How to Hire a Blockchain Developer?

By Fire Labs Team | Oct 28, 2020

The blockchain industry is one of the few where the demand exceeds the offer. A couple of years ago, the number of blockchain developers was 171 times smaller than the total number of software developers and the total worth of the blockchain market is expected to reach $39.7 billion by 2025.

There is no doubt that the main demand is and will be coming from the financial sector, however, the diversified applications of the technology in numerous markets (from retail to entertainment, from aviation to insurance) only inflames the need for qualitative blockchain experts in the world.

blockchain experts

The increased interest in the profession has spiked the salaries in the industry, so beware that a professional blockchain developer will have a 3-digit salary right from the start. When hiring a blockchain developer or a team, there are particular steps in the process that are distinct from the traditional recruitment of a software developer or engineer.

Below you can go through the table of contents with the tips and recommendations on hiring the right blockchain developer for your team. Click on the section, and begin learning the insights of the process. 

Is there a demand for blockchain developers?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics included developers in the list of the fastest-growing occupations in 2019-2029. LinkedIn said that blockchain is #1 needed hardskill in 2020. Hired named blockchain engineers the “dark horses” of 2019 and confirmed the increasing demand for these specialists in 2020 as well.

Investors put more and more money into blockchain development, companies like Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, Toyota, Shell, Walt Disney, IBM, and many others have already turned to blockchain for their day-to-day operations in the financial sector.

And if the top fortune companies turn to this technology setting the trend for the rest of the world, then there is no doubt that the demand for blockchain developers exists, and it continues to rise every year.

Where can I find Blockchain developers?

Blockchain developers are not ordinary programmers and you probably won’t find one on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any ordinary job-listing website. Their number is still not enough to satisfy the demand of the existing market so you should not expect an easy hiring process here.

Most likely, the search for the developer will look like renting an apartment in Germany: you come with your offer to the developers and they select the most interesting/well-paid/promising offer. And just like future tenants, you can only hope to be selected by the chosen blockchain developer.

However, the situation in 2020 is not as bad as it might seem. To get the right blockchain programmers for a project, you simply need to look in the right places. Below is a list of potential places (online and offline) where good blockchain developers can be found:

Meeting places

Yes, all developers and tech people have their own meeting places in the context of a digital forum where like-minded programmers discuss blockchain-related topics. Most often they are similar to GitHub, Reddit, or IEEE Blockchain Community.

These are platforms, websites, and forums where developers share their ideas, discuss new trends, and test new possibilities. You can get to one of these places and ask a couple of members if they would be interested in your offer.

hire experts

Conferences

While due to COVID-19 conferences had to convert into the online format, they still happen. And the interested, progressive, and iconic blockchain developers do attend such events. So you can search for the upcoming events to participate and communicate with its participants.

In-person hiring in this case would go smoother and much easier, yet even while talking online, you still stand a chance to get the right developer for your project or startup. Here is a couple of upcoming events for consideration:

You can also check the up-to-date schedule of the upcoming events in the crypto-world here.

Schools

Most top schools and universities turned to blockchain development because a lot of students in the technological departments wish to become a blockchain developer and earn a fortune,  especially when the demand is only rising.

This is a perfect place for large corporations and startups to find their next employee. Corporations can contact the school and offer to sponsor the best student; as a result, they can get the perfect young mind that will solemnly focus on their needs after graduation.

For startups, schools are the perfect place to get a like-minded genius who will become a part of the young team and will work to get experience, knowledge, and real-life interaction based on the knowledge from school. Here are the best courses for cryptocurrency to get started:

Head-hunting websites for freelancers

At the beginning of this section, we said that usual listing websites are not the place for blockchain experts. Nonetheless, there are blockchain freelance platforms where an individual developer can easily be acquired.

They include Toptal, BountyOne, X-Team, Stack Overflow, or CodementorX. These platforms can be of great help if you don’t know where to start your search and what conditions of cooperation to offer your potential developers. Here you can read what developers expect from their employers and so adjust your offer to the market.

Why is the developer in the industry?

Now that you know where to look for the blockchain developers, it is essential to understand why they are in business. Most broadly, these experts can be divided into two categories: for the money and for the idea.

Of course, it does not mean that developers interested in the idea of cryptocurrencies do not require payment; or that those who came into the industry to earn a living won’t have priceless ideas. The general division is important to ensure that you find your developer and that your goals and values match.

Developers for the Money

This “definition” is frequently applied to the 2nd and 3rd generation of blockchain developers. Those who understood that blockchain is the future and that the field of development is still undercovered in terms of resources.

Developers for the money do a quality job but will go into the project that pays more. So if you have a lucrative offer then you can be sure to get a good mind for the right money. This said, such developers will rarely look into the startup ideas unless they already have investors and lack just one element – a blockchain developer.

Source: https://hired.com/state-of-software-engineers

Developers for the Idea

Such a description is frequently applied to the first generation of blockchain developers, those who came into this field more than three-four years ago (before the world understood the true value of blockchain technologies).

These experts didn’t raise the questions on how to become a blockchain developer or what should I learn for blockchain developer; they were interested in the idea of developing something new, they were coding for the sake of coding.

Of course, most of these developers now have the top salaries in the industry. However, these people have still a fire in their eyes when they see a new idea. This means that developers for the idea can get into a not-well-paying project if the final product is great.

Moreover, there are also students of blockchain that also fall into this category; they will be willing to do the job almost for free only to get experience and understand how it works outside of the school walls.

What skills should the developer have?

Skillset for a programmer is the simple answer to the question “How can I be a Blockchain developer?” so frequently found on blockchain development for beginners. It is the particular set of skills and amount of knowledge that make a blockchain programmer stand out of the crowd. 

In short, every blockchain developer must have a good understanding of blockchains concept, cryptography and cryptocurrencies, decentralized technologies, ledgers, the Ethereum network, ledgers, data security, and different programming languages.

Smart contracts are also considered to be the basic package in this field of development because even though these are related to the financial apps in most cases, understanding of this technology clarifies the general way crypto-world operates so helps with developing the right product.

Below we offer you a more complete answer with the details on every skill or tool a professional blockchain developer should have or know.

Basic programming concepts

A high-level understanding of JavaScript, Java, Node JS, C and C++, Python, Solidity, and Go is a must (depending on your project specification). Then search for an individual that:

  • Worked with OOPS (Object-Oriented Programming Structure) because this structure allows for a quick program update whenever needed.
  • Understands languages’ syntax since experience in working with a particular language and basic knowledge of one makes a difference when it comes to Dapps.
  • Able to implement multi-threading in different types of applications.

Data structure

The data structure is the foundation of every app regardless of its connection to the blockchain. So choose a developer that knows and has worked with linked lists, hash tables, and acyclic graphs.

Encryption and security

Data security and encryption are among the top skill requirements for blockchain experts because every loss means leakage of information to the competition. In terms of security look for:

  • SHA (Secure Hashing Algorithm) knowledge since this set of algorithms was designed to provide a high-security level against cyber-attacks and hacks. Make sure that your blockchain developer knows the difference SHA-1 and SHA-2, and can select the right function for your app.
  • Encryption and decryption methods as well as a thorough understanding of the private key vs public key concepts.

Specific blockchain skills and concepts

Besides the general knowledge and understanding of a full-stack developer, a blockchain expert needs to know specific blockchain concepts and also have experience in operating them.

It is easy to check during an interview whether your selected candidate is worthy of your attention by freely operating the concepts below and carefully listening to the candidates’ answers. So here is the short dictionary for a blockchain developer:

  • DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) allows keeping the data across multiple nodes rather than a single location. DLT is applied in different types of blockchain and a developer should be able to explain these use-cases.
  • Immutability stands for the never-changing nature of information in a blockchain. Whenever the data is created, it cannot be altered post factum.
  • Consensus is the way a new piece of data gets added to the blockchain. Considering that there is no single authority that can decide on this, it is the concept of consensus that allows for the information to be written (every node in the system network has to “agree” to add a new chunk of data).
  • Crypto tokens are tradable and fungible assets that reside on top of the blockchain. They are the foundation of the crypto-process so any blockchain developer should be able to create and explain how to create a crypto token.
  • Smart contracts are mostly applied for financial and legal Dapps but the basic understanding that this is the business logic that allows everyone to exchange anything of any value transparently without any intermediaries should be present.
  • Dapps are decentralized applications that operate on a peer-to-peer network as opposed to the traditional one-computer network.
  • Sharding as the method of data storing that guarantees greater efficiency for the databases.
  • Public blockchain and permissioned blockchain as the core concepts of blockchain. Public blockchain allows anyone to store and exchange information whereas a permissioned blockchain allows anyone to read the data but requires a particular key for the information to be verified or mined.

Blockchain tools

There is a wide range of blockchain tools a developer needs, and their set depends on the project goals and team preferences. However, there are the basic tools that a blockchain developer should be familiar with:

What other factors should I consider?

These factors are worth consideration for the company before you think about how to hire a programmer for a startup or an enterprise. These are not related to the qualities, abilities, or skillset of a particular blockchain developer, yet they heavily impact the kind and number of blockchain experts you will get.

One developer vs. Team

This decision is based only on the scope of your project and your goals.

A single developer is a great option if you have a small task to complete, or you lost a valuable team member recently and need to fill in the spot for some time.

An experienced blockchain developer can also become a great asset whenever you need to get the process started; in this case, the hired developer will set the tone and path of the work, create a plan, and give every team member their goals to make the development work.

A team of blockchain experts is an option for large-scale projects that have many tasks. Alternatively, a team can also complete a small task in a shorter timeframe but such services would cost more than the average task market price, so be ready for that.

Whenever you are planning to hire a whole team of blockchain developers, keep in mind that having the people who work in your time zone is much more beneficial than those who get to work when you already go to sleep.

In-house vs. Outsourcing

There is a great difference in the search parameters when it comes to in-house onboarding of a new developer as opposed to outsourcing blockchain development.

In-house development

In-house development is good when:

  • You need new hands on deck to diversify the existing team and bring new ideas to the project.
  • You have the long-term need for a blockchain developer and not just a fixed-term task for one.
  • You are ready to pay extra for the workplace, equipment, taxes, insurance, etc.
  • You have time to onboard the developer and gradually introduce them to your project.

In-house development is a perfect solution for large firms that have short-term as well as long-term goals when it comes to software development. On-boarding is also beneficial when a team can specifically define which particular expert or knowledge is missing to complete the cycle; in this case, the company can search for the exact candidate to fill the gap. Yet, be ready that the search for a perfect fit, in this case, will take some time.

Outsourced development

Outsourced blockchain development can come in two formats: blockchain freelance developer and an outsourcing company. The former is good and beneficial for short-term projects that require urgent or task-driven results.

The latter can fulfill every need: from a single developer hired for a particular task to a team of blockchain experts that either take up on a task or merge with the existing in-house development team to closely work together on the set goals.

Outsourcing development is good when:

  • You know exactly what you need from a candidate or a team and can clearly define your needs (for teams/freelancers that merge into your existing team).
  • You have no idea about any specifications but know exactly what you want to receive in the end (for completely outsourced teams).
  • You have limited time to onboard a whole team but have a list of specifications and tasks that need to be delivered.
  • You have a limited budget since outsourcing tends to cost less than the maintenance of the in-house teams.

Of course, even the best outsourcing companies will need some time to understand your needs and requirements and adjust their offer. However, due to the extensively broad supporting staff as well as team members, they are able to select just the right skills and minds for a particular project in a much shorter time frame.

Moreover, while in-house teams might find extra blockers on the way to success, outsourcing companies tend to meet the agreed deadlines much more often.

in-house vs outsourcing

How to hire blockchain developers with 4ireLabs

We are an outsourcing company that specializes in assets tokenization, financial software development, and Dapps development. We have been in the market for almost 20 years but you would not find many use cases with us. Our goal is to develop qualitative products and we do not run for the numbers. You can read our success stories here to understand the personalized approach we take upon every project.

4ireLabs is proud to have an unconventional team of creative, tenacious, and self-sufficient members. Each of them can be a one-man army and just as effectively work with diverse teams coming from any corner of the world. We currently have trusted representatives in Toronto, Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Ukraine, so we can cover all time zones and parts of the world to fill in your company’s needs at any time of the day.

All you need to do to hire a blockchain developer with 4ireLabs is fill out our contact form and we will get back to you with our findings and ideas. We stand by the method of decentralization in both our products and team management. So whenever you need an effective blockchain development team that offers outside-of-the-box solutions, you know that 4ireLabs is the place to go.

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