The IT industry is notorious for its buzzword technologies. Cloud computing, Web 4.0, and Google Glass (remember that?) have all been the talk of the tech world at one point with varying degrees of return on their promise of disruption. These days, the buzzword term that people are fixating on is blockchain, one of the core technologies behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. As an IT staffing firm, we have received our fair share of questions from people asking if blockchain technology has the potential to change their career or business. From what we’ve seen, here is what you need to know if you are considering the impact of this technology on your future.
The Blockchain Basics
Blockchain is hard to define. At least 60% of Americans have heard about Bitcoin, but cannot tell you much about the blockchain technologies behind it. Even people in the tech world have a hard time coming up with a unified definition. However, there are a few basics about blockchain that are mostly agreed upon:
- Blockchain is a digital ledger
- It connects a peer-to-peer network of machines (decentralized like Bitcoin or otherwise)
- All members of the network participate in every transaction and create a timestamped, chronological, immutable record
Blockchain has been a natural fit for the fintech industry because it makes it difficult and impractical for criminals to counterfeit Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other digital currency. The technology has been disruptive (albeit unpredictable in the financial space), which has many people thinking: what other blockchain business opportunities exist outside of the financial sector?
Are Blockchain Business Opportunities Out There?
As with any new and buzzworthy technology, the tech world is still trying to make heads or tails of the full potential of blockchain. What can a distributed ledger do for other industries? Though we’re far from a definitive answer, there has been some speculation about what blockchain has to offer:
- Securing voting systems to prevent fraud and preserve democracy
- Creating consistent, high-integrity healthcare records that also give patients more control over their data
- Improving negotiations through smart contracts that are authorized without a middle man
Essentially, any digital activity that can benefit from improved security and record keeping might be a good fit for blockchain technology. However, that doesn’t mean that every blockchain business scheme is totally baked.
Plenty of companies have tried to ride the blockchain wave, adding the buzzword to their mission without any idea of how to incorporate distributed ledger technology into their service offerings. And those early missteps can erode your future credibility. When Long Island Iced Tea Corp. changed their name to Long Blockchain Corp., their share prices briefly rose, but also resulted in fraud accusations due to their lack of actual blockchain expertise. Take their story as a cautionary tale: don’t jump on the bandwagon until you find an experienced IT professional to help you explore the possibilities and take you through a proper use case.
What about Blockchain Job Opportunities?
As blockchain continues to go from distant pipe dream to tangible reality, companies are going to have a greater demand for people with blockchain experience. Reports show that blockchain was one of the fastest growing skills in Q1 2018, and Hacker Noon reports that blockchain developers in top-tier tech cities can earn as much as $158,000 per year.
What do you need to know to qualify for the best blockchain job opportunities? There are a variety of complementary skills that top talent shares:
- Knowledge of back-end development – Blockchain deals heavily with data and records, making experience with database operations and user authentication crucial.
- Cybersecurity – Blockchain is equally promising as a cybersecurity tool. IT professionals who can blend blockchain technology into their repertoire of cybersecurity tactics will minimize the damage of the most common information security threats.
Do You Have a Future with Blockchain?
Because the technology is still building up steam, the tempo of its growth is hard to predict. However, there are already lucrative opportunities for companies and tech professionals that get ahead of this trend – if you have the talent or job opportunities to achieve success.
Want to find qualified IT talent or opportunities to build your blockchain skills? Contact us today.