With the evident surge of technological advancements such as blockchain technology, an evident need for blockchain developers and engineers has surfaced. However, not all skilled Web2 developers can make a seamless shift to this decentralized technology as it can be quite complex. Nowadays, many organizations are shifting their data management systems from centralized servers such as cloud storage to the distributed ledger that is the blockchain. This shift requires skilled developers to embark on a journey of decentralization. But it’s not that simple. This all-in-one guide will walk you through the intricacies of being a blockchain developer and all the benefits it brings with it.
What Is Blockchain Development?
First, let’s take a look at what blockchain development even means.
Blockchains are types of databases that store and organize information. However, unlike traditional databases, blockchains do not refer to centralized servers. Instead, they are built on a distributed peer-to-peer network that processes transactions based on a certain consensus. The data stored on blockchains are grouped together in blocks and encrypted with public-key cryptography that utilizes hashing functions.
So, blockchains are distributed digital ledgers that keep their data immutable, transparent, and highly secure from unauthorized access and attacks. So how are these intricate databases developed? Well, you guessed it, through an upcoming computer science field known as blockchain or Web3 development.
Blockchain development is the process of maintaining and developing applications, protocols, or systems that are based on blockchain technology. It’s a multidisciplinary field that requires expertise in cryptography, software development, networking, economics, and more. It involves designing smart contracts, decentralized apps (DApps), and managing cryptocurrencies.
Some of blockchain development’s challenges are interoperability, scalability, and Web3 integration. However, since blockchain’s potential spans finance, supply chain, healthcare, and many more fields, blockchain development is on the rise.
What’s the Role of a Blockchain Developer?
So, what do blockchain developers do? Well, there are two types of blockchain developers:
- Core Blockchain Developer: You can consider the core blockchain developer as the person who creates the foundation and the architecture of the proposed blockchain system.
- Blockchain Software Developer: This type of blockchain developer utilizes the foundation of which a core blockchain has created in order to build blockchain-related applications, such as decentralized apps (DApps). They are responsible for back-end and front-end development.
Of course, some blockchain developers can do both of these things. Let’s go over some of the everyday core responsibilities of a blockchain developer:
- Developing and enhancing blockchain protocols.
- Building decentralized applications (DApps) that run on blockchain networks.
- Creating, testing, and deploying smart contracts on blockchain platforms like Ethereum.
- Developing backend protocols.
- Conducting security audits to determine vulnerabilities in smart contracts and blockchain applications.
- Building APIs and interfaces to bridge between blockchain systems and external applications or databases.
- Creating and adhering to token standards to ensure interoperability and compatibility with other blockchain applications.
Therefore, a blockchain developer’s responsibility is to develop solutions for complex blockchain-related problems. Among other responsibilities, a blockchain developer is also responsible for computer software debugging to identify and resolve technical issues and glitches that arise during development.
However, many challenges arise in the face of a blockchain developer such as the challenge of understanding the technical practicality of decentralized cryptosystems. Developing a decentralized and distributed system that is built on a peer-to-peer blockchain is outside the scope of a traditional programming skill set. That’s why a blockchain developer needs specialized blockchain skills.
Benefits of Becoming a Blockchain Developer
Before we tell you how to become a blockchain developer, let’s see the benefits of being one.
- High Demand: Since blockchain technology is still in its infancy, there is a high demand for blockchain engineers and developers across various industries. This is translated to competitive salaries and ample job opportunities for eager programmers. You might find a lot of opportunities for a blockchain-based project in comparison to a traditional one.
- Innovation: Working on a decentralized system such as the blockchain places you at the forefront of technological advancements, contributing to the development of distributed ledgers, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized applications.
- High Salary: Due to high demand, developers can often command high salaries and additional financial incentives. For example, the average salary for core blockchain developers is 100K/year while for a blockchain software developer is 70K/year.
- Skill Diversification: Developing blockchain-based applications require a combination of skills including cryptography, software development, and distributed systems. This diversity enhances the overall skills of a developer.
How to Become a Blockchain Developer
So, how does one become a blockchain developer? What is the expertise and skill set needed to embark on a decentralized journey filled with endless job opportunities and high monetary rewards? The following steps are your guide to becoming a competent blockchain developer in the market.
First, you have to grasp the fundamentals of blockchain technology. This means familiarizing yourself with the basic concepts and terminologies of the blockchain such as cryptography, cryptonomics, public-key cryptography, hashing functions, consensus mechanisms, distributed systems, node operation, token standards, smart contracts, and much more.
Here’s the skillset you need to work on:
- Cryptography: A security method that encrypts sensitive data from unauthorized users. Cryptography is based on the fundamentals of computer science and mathematics.
- Ethereum and Smart Contracts: Smart contracts are self-executing program that automates an action when certain conditions are met. A blockchain developer has to have the ability to write secure, efficient, and well-structured smart contracts.
- Decentralized Applications: Decentralized applications run autonomously via smart contracts on the blockchain network. Developers have to work with frontend frameworks for building Dapp interfaces.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Developers have to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills to address complex blockchain challenges.
- Concurrency and Parallelism: A blockchain developer has to have an understanding of how blockchains handle concurrent processes and parallel execution.
- Economic and Game Theory: It’s very relevant for a developer to understand game theory for tokenomics and incentive mechanisms in blockchain ecosystems.
- SQL and Database Management: Knowledge of database concepts and SQL for storing and retrieving blockchain-related data.
Technical Skills Required
On the other hand, there are some technical skills you need to master in order to become a true blockchain developer. These include:
Rust is another ideal smart contract language is that it is a type-safe and time-efficient language. It is a new programming language that is simple, memory efficient, and reliable.
Learning how to deal with blockchain data structures may be a challenge for some, but it is essential to understand these structures as they form the basis for designing and implementing blockchain protocols and applications. A blockchain data structure looks like this:
- Blocks: The fundamental unit of data in a blockchain. A block contains a set of transactions, a timestamp, and a hash to the previous block.
- Transactions: Each transaction includes details like sender and recipient addresses, and digital signatures.
- Merkle Trees: Merkle trees are hierarchical structures that organize transactions within a block.
- Hash Pointers: A hash pointer is a reference to data that is uniquely identified by its cryptographic hash.
- Public and Private Keys: Asymmetric cryptography is used where users have a pair of keys, private and public to verify the ownership of these transactions.
- Consensus Mechanisms: A mechanism or a protocol that conducts how nodes agree.
- Nonce: Nonce is the random number that miners in proof-of-work blockchains compete to find.
- Digital Signatures: Digital signatures are cryptographic mechanisms used to verify the authenticity and integrity of transactions.
It’s very tricky to start a blockchain-based software from scratch, especially for beginners. That’s why you can find hundreds of blockchain development tools to cut development time and accelerate the process. Check this article for the ultimate Web3 development tools.
Smart Contract Framework:
Integrated Development Environment:
A New Dawn in Development
Shifting from traditional Web2 development to decentralized blockchain development can be tricky, but it’s worth it. Being a blockchain developer is crucial in shaping the future of decentralized technologies. By mastering blockchain-related skills, you are contributing to revolutionizing data management, enhancing privacy, and fostering trust in digital transactions. Not to mention the endless possibilities and job opportunities that you might find. If you’re wondering what’s the next step, you can check out these Web3 development courses to start your blockchain development journey!