Why are Blockchain Developers so Hard to Find?

Where are all the Blockchain developers? 6 reasons companies struggle to recruit Blockchain engineers.

It almost sounds like a corny one-liner: “What’s the difference between the Higgs-Boson particle and a top Blockchain Engineer?” (They actually found the Higgs-Boson.)

If you’re here, you likely already understand the exciting (and yet enormously frustrating) dilemma that the Blockchain startups and Fortune 500 organizations alike are facing…The Blockchain developer shortage. Blockchain is arguably the most important technological development since the World Wide Web. So if it is such a big deal—Why aren’t there any bloody Blockchain developers?

A deeper look reveals a more complex issue. Though Blockchain developers represent but a fraction of a percentage

“Blockchain job posts on LinkedIn have tripled in the last 12 months, and demand is so strong that top developers earn more than half a million dollars per year.”

point of the total software developer population worldwide, highly experienced Blockchain developers are easy to spot contributing to open source repositories, launching a new ICO or speaking at Blockchain conferences held throughout the globe. The vexing aspect of this dilemma is not that Blockchain engineers have all up and done a Satoshi Nakamoto on us…it’s that that most of the aforementioned Blockchain architects and engineers are simply unavailable. Here’s why:

  1. Demand for Blockchain talent is soaring:
    As early as June 2017, Bitcoin magazine reported that  “Blockchain job posts on LinkedIn have tripled in the last 12 months, and demand is so strong that top developers earn more than half a million dollars per year”. Job analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies put more tangible numbers to that in a study, which found a 115% increase in job postings between 2016 and 2017 for smart contract developers.And demand is growing rapidly. CoinDesk reported that posts for Blockchain developers on Indeed.com increased by an astounding 631% between Nov. 2015 to Dec. 2017!  In Dec. 2017, ComputerWorld reported that “Blockchain development is the second-hottest skill in the job market today, growing more than 200% since this time last year.” (Care to have a stab at what was number three? “Cryptocurrency engineers.”)
  2. Blockchain programmers aren’t looking at job postings
    Blockchain Developers Inc’s own review of LinkedIn job postings on December 31, 2017 turned up nearly 4,000 open positions containing the word “Blockchain,” with at least half of those describing “Blockchain Developer” or “Blockchain Engineer.” And yet, top Blockchain programmers aren’t looking for jobs. (They’re far too busy saving the World.) These crypto-anarchist types do not march to the beat of the typical career development drum, and in most cases won’t join (or leave) a project as a way up the career ladder. So using old-school methods to recruit Blockchain talent to your organization is a bit of a fool’s errand.
  3. Blockchain programmers also neglect LinkedIn
    Due to its robust search features and comprehensive career profiles, LinkedIn is the “go-to” resource for HR departments and professional recruiters alike. And it works wonders in other industries. But Blockchain programmers are notoriously unconventional. Something about the “look at me” manner of LinkedIn makes iconoclastic Blockchain engineers draft minimalist profiles that your ten-year-old might have banged out—if they have LinkedIn profiles at all. Typical Blockchain developers are singularly focused on disrupting the world, not on grooming their LinkedIn profiles.  Noted Blockchain investor and speaker Zach Piester put it succinctly: “You won’t find the great candidates through LinkedIn and Google.”
  4. Most Blockchain developers live elsewhere
    A casual search for contractors with Blockchain skills on poplar platforms like Upwork and Guru reveal most available Blockchain developers listed in Ukraine, Russia, Pakistan and India. A search of LinkedIn produces similar results, with developers turning up in India, China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland. Fintech recruiting industry executives typically agree that a disproportionate share of Blockchain developers come from Eastern Europe and Russia. And why shouldn’t it be that way? The total US population of 325 million is but 4% of the global total, with China and India exceeding a billion each. Such is the nature of Blockchain that no country can claim any significant first mover advantage

    “I don’t know any good Ethereum developer that isn’t a millionaire. There’s a gold rush amongst developers to learn the coding language of money.”

  5. Blockchain developers don’t need to work
    As the anonymous developer of Blockchain Freedom Streaming, a full live streaming platform, said: “Most crypto experts made it rich years ago. If they’re writing or programming for money, there’s something wrong with them.” Aragon co-founder Luis Cuende agreed: “I don’t know any good Ethereum developer that isn’t a millionaire.” That makes for a bit of a challenge for organizations who would leverage deep pockets to recruit Blockchain developers. Money (whether fiat or crypto-currency) is not enough for this Libertarian-leaning gang. “What got me into Blockchain was my prior search for solutions to world problems,” Bitbay founder David Zimbeck told us in January 2018. “Money means nought to me.”
  6. Blockchain developers have their own companies
    In a similar way, top Blockchain programmers dedicate their energies and skills to follow their own dreams. Says Piester, “Quite a few are likely running their own startups. Therefore, they won’t want to drop all their ongoing projects to come work for your company.” “Everyone,” says Blockchain programmer and instructor Jimmy Song “wants ninja engineers who can pull a rabbit out of a hat, but they are unicorns. The ones I know are either founders, co-founders, CTO’s or in some senior engineering role being paid a ransom.”So, yes— finding a good Blockchain developer is a challenge. They’re busy, they’re rich and they’re idealistic. They neglect their LinkedIn page, stand oblivious to job postings and are head-down obsessed with their own vision and mission. But they DO exist, and they CAN be lured over to your project, if it is a worthy one. You just need to walk an unconventional path. (For more on that, see our article “How to Recruit Blockchain Developers”)

Meanwhile,  take heart—it may have taken 40 years, but even the Higgs-Boson particle was found eventually!

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 Hire Ethereum Developers?

Ethereum has pole position in the race toward a Blockchain standard. So how do you hire Ethereum developers?

If you’re a human resources officer, startup founder, CTO, or business division executive whose been in the technology game for a while, you’ve almost certainly become adept at hiring software developers. You might have a large LinkedIn network. You might be accustomed to searching competitors movements on angel.co. You might even be an old hand at sifting through Github repositories. There is a constellation of different kinds of software developers out there…and you know how to tell the good ones from the bad ones.

But there are software developers…and there are Ethereum developers. Ethereum has pole position in the race towards a Blockchain standard. But just a few years have slipped by since Vitalik Buterin plunked out his seminal white paper in 2013, and in the interim, just a fraction of the 18.5 million software developers worldwide know how to develop on the Ethereum platform.

If you want to know how to hire Ethereum developers, you first may just want to understand what makes Ethereum development so unique. And why it’s so critical to find Ethereum developers with a few very strong characteristics. Your lead Ethereum engineer makes—or breaks—your business, so you can’t afford to get this wrong.

Last month’s evolution is already today’s dinosaur. That’s part of the excitement. To keep up, an Ethereum developer needs to be a so-called “Super-Learner”— someone who reads voraciously and can master new concepts faster than the average software developer.

1. Ethereum Developers must be Super-Learners
Ethereum is a baby in the tech development world. As such, the possibilities it presents are growing and changing quickly. First Ethereum out-did Bitcoin by creating a more conventional and flexible development standard. Then it sped things up by streamlining transaction time from 10 minutes to just 15 seconds with the Ghost Protocol. At the time of this writing (perhaps already out of date by the time you read it), the Ethereum community is working on the Casper protocol and shift to Proof of Stake (PoS) instead of Proof of Work (PoW). Last month’s evolution is already today’s dinosaur. That’s part of the excitement. It’s fun riding the wave of this incredibly fast-moving technology. On the other hand, as new potential emerges, so do many challenges. Your Ethereum engineer has to be constantly learning. To keep up, an Ethereum developer needs to be a so-called “Super-Learner”— someone who reads voraciously and can master new concepts faster than the average software developer. Ask potential hires about the skills they’ve picked up recently, how long it took them and how they did it. You might find indications as to whether your Ethereum developer will be able to keep up or not.

2. Ethereum Developers must be Extremely Versatile
There isn’t really a singular definition of what an Ethereum developer is, other than “a Blockchain engineer who works on the Ethereum platform.” Likewise, the definition of a Blockchain engineer is somewhat fluid, as we covered in our Feature on “What is a Blockchain Developer?” At a minimum, however, an Ethereum developer needs a few things:

• A strong understanding of Distributed Ledgers and perhaps Distributed Storage
• A solid grasp of cryptography
• Strong skills in designing consensus algorithms
• A background in Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking
• A foundation in risk analysis and data security

In addition to a smattering of important coding languages, Ethereum programmers specifically use Solidity to write smart contracts. Initially, Solidity was designed to work a lot like Javascript, but over time, has come to resemble a mash-up of Javascript and C. As problems surface and requirements diversify, Solidity keeps changing. Many developers mistakenly think of Solidity as an easy, familiar language. Not necessarily so. While Ethereum and Solidity do make Blockchain development much more accessible than initially possible with Bitcoin, the process and language are still particularly challenging to master.

A good Ethereum developer comes to the table with more than one ace up his sleeve. While no Ethereum developer is likely to know every protocol and programming language relevant to Blockchain development, if you want to hire an Ethereum engineer, you need to find a bit of a swiss army knife

3. Ethereum Developers must be Meticulous “Trouble Shooters”

Ethereum developers must be talented trouble-spotters— and shooters. They must have a strong instinct for where things might go wrong, the ability to think like a hacker to determine where weaknesses might be exploited

Once uploaded, Ethereum code can’t be easily changed or removed. Smart contracts and the Blockchain trails they leave behind are are designed by nature to be immutable. Done well, an Ethereum based distributed application is a thing of almost utopian beauty—functioning autonomously and fairly for all constituents.However, to get off the ground, a human must be involved— an Ethereum developer— and as we all know to err is human. It is very easy to make mistakes. And one slight flaw in the system is to hackers as blood in the water is to circling sharks. There are no backdoor options in an Ethereum-based Dapp to take the system down and debug it. You would have to dismantle your entire platform and rebuild it from scratch to fix a bug. Not only can this cost platform owners and users millions, but it is more than enough to ruin a promising venture…like The Dao.

Ethereum developers must be talented trouble-spotters— and shooters. They must have a strong instinct for where things might go wrong, the ability to think like a hacker to determine where weaknesses might be exploited…and they need to test, test and test some more. An Ethereum developer tests code in three stages:

• Local testing within a simulated environment
• Testing on a live test network (called testnet)
• Testing before on the main Ethereum network.

Ethereum is part of the brave new world of Blockchain, one which hasn’t been around long enough to determine all that can go wrong. It is getting better by the day, however, with security philosophies, bug bounty program guidelines, and best-practice procedures emerging as we progress. An outstanding Ethereum developer is meticulous in his work, recognizing and eliminating weak spots in code, so that valuable tokens stay where they belong — not in the pockets of hackers.

 

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!