Are You Considering a Career in Crypto?
In 2008, a bizarre and esoteric technology by the name of bitcoin was introduced to the world in a whitepaper penned by Satoshi Nakamoto. Just one decade later, that whitepaper would spawn a budding industry racing toward the trillion-dollar mark.
At the time of writing, there are more than 1,550 cryptocurrencies trying to do a variation of what bitcoin has accomplished. Hundreds more are expected to be created this year alone. To bring these currencies online, startups, institutes and not-for-profits are depending on a talented workforce made up of engineers, analysts, marketers and business professionals.
That’s a long-winded way of saying the crypto-economy is hiring, and there’s no shortage of opportunity. Recently, freelance marketplace Toptal announced it was launching a blockchain engineering platform for talented technology professionals. As TechCrunch pointed out, this is a huge deal because Toptal represents about half of “on-demand engineering labor by revenue.”
Blockchain Talent Demand: By the Numbers
Blockchain engineering has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing segment on Toptal. Since January 2017, demand for professionals in this category has surged 700%. The company also reports that some 40% of fully managed software development jobs in the last month require blockchain skills and domain knowledge.
Toptal isn’t the only freelance community witnessing a surge in blockchain skills. Upwork also reported blockchain as the fastest-growing skillset in terms of revenue, with billings skyrocketing 35,000% year-over-year. For a site like Freelancer, bitcoin job posts grew 82% in the third quarter alone.
It’s not just freelancing websites that are witnessing an upsurge in blockchain-related job posts. Last year, LinkedIn reported that finance companies saw a 900% increase in bitcoin-related job postings since 2014. There are now tens of thousands of users who list “blockchain” as one of their available skillsets.
At the time of writing, there are 1,060 “cryptocurrency” jobs listed on the U.S. section of Indeed.com, one of the world’s largest job boards. The “blockchain” job category had nearly 3,200 hits. Pretty much all of the jobs had a minimum salary of $70,000 per year and about 40% paid six figures.
From the author’s perspective, working in blockchain/crypto usually involves one of the following organizations:
- startup company launching an initial coin offering (ICO)
- an advisory service helping ICOs launch their product
- a large technology or financial services company utilizing blockchain technology
- an institute or not-for-profit researching blockchain applications and use case
In terms of job categories, you are mostly looking at the following:
- Technical: Software developers, engineers, programmers and other IT specialists get the lion’s share of job postings.
- Writing and Marketing: This is a fairly broad category that covers journalism, content development and copywriting. If you understand blockchain technology and the world of crypto and have good writing skills, there’s no shortage of opportunity.
- Advisory Services: Domain experts can charge a premium advising startups on how to navigate the crypto sphere. Experts usually make it on to an ICO’s adviser page.
- Legal: We are seeing a steady rise in legal services that assist token issuers navigate the regulatory requirements of cryptocurrency crowdfunding.
It’s clear from many of these categories that most people didn’t specialize in blockchain initially but have applied their skills and experience to the domain. Depending on how you view the future, specializing may or may not be a good idea.
In mainstream and institutional circles, blockchain is much more of a sure thing than cryptocurrency. That’s one place budding professionals can focus on if they do decide to enter the labor market.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.