J.P. Morgan might seem like the most unlikely party to create a cryptocurrency asset. Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan’s CEO, is known for his negativity toward bitcoin. In a September 2017 article, Fortune reported on Dimon calling BTC “a fraud.” Although, the same article included details of Dimon’s apparent positive sentiment toward blockchain technology solutions, as seen in J.P. Morgan’s previous research and projects in the field.
Blockchain expertise captured the No. 1 position on the latest skills index by Upwork for being the hottest in the U.S. job market. This is just one of the many indicators of how high the demand is for people with blockchain skills. Blockchain may have begun in finance to support cryptocurrencies, but now blockchain technology and the solutions it can provide are being explored by industries from healthcare to insurance to manufacturing and more.
The only way companies can explore and achieve goals with blockchain is to hire those who have the skill-set to navigate this new technology. Here we’ll spotlight what blockchain technology is, who wants those with blockchain skills and some of the best blockchain jobs and careers that are available today.
What is blockchain technology?
Although blockchain technology was first developed to use with the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2008, it is essentially a distributed database that can store any type of record. Users can only edit the parts of the blockchain they own, making it highly secure, but anyone with access to the blockchain can see it, so it is also highly transparent.
Some have described blockchain as the “internet of value”—anyone can send value anywhere the blockchain file can be accessed just like anyone can publish information that others can access on the internet no matter where they are in the world. Now that blockchain technology has expanded beyond the financial sector, many companies representing many industries are researching and exploring how adopting blockchain could help their business.
Where is the demand for blockchain skills?
Blockchain has become what the “cloud” was in the mid-2000s, poised to be the most highly talked about technology and one that offers tremendous professional opportunity. According to Upwork’s skills index, blockchain is the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 on the site. Currently, demand is far outpacing supply. According to Burning Glass Technologies, there were more than 5,743 largely full-time job openings posted that required blockchain skills in the last 12 months.
Even though as a skill-set, blockchain technology is in its infancy, it’s in demand from start-ups as well as established companies such as IBM and Samsung. Organizations are exploring not only cryptopcurrencies powered by blockchain but how the distributed ledgers that are the backbone of blockchain can be applied in other areas such as supply chains, legal, contracts and more.
Blockchain research and adoption requires the leadership and skills of professionals who can build the strategy and develop the blockchain solutions. Here are a few of the hottest positions:
Since there is virtually no industry leader who isn’t somewhat intrigued by the potential opportunities made possible through blockchain technology, blockchain developers who have the expertise to help companies develop blockchain platforms are in high demand. Blockchain development might offer the most robust career path at the moment, because until solutions are developed, all the benefits of blockchain can’t be realized. Some organizations call this role a blockchain engineer. This is a highly technical position that requires tremendous attention to detail.
Blockchain project manager
A blockchain project manager has the responsibility to connect the dots from an organization’s specific business cases for blockchain technology to blockchain experts (internal or external) who will develop the blockchain solution. This expert needs to have the traditional expertise of a project manager working in any industry plus the technological know-how to make sense of blockchain and communicate to non-technical people in the organization to provide effective updates and get resourcing.
Now that blockchain is expanding to a variety of industries and being used not just by computer scientists but also by people who want to capitalize on its efficiencies, cost-savings and more, the user interface and design of blockchain solutions is becoming more important. Blockchain designers consider how to design a user experience that connotes trust and is appealing to an everyday user while also reflecting the very attributes that make blockchain special—no middlemen, a frictionless experience and more.
Blockchain quality engineer
Similar to quality assurance engineers in any development environment, a blockchain quality engineer has a responsibility to test and ensure all areas of quality in the blockchain development environment. The specialty of blockchain quality engineers is testing and automation and test frameworks for blockchain. They guide the test strategy for blockchain development and develop and maintain QA test standards.
Blockchain attorney or legal consultant
As organizations grapple with the implications of launching new technology, legal questions arise. Companies are increasingly looking for legal expertise on what they need to consider as they launch blockchain technologies with implications for how business and finance are handled, transactions are tracked and confirmed, as well as how identity is managed.
As blockchain technology continues to evolve, so will the professional opportunities it makes possible. Although it’s impossible to predict how it will all shake out, those with blockchain expertise will likely be in high demand for many years to come.
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