Blockchain, Crypto-Currencies, Ethereum, Smart Contracts and ICOs have become the most frequently used words in computer science, FinTech and investment circles these days. Everyone likes to have skin in the game – to invest, earn/lose, re-invest and become a millionaire before anyone else would know it.
Blockchain is doing to startups & businesses (in general) and FinTech (in particular) what Email has done to Post-office mails, Mobile Phones to Landlines, Netflix to Blockbusters, Amazon to RadioShack, and what Digital pictures have done to Kodak.
It’s the era of blockchain and distributed ledger technology – it’s not the question if and when you will realize it, it is how much you lose while taking the time to come to that realization.
William Mougayar mentioned in his book Business of Blockchain there are 5,000 blockchain developers in the world (Mid-2016); compare this with 9 million Java developers and 18.5 million software developers worldwide. According to the CEO of Pantera Capital, cryptocurrencies will hit the $40 trillion market cap. ComputerWorldsays the median salary of a blockchain developer is $158,000/year and the hourly rate is $150/hour. UpWork has seen 3500% increase in blockchain skills demand over the year and according to TechCrunch there is only one candidate available for 14 blockchain jobs today. There is a job for every aspect of the blockchain ecosystem, there is a job if you know how to code smart contracts, there is a job for cryptography experts, there is a job for consensus developers, there is a job for Ripple suit of applications, and there is a job for IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric. It doesn’t matter which part of this ecosystem you work in, there is a job available (right now) for you. Portals like Blocktribe are dedicated to blockchain related jobs only. There are 5,000+ blockchain startups, and ICOs have raised close to $7 billion worldwide. The world would need half a million blockchain developers in next five years. The question is what YOU can do to secure a job and make your dreams come true, and how YOU can become someone that would qualify for these half a million jobs worldwide.
There is a lot of confusion and misrepresentation out there when it comes to defining the Blockchain, here is my very brief and simple blockchain definition that almost everyone can agree upon:
“Blockchain is a peer-to-peer decentralized distributed ledger that permanently & chronologically records and guarantees an immutable, unalterable trustworthy transaction (of money or any valuable asset) in a trust-less environment through consensus protocol secured by cryptography with economically incentivized participation.”
Blockchain is an immutable, open, secure, and transparent shared ledger that anyone voluntarily can join and leave as he will. It has two broad types: Public (with open participation incentivized and punished by consensus protocol) and Private (with a consortium or private businesses’ vetted membership and enforcement of laws and regulations in place). Compare to centralized structures blockchain saves time, removes cost, reduce risk and increase trust.
Ok, so what one can do to become a good blockchain developer if he/she cannot afford or get selected for competitive and expensive programs. What someone from a developing country can do to improve his/her chances of getting hired in this important field or even try to use these advanced skills to improve their surroundings, communities, and countries.
Here is my cheat sheet of becoming a good Blockchain Developer for (almost) Free:
0. The best resource available out there is BlockGeeks. You can learn almost everything related to Blockchain there.
1. Watch Neha Narula’s Ted talk on the Future of Money
2. Don Tapscott’s talk on how blockchain is changing money and business should be your next click
4. Have a look at future of Branded Money with Paul Kemp
5. Mark Schwartz sheds light on Potential of Blockchain
6. We will end our visual journey with Bettina Warburg’s talk on Radical Transformation by Blockchain
7. As soon as you done watching these talks, read this article from HBR to gear up for the next phase
8. Make sure to bookmark these organizations for regular updates and to find out where the industry is heading – Digital Currency Initiative at MIT, Oxford Blockchain Network, Digital Chamber of Commerce, R3, Hyperledger, ConSenSys, Blockgeeks and Blockchain Research Institute
9. Books: Here are a couple of good books to get started and all of these are available for FREE to download: Blockchain for Dummies, Mastering Blockchain 1st Edition, A Gentle Introduction to Blockchain Technology, Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Virtual Currency: the Bitcoin Manual by Lachlan Roy, A great book on how to become a blockchain developer by x-team, Handbook of Digital Currency – Bitcoin, Innovation, Financial Instruments and Big Data , Understanding Bitcoin: Cryptography, Engineering and Economics edited by Pedro Franco, Bitcoin Basics 101, The Bitcoin Primer: Risks, Opportunities, And Possibilities by David Seaman, Understanding Bitcoin: The Liberty Lover’s Guide to the Mechanics & Economics of Crypto-Currencies by Silas Barta and Robert P.!Murphy, Blockchain by Melanie Swan, Programming the Blockchain in C# and Bitcoin Book
10. Influencers: These are the people you need to follow to get your daily dose of learning, inspiration, and innovation on your social feeds. These are the finest brains of the world in blockchain and Crypto assets:
Adam Back, Adam Ludwin, Alex Preukschat, Ameer Rosic, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Anna Irrera, Barry Silbert, Bobby Lee, Brett King, Brian D. Evans, Brian Forde, Brian Krogsgard (Ledger Status), Brock Pierce, Bruce Porter Jr., Charles Lee, Charlie Shrem, Christa Freeland, Christine Lu, Clif High, Coinbase, CoinDesk, Cristina Carrascosa, CryptoYoda, Dan Morehead, Derin Cag, Diana Biggs, Dinis Guarda, Don Tapscott, Elena Knysh, Elizabeth Stark, Emin Gun Sirer, Erik Voorhees, Fred Wilson, Gavin Andresen, Gilles Babinet, Imogen Heap, Jerry Brito, Jim Marous, Joey Zhou, Joseph Lubin, Josh Olszewicz (CarpeNoctom), Julian Hosp, Laura Shin , Marc Andreesen, Meltem Demirors, Michael Kitces, Neha Narula, Nick Ayton , Nick Szabo, Nicolas Cary, Oliver Bussman, Patrick Byrne, Perianne Boring, Pieter Wuille, Richard Gendal Brown, Ritchie Etwaru, Roger Ver, Susanne Chishti, Tamara McCleary, Teeka Tiwari, Tim Draper, Tuur Demeester, Vincent Briatore, Vinny Lingham, Vitalik Buterin, William Mougayar, Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn
12. An excellent guide on blockchain development languages by BlockGeek
13. A fantastic beginner’s guide to understand Smart Contracts
14. MOOCs: There are hundreds of courses and workshops out there to teach you crypto-currencies, blockchain and related technologies. There is a Byte Academy’s 14-week on-site program in New York that costs 10,000$, there is Oxford Blockchain Strategy Program for around 3,000$, there is ConSenSys developers program for 1,000$ and even a complete Masters (12,000$) and Ph.D. program in Blockchain by University of Nicosia. There are also quite a few specialized course providers, there is B9Lab, BitDegree, Udemy and Lynda; However my personal favorite is BlockGeeks; it should be your first stop. It is the best resource out there and offers courses from basics of blockchain to ERC20 tokens and from Segwit to Smart Contracts. You can learn it all for under 200$ a year. Here is my favorite list of MOOCs you should check out:
1) I would start with Khan Academy: Bitcoin
2) Here is a programmer’s paradise with practical projects – Bitcoin Engineering @ Stanford
3) If you like to dive further, take this – Bitcoin, Altcoins & Blockchain
4) Zastrin offers good courses on Ethereum, including the one to build your own voting application
13) University of Nicosia – Introduction to Digital Currencies (One of the best and most comprehensive MOOCs available)
19) B21 Block
26) IBM Free Course on Blockchain Essentials
27) The Best course to develop a decentralized App (DApp) by BlockGeek
15. There are several good resources to learn Solidity. You may like to start from here& here, and then move to this, then this, and there is always a BlockGeek guide on the subject. Complete Solidity documentation is available from this link. Udemy offers a very good course to Learn Solidity as well. Here is a good medium post that compiles related video tutorials to learn Solidity
16. A very good guide on how to become a blockchain developer from BlockGeek and here is an exhaustive list of how to become a blockchain developer by howtotokens. And here is the ultimate index of all the good blockchain resources available on the net
No one can stop you if you like to become a blockchain developer, it will take around a year, few hundred dollars, firm commitment, a lot of patience and heavy programming practice to become one. Once you go through all or some of it, you can practice at GitCoin to see how good you can code and get paid for your work. You can also submit your profile at CrossOver and get a remote job for $100,000/year. Even if you complete half of it, send me a note and I will have something ready for you.
Ball is in your court; it does not matter where you are and how much you can afford, if you want to make at least four times higher the average income of your countrymen, this is the way to do it, at least for the next ten years.