that Blockchain developers will appreciate, but the actual “interesting” part is up to you… If your mission is humdrum, we probably can’t help you. (We turn away more new clients than we accept, for more on that, please read our FAQ on “How does it Work? / How much does it cost?.”)
  2. Go Remote.
    Probably around 80% of the Blockchain ecosystem talent is located outside of the United States. There are naturally pros and cons to hiring globally, and most US firms prefer to hire locally. Suffice it to say, however, that firms with “local-only” hiring policies had best start warming up to remote working arrangements, even if that’s only a time zone away. According to Stack Overflow’s 2017 developer survey, respondents consider “office environment” as a key factor in considering a job, and cite “days off” (57%) and “remote options” (53.3%) as the most important factors in compensation benefits packages. However you slice it, Blockchain developers don’t want to live in your cube farm.
  3. Farm It Out.
    If you don’t need hardcore Blockchain development talent long-term, can’t find Blockchain engineers, or don’t think your project is compelling (or well-funded) enough to attract the caliber of talent that you desire, you might consider throwing out the DIY model altogether. Firms like Consensys, Distributed Labs, and Mako Lab focus on turnkey software engineering projects, while Ideas by Nature and Searched.io do Blockchain consulting and branding for ICOs. Go one step further by pairing your own developers with these groups to learn on the job. It will probably cost you more in the end to work this way, but playing the smart long game has a storied history of beating the quick and dirty hack job.

    “Hiring Blockchain developers is not for the faint of heart. But it CAN be done, and done well. The winners and losers of the next few years may well come down to the staffing decisions that are being made on this very day.”

  4. Grow your Own.
    Even Consensys is not immune to the developer shortage. That’s why they have been running all-expenses-paid coding bootcamps for qualifying candidates in Dubai, just to discover a few pearls to hire. While that kind of undertaking seems a bridge too far for most, there are many smaller scale alternatives. Consider sending your most talented developers to a Dev++ Bitcoin Programmer Boot Camp at Stanford University, or through a Blockchain Programming Seminar near you, encourage (and pay for) Blockchain courses on platforms like Udemy or BlockGeeks, or, if you’re lucky enough to have an experienced Blockchain developer on staff already, align your team to bring them up to speed under the master’s tutelage.
  5. Seek, and You Shall Find.
    Maybe this one ought to be filed under: “Things not to do: Post a job opening and wait.”In the same Stack Overflow survey, only 10% of developers said they were “completely satisfied” with their job, 25% spent no time at all searching for new opportunities, and 28% spent only up to an hour per week. Blockchain developers are NOT searching job boards for your opportunity. To engage with them, you need to fish where the fish are. That means trawling Github repositories, joining slack, mattermost and reddit channels dedicated to Ethereum, solidity, bitcoin and smart contracts, attending and chatting it up at Ethereum development conferences, etc… You probably WON’T find what you are looking for with standard HR office practices like LinkedIn searches, so prepare to roll up your sleeves and do the work. (By the way…it’s really a LOT of work. That’s why so many smart Blockchain companies hire us to do it for them.)

Hiring Blockchain developers is not for the faint of heart. But it CAN be done, and done well. The winners and losers of the next few years may well come down to the staffing decisions that are being made on this very day.

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

Where to Hire Bitcoin Developers

It’s the Wild West as far as Bitcoin development is concerned. If you’re one of the growing number of companies seeking a Bitcoin developer, your job search is reversed. Usually companies have the gargantuan task of sifting through loads of highly qualified programmers to reluctantly decide which ones to hire. With Bitcoin developers, you’ll be lucky if you find some that make the cut.

Three Reasons Why Finding Your Perfect Bitcoin Software Engineer is So Hard

  1. Bitcoin is new
    Bitcoin is a new technology. As such, it is a technology that is constantly evolving. Your perfect Bitcoin engineer would need to have, at least, five years experience in lower-level programming languages (e.g., Java, OCaml, and C#), and be familiar with backend and frontend systems, distributed systems and cryptography.

    He or she would need to be in touch with new and evolving technologies, be open to change and be willing to learn. “You can’t just say, ‘I am a highly specialised blockchain guy,’ because that actually doesn’t really mean anything, nor say, ‘I am really good at Eris’,” explains Seamus Cushley, Director of PwC, blockchain consulting services, “Eris may not be here tomorrow: it may become the underpinnings of the globe or they may not. So it is the ability to change which is important.”

  1. A Bitcoin developer is not a regular programmer
    Many recruiters make the error of equivocating a Bitcoin software engineer with a software programer. The truth is, there is a world of difference – and this world of difference can make or break your blockchain. First, simple programmers are good at improving your app. That’s it. They don’t have blockchain experience. For that, you need someone who specializes exclusively in cryptocurrency, which is an entirely different, more complex topic. Such Bitcoin developers know how to program high-quality code for Ethereum or Bitcoin blockchains and are familiar with game theory and economic principles. They’ve worked in areas like fixed income instruments, currencies, and commodities (FICC), equities, payments processing, and wholesale credit.
  1. Bitcoin developers are not looking for a job
    Bitcoin engineers tend to be independently wealthy. They’ve already made it big from bitcoin. They don’t need your money. You’ll have to convince them to work for you, and you may find that difficult, especially since most Bitcoin developers are fiercely independent, tend to start or join their own ventures, and avoid the conventional workplace. You’ll have to be innovative, present them with something world-changing, challenging and atypical, and slant your team and your workplace philosophy to suit their tastes.

    Few companies succeed in finding or hiring their dream developers, which is why “There is far more demand than supply of developers,” says ConsenSys Chief Marketing Officer Amanda Gutterman, “who are skilled with blockchains.” Moreover: “With the total market projected to boom, we believe demand will only increase more sharply.”

Where to Hire Bitcoin Developers

That said, over recent years, several services have launched programs to meet the growing need for highly skilled Bitcoin engineers. ConsenSys launched its ConsenSys Academy where it trains some of the top programmers to become top Bitcoin programmers.

Some companies outsource engineers from blockchain development firms. Other companies hire stop-gap solutions from services like Microsoft, ConsenSys, Distributed Labs, or Cardano-Labo. This route works if you want to hire skillsets on a project basis, without committing long-term to particular workers. Job-market platforms that are more “iffy” in their selection include Ethlance, Altoros, and 1.s-pro.io. On the other hand, Coind may have higher-quality Bitcoin programmers.

Other places to find blockchain engineers are on blockchain meetups and in developer conferences like Ethereum Devcon (i.e., Ethereum Foundation Developers Conference). You can also advertise on AngelList and StackOverflow, or browse online blockchain-related forums like Bitcointalk, relevant Reddit subgroups, Gitter, or crypto channels on Slack or Discord.

Finding out where your Bitcoin developers congregate is part of the job. You’d also want to know what makes a great developer — and how to motivate such individuals to join your team.  That’s where other articles on our site can guide you further.

 

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

When to Hire Bitcoin Developers

If the hiring price of bitcoin developers were to rise in the same way that the bitcoin currency has already risen, many enterprises would be hard-put to recruit them. Rarely has any tradeable asset seen such a dramatic increase as Bitcoin, rocketing upwards by thousands of percentage points.

Since bitcoin engineers are also blockchain developers, their value is in their ability to help their employers ride the wave of bitcoin popularity and leverage the underlying blockchain technology for next-generation applications across sales, finance, supply chain, and more.

What is Driving Bitcoin and Blockchain Popularity?

The exchange rate for a currency goes up because the market is convinced the underlying economy is strong, productive, profitable, sustainable or has some other desirable quality. As currency rates rise, a virtuous spiral develops. More organizations want to deal in that currency for their sales, purchases, rentals, and other transactions.

More and more applications are being developed to handle the currency and to integrate it with existing systems. In the case of Bitcoin, this includes writing programs to use blockchain to support contract management, inventory tracking, and so on. Costs, time to transact, and risk go down. The value of the currency goes up again, and the cycle repeats.

If you think this is wishful thinking, then consider the following example. One of the biggest insurance companies in the world, AXA, has already investigated using Bitcoin to provide micro-insurance services. The trouble is that companies like AXA have also already been snapping up bitcoin engineers to help them further their business aspirations.

What is at Stake for Your Enterprise?

To be fair, no enterprise is obligated to join the bitcoin movement. It is possible to forego on the additional customers that bitcoin transactions might bring your way. You can stick to automated clearing house (ACH) transactions that take days, rather than benefit from bitcoin transactions that take only minutes. And, of course, it’s your choice if you prefer to pay all the intermediaries in a conventional transaction chain for the fees they levy for passing your money along to the next in line.

As Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the renowned expert on quality, reputedly said, “Survival is optional. No one has to change.” These reasons and more are why companies are building up their teams of Bitcoin core developers today, to control their futures rather than have their futures control them.

What Will You Need in Terms of Bitcoin Developer Skills?

Bitcoin coders are software programmers, and basic software skills are a starting point. But you’ll need to add an understanding of cryptography and an appreciation of economics and business transactions, if you want useful, practical results. This combination of skills is already rare enough in most enterprises, but it still isn’t enough.

Bitcoin core developers are also renowned for their passion to discover new technologies, work on transparent, decentralized solutions, and find solutions to problems that leave many others scratching their heads. They often started working on Bitcoin and blockchain as an outside interest, fueled by a desire to change a system that they saw as outdated, inefficient, and even undemocratic.

A bitcoin dev list is their preferred meeting place, rather than a company coffee machine. In short, it’s unlikely that you will find longer-standing employees ready to go with this combination of capabilities and characteristics.

How You Can Move Forward

You might try any of the following possibilities, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. First, is training an option? Be aware that learning curves mean increased lead time, and that competent bitcoin coder instructors may be almost as rare as bitcoin developers themselves.

Second, how about outsourcing? You’ll have to agree to give up part of or all the control of your bitcoin app development, leaving the outsourcer in a potentially dangerous position of strength. If the outsourcer stops working for you, it keeps its skills and know-how, leaving you to scramble to find a replacement.

Third, can you hire bitcoin developers directly? This solution meets the needs for speedy deployment and building skills in-house, although it depends on knowing how to recruit via non-standard channels like a bitcoin dev list.

The Time to Hire Bitcoin Developers is Now

Insurance companies, banks, large corporations – the race for bitcoin talent is on. Once bitcoin engineers are ensconced in these kinds of organizations, it may be hard to tempt them back onto the employment market. Bitcoin coders and blockchain developers in general are also in demand across a range of industry sectors, and bitcoin engineers gravitate towards the top of recruiters’ lists, given their knowledge and experience of bitcoin as a currency and blockchain as an enabling technology. Yet when you know where to look for them and how to attract them – and if you act now – good bitcoin engineers are still available for hire.

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

Searching for Satoshi: How to Hire Bitcoin Developers?

Bitcoin still plays a central role in the Blockchain universe. But how do you find Bitcoin engineers?

Three types of Bitcoin engineers exist. Those who build program applications that merely happen to interact with your blockchain, those who build applications for your blockchain, and those who make a blockchain from scratch. This third category is the least common, the most skilled, and the hardest to get. As of mid-2016, blockchain thought leader William Mougayar estimated there were only about 5,000 such individuals. They’re supremely rich, so they’re not seeking a job. Most freelance, so you’d want to consider hiring remote. There’s a trick to hiring the best of them. You may have to change your work environment and philosophy to get them. Here’s a peek into their characteristics and interests so you know what to look for and how to motivate them to join your team.

Qualities of Bitcoin Developers

Crypto-anarchists dream of a decentralized industry that has people all over the world functioning without government interference. Peaceful though their philosophy is, it tends to intimidate businesses. Get used to it. It’s part of who they are.

1. Autonomous: Bitcoin engineers worth their salt became extremely rich from Bitcoin early in their careers. They’re not in it for the money. They’re obsessed with the technology. As one Reddit member put it: “I was enamored with Bitcoin when I first learned about it, and wanted to know everything about how it works. I spent hours everyday after work (I was/am a software developer) learning and practicing the tech… researching the tech, writing smart contracts/Dapp prototypes, and more or less evangelizing this technology.” There’s little hope such people will agree to be caged. These are people who prize their personal freedom and tend to hate workplace conventions. They may agree to work for you remotely. You may have to relax your rules.

2. Crypto-Anarchists: Many Bitcoin developers are strong libertarians, or crypto anarchists, who aim to decentralize everything from governments to the monetary system. BitNation’s founder, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, summarizes their viewpoint when she stated that she hoped that cryptocurrency could replace the nation state and rid us of bureaucrats, creating “a world of a million competing digital nations.” Crypto-anarchists dream of a decentralized industry that has people all over the world functioning without government interference. Peaceful though their philosophy is, it tends to intimidate businesses. Get used to it. It’s part of who they are.

3. Intelligent: They’re highly intelligent in the areas of technology, science, finance and arithmetics. Blockchain programming is programming of a different order. “In order to get your head around the complexities of Blockchain,” says Opus’ Zeth Couceiro, “you have to be a pretty smart programmer anyway, it is not just like knocking a website together.” Your dream bitcoin engineer knows game theory and economic principles inside out. Bitcoin developers often work with money, and, therefore, have experience in areas like fixed income instruments, currencies, and commodities (FICC), equities, payments processing, and wholesale credit.

4. Passionate about Financial Technology: Your dream Bitcoin engineer frequents blockchain communities, chats on hackathons, and patronizes on- and offline meetings –  as a hobby. You’ll also find them on crypto Subreddits, writing LinkedIn articles, hosting podcasts, and so forth. While some have Ph.Ds in the field, others are self-taught. What they have in common is decades-long experience in the field and a passion for FinTech.

5. Innovative: Many Bitcoin developers have teamed up to work on crypto challenges. The really good ones form and develop their own startups. You’re likely to find them on platforms like Gitter, the preferred chat app for developers, Slack or Discord, or plugging away at blockchain projects on HackerRank or GitHub. They congregate on blockchain-related forums like Bitcointalk, relevant Reddit subgroups, blockchain meetups, and developer conferences like Ethereum Devcon (i.e., Ethereum Foundation Developers Conference).

Other typical characteristics include the following:  They’re natural multi-taskers, juggling many different projects at one time. The best of them are able to solve technical and business problems simultaneously. They know they can resolve all problems, are highly competitive by nature, and crave recognition by and from their peers. They want to change the world – again, that’s where their libertarianism comes into play.

The Cost of Hiring Bitcoin Developers

They know they can resolve all problems, are highly competitive by nature, and crave recognition by and from their peers. They want to change the world

The low supply and huge demand for Bitcoin engineers mean that many companies are willing to pay a premium for this expertise. Opus’ Zeth Couceiro estimates a range of $70-90K for “regular” developers whom startups hire then boostwith training. For full-fledged Bitcoin developers, “expect to pay [between] $400,000 and $600,000” for an annual salary according to former chief information officer at UBS and founder of Bussmann Advisory, Oliver Bussmann. Bussmann believes there are only about 20,000 people worldwide with this kind of talent. “Demand for these skills is high. To get the talent you have to pay,” Bussmann tells the publication Financial News. (For a more comprehensive look at this area, see our Feature article “How much do Blockchain Developers Cost?“)

Bottom Line

In short, demand for Bitcoin software engineers is high and growing. While Russia and Poland have an abundance of developers, the United States has far less. The search is harder, particularly if your project is not viewed as outstanding. Some of the solution lies in your hands, though it’s far from easy:  Walk their walk, master their lingo, speak their speech. Show dream developers how their work will change the world and how they’ll gain visibility. Expect to hire remote devs who cherish independence and who enjoy juggling three or more projects simultaneously.

You’ll want to be resourceful, imaginative, persistent, and flexible. Some buy a whole company only to acqui-hire the right talent. It may be worth it.


We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

What is a Blockchain Developer?

Need to hire Blockchain talent, but new to the industry? Not sure what makes Blockchain developers different from other engineers? Learn the basics here.

 

Back in the early 1990’s, when the Internet had just become “a thing” for most people, connection speed was so slow and html code was so limited that it did not require any significant level of technical basis to understand what a Web Developer did. He or she was the guy who wrote html elements like <strong> and <br>, right?

For talent recruiters within and out of the Blockchain sphere, however, the world has become more complex in the past 25 years. A Blockchain, unlike a website, involves P2P networks, nodes, cryptography, token exchange platforms and other more sophisticated concepts. More importantly, because Blockchain systems for the most part are built not on a single programming language like html but on a diversified technology stack that is partly dependant upon developer preference, there is no single programming language or identifying factor that definitively distinguishes a Blockchain developer from a general web or app developer, making the term “Blockchain developer” a misnomer…almost.

So who are these Unicorn-like “Blockchain Developers” then?

To state the obvious, first and foremost, a Blockchain developer is a software engineer who solely or in concert with other developers creates or enhances a Blockchain system. If you found your way here, you almost certainly already know what Blockchain itself is, but if not, here’s a cute explainer video that does a pretty good job.

“By the end of 2017, the total number of software engineers with any experience working on Blockchains was estimated at under 30,000 (out of a global population of general software developers numbering more than 18 million.”

There is a substantial gap, of course, between understanding the basics of Blockchain and actually identifying a competent Blockchain developer. By the end of 2017 the total number of software engineers with any experience working on Blockchains was estimated at under 30,000 (out of a global population of general software developers numbering more than 18 million). Of that amount, probably only a few thousand had more than a year or two of experience working on Blockchain development, and of THAT amount, it’s likely that very, very few were highly proficient in the range of skills, programming languages and experience that it takes to create entirely new Blockchain systems.

What DOES define a Blockchain developer is a set of skills and experience in the some or all of the following Blockchain concepts…

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking
  • Cryptography and Crypto-currencies
  • Consensus algorithms
  • Risk analysis, data security, anomaly detection
  • Smart contract development
  • Distributed ledger / Distributed application development
  • Distributed storage

Defining the attributes of a Blockchain developer might also involve identification of some of the most popular programming languages that developers are using to build Blockchain systems…

  • C++
  • Javascript
  • Geth/Go
  • Python
  • Solidity
  • React
  • Rust

Some of the most popular existing Blockchain platforms…

  • Augur
  • Bitcoin
  • Corda
  • Eris:db
  • Ethereum
  • HydraChain
  • Hyperledger
  • MultiChain
  • OpenChain
  • Steem
  • Stratis

Or a few of the tools, programs, frameworks, protocols, compilers, libraries, plugins, services and implementations related to Blockchain development…

  • Dapple
  • Embark
  • IPFS
  • Metamask
  • Mist
  • MongoDB
  • Node.js
  • NoSQL
  • Parity
  • Pudding
  • Solc
  • Swarm
  • Tierion
  • Truffle
  • Web3.js
  • Whisper

So a Blockchain Developer is a person who has all of these skill sets and knows all these programming languages and tools?

Not so fast. It is extremely unlikely that any one individual stands in possession of knowledge and experience in ALL of these softwares, protocols and platforms. Blockchain development in specific, and software development in general, do not work like that. The languages and tools used depend upon industry, use case, integration requirements, developer preferences and legacy systems. On an individual basis, what a Blockchain developer knows and does also depends upon that Blockchain engineer’s focus.

“What is important in considering Blockchain candidates is that they DO have a strong understanding of and experience with the basic Blockchain development concepts and protocols and strong experience in at least SOME of the key languages and tools preferred for Blockchain development.”

Is he or she a back end Blockchain developer? front end Blockchain developer? or full stack Blockchain developer? A Blockchain DevOps Engineer? A Blockchain UX Designer? Or the rarest specimen of all—a true Blockchain CTO or Blockchain Senior Architect, who will devise genuinely new innovations, choose the technology stack and guide the entire development team?

What is important in considering Blockchain candidates is that they DO have a strong understanding of and experience with the basic Blockchain development concepts and protocols and strong experience in at least SOME of the key languages and tools preferred for Blockchain development. In most cases, your Blockchain developer should also have a strong track record collaborating in open source communities like Stackoverflow and Github.

Well, then what is the difference between a Blockchain developer, a Bitcoin developer, an Ethereum developer, a Smart Contract developer, a Solidity developer, and a DAPP developer? (And which one do I need?)

In simple terms, a Bitcoin developer works on Blockchain systems using the Bitcoin protocol and platform, an Ethereum developer works on Blockchain systems using the Ethereum protocol and platform, a smart contract developer works on the smart contract creation aspect of Blockchain systems, using a language like Solidity or Simplicity, a Solidity developer specifically uses the Ethereum based Solidity program to create smart contracts, a DAPP developer creates front end applications in any language which operates autonomously on a decentralized network, and all of the above are in one form or another Blockchain developers.

Again, which roles a Blockchain employer needs to fill depends entirely upon the Blockchain company’s project(s), the existing team and skillset, and the preferred development platform technology stack and implementation.

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

 

Becoming Blockchain: An Interview with Bitbay Founder David Zimbeck

What do Chess, Acting, burritos and C++ have in common? Bitbay’s founder tells his story.

We sat down with David Zimbeck, early Smart Contract pioneer, and founder of BitBay, BitHalo and BlackHalo with one question on our mind… “What does it take to become a Blockchain Developer?” Zimbeck transitioned to Blockchain development from acting, real estate, film development and chess, among other adventures. He shared with us his thoughts about the paucity of outstanding Blockchain developers and the qualities that make for good ones. Here is what we learned:

Blockchain developers must be well-rounded and analytical

Zimbeck himself appears to be a man of many lives. At one time, he loved Chess—he won the Ohio scholastic state championship three years in a row, becoming Chess Master at age 18 and defeating 10 Grandmasters in a tournament in Europe. Later careers included drilling oil, handling real-estate, producing films and acting. (Watch Zimbeck swashbuckling a minor role in Pirates of the Caribbean 2.) Each experience, he said, contributed to his Blockchain innovations.

“Chess,” for instance, “helped me visualize code. It helped me plan, memorize and problem solve, as well as anticipate problems well in advance. Working in Real Estate was crucial when I was developing BitBay’s double escrow smart contract program, and oil drilling taught me how to press forward through fatigue and discouragement. Being well rounded is critical for perspective and insight.”

Perseverance, self-discipline and willpower are essential

“I was literally a nobody in Cryptography, and I came completely out of nowhere. I’ve been persistent with my goals. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”.

Zimbeck said it took him 93 sixteen-hour days in a trailer to teach himself to program from scratch. This was mid-Winter in North Dakota under minus-13 degree conditions. “I lived on Taco Bell spicy potato burritos, almonds, chocolate, sunflower seeds and Mountain Dew,” shared Zimbeck, “I would wake up, roll out of bed, and code until falling asleep. I developed a cough so bad that I had to fly to Florida after my prototype was done and be nursed back to health by my parents.”

What motivated him? “[This work] was what was needed,” said Zimbeck, “to make the world’s first smart contracting platform. I was literally a nobody in Cryptography, and I came completely out of nowhere. I’ve been persistent with my goals. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Blockchain programmers must be meticulous in their work. Blockchains must be secure enough to protect large amounts of value. Platforms, once built can only be revamped through great expense and risk of disruption to the communities they serve. For these reasons, developers need to be painstakingly careful and thorough in their coding. One mistake may easily cause the platform’s clients to lose hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer of Ripple, who developed secure messaging and cloud storage software for government and military applications, compared Blockchain to a fortress. Enemies try to breach crypto infrastructure all the time. It takes a top developer to prevent and withstand these attacks.

Outstanding learning skills are more important than specific language familiarity

Job postings that seek outstanding Blockchain engineers usually specify a shopping list of requirements that include programming languages like LLL, Java, C++, Serpent and Solidity. To Zimbeck, the most important qualities are the abilities to keep on learning and to think “out of the box”.

“Smart contracts aren’t limited to one language. You should be able to deploy in any language you want on a sidechain or in a sandboxed fashion like JavaScript or Python. We engineers have many languages at our disposal,” he told us.

Zimbeck, a high-school dropout who only knew basic QBack and C++ when he first came to Blockchain programming, revealed that he taught himself Blockchain engineering by searching for information on Google. Indeed, Blockchain investor Zach Piester noted that Blockchain engineers need to think creatively, since Blockchain is an evolving technology, and since each usage case has its own unique requirements. The industry is moving at break-neck speed, so Blockchain engineers need to constantly update their skills, and need to have the courage to innovate audaciously.

It takes a great deal of passion to be a Blockchain Developer

“Money means nought to me. I want to lead a self-sufficient life. After programming, I want to be a builder or have a farm.”

Top Blockchain developers are not programming because they need the money, but because they genuinely love the industry, and/or because they see Blockchain technology as a tool for good. Zimbeck told us:

What got me into Blockchain was my prior search for solutions to world problems. Bitcoin didn’t impress me too much, since the decentralization of money won’t stop the media from dictating to people. However, I saw a lot of interesting potential with Blockchain, and this is what eventually lead me to the Halo idea”.

For Zimbeck, it was the drive that he’d had childhood on to make the world a better place. People like he see smart contracts as tools to not only protect cryptocurrency traders, but to make the world more democratic and trusting.

Blockchain engineers are often called “crypto-anarchists.” They believe in the power of Blockchain to remedy injustice, to restore trust, to help individuals escape government interference, to shatter borders, and to end corruption (among other benefits). These kind of individuals are neither grooming their LinkedIn profiles, nor searching for a way up the corporate ladder. “Money means nought to me,” said Zimbeck, “I want to lead a self-sufficient life. After programming, I want to be a builder or have a farm.”

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

How to find Bitcoin Developers

Bitcoin developers are rare, numbering only a few thousands really skilled ones. If you want to find and retain the best Bitcoin software engineers, you’ll want to know some tricks to get them.

The A-Z of Bitcoin Developers

First, Bitcoin developers fall into three fields.

There are those who….

  1. Build applications that interact with your blockchain: These are programmers who know web development and popular libraries like ReactJS. They don’t need specialized blockchain knowledge.
  2. Build on an existing framework (usually in the form of smart contracts): These are smart contract developers, with a background in programming, security and software testing. These developers tend to know IPFS/Filecoin, Oracles, token models, state channels, and the like.
  3. These developers build a blockchain from scratch: They are full-stack developers with a strong background in lower-level programming languages (e.g., Java, OCaml, and C#), distributed systems and cryptography.

So, essentially your search boils down to what you want your Bitcoin developer to do. Once you know that, the rest is easy.

Where to Find your Bitcoin Developers

  1. The “regular” Bitcoin engineer who improves your apps

You’ll want programmers who know web development and popular libraries like ReactJS. They don’t need specialized blockchain or Bitcoin knowledge.

Look for such software developers on regular places like TopTal, Guru, Upwork, LinkedIn, ELance, StackExchange, SmashingJobs or maybe even CraigsList.

  1. The “smart contract” builders

You’ll want Solidity developers, with a background in programming, security and software testing. These developers should be familiar with IPFS/Filecoin, Oracles, token models, state channels, and the like.

You may want to search LinkedIn for programmers that have these skills, scour relevant subReddits or place a cheap Reddit ad on crypto-subs.

  1. The highly uncommon Bitcoin blockchain builder

This is the rarest sort of engineer to find. You’ll want a full-stack developer with a strong background in lower-level programming languages (e.g., Java, OCaml, and C#), distributed systems and cryptography.

Here’s How to Motivate Terrific Bitcoin Developers to Work for You

Qualifications for your Bitcoin software engineer include the following:

A solid understanding of code and programming. You’ll want a backend and frontend developer, who knows codebases like Java, C++, Ethereum Solidity, Python and more. You’ll want them to have experience working with these languages in professional settings. Such Bitcoin developers also need to be able to program high-quality code for Ethereum or Bitcoin blockchains (at least), encode smart contracts and digital tokens, and master game theory and economic principles. They’ll need to have experience in areas like fixed income instruments, currencies, and commodities (FICC), equities, payments processing, and wholesale credit.

Your dream Bitcoin developer frequents bitcoin development communities, chats on hackathons, patronizes online and offline meetings, is an excellent multitasker and handles challenges. More so, Bitcoin engineers, as with all blockchain engineers, must be open to change and willing to learn. “You can’t just say ‘I am a highly specialised blockchain guy’ because that actually doesn’t really mean anything, or say ‘I am really good at Eris’,” explains Seamus Cushley, Director of PwC, blockchain consulting services, continuing to explain that, “Eris may not be here tomorrow:  It may become the underpinnings of the globe or they may not. So it is the ability to change which is important.”

Places to Look for the Bitcoin Programmer?

Look for full-time Bitcoin software engineers on online blockchain-related forums like Bitcointalk or relevant Reddit subgroups. You may may also want to consider platforms like Gitter, the preferred chat app for developers, or crypto channels on Slack or Discord. You’ll find blockchain engineers on blockchain meetups and in developer conferences like Ethereum Devcon (i.e., Ethereum Foundation Developers Conference).

Many work on real-world projects through platforms like HackerRank or GitHub. Others participate in podcasts.

Bottom Line

You’ll need to learn the rudiments of Bitcoin technology to find them. And even then you may fail, especially if you’re hiring a Bitcoin software engineer to build a private ledger for a bank – these individuals believe in decentralizing the system! You have to be extremely creative, resourceful, and almost emphatic.

According to former chief information officer at UBS and founder of Bussmann Advisory, Oliver Bussmann, there are only about 20,000 such individuals in existence. William Mougayar, reckoned that there are even less, estimating that there are approximately “5,000 developers dedicated to writing software for cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and blockchain in general.”

Then again:  Look hard enough and try hard enough, and you may find at least one or two great Bitcoin developers who may consider giving your company a try.

We here at Blockchain Developers, Inc. are world-class at helping you find and hire the talented Blockchain developers you need to grow. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!