Blockchain technology has emerged as a key component of Industry 4.0. However, the volatility of the crypto market has left enthusiasts worried. Are blockchain skills still in demand despite the cryptocurrency market’s uncertainty? Or should developers learn other technological skills? Here’s a look at how the industry is faring in 2022.
While cryptocurrency represents a relatively new market, an adage perfectly fits the framework: The only constant is “change.”
Crypto is up one minute and down the next. It surges ahead of fiat currency only to fall off a digital cliff and rise again from the ashes. In other words, this isn’t a market for the faint of heart: While you could win big, you could also lose bigger.
So, it begs the question: Is blockchain talent in demand as the crypto market swings back and forth? Or are developers better served to learn other technology skills — such as cybersecurity or big data analytics — that are sought after to help bridge the growing talent gap?
Here’s a look at current market conditions, the benefits of blockchain development, and why this skill could be the next big priority for enterprises.
Decoding the Latest Blockchain Developments
The changing costs of crypto
In November 2021, cryptocurrency mainstay bitcoin reached an all-time high of more than $68,000. Now, it’s worth less than $29,000. As noted by The Atlantic, approximately $1.5 trillion in cryptocurrency value has disappeared over the past six months as buyers sell off their assets and markets react to the move. Even so-called “stablecoins” Terra and Luna — which collectively saw a $60 billion valuation just six months ago — are virtually worthless.
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So what happened? Current market conditions that include rising inflation and interest are partly to blame, but the bigger issue here is confidence. As more and more investors lost confidence that digital currency could deliver over the long term, it triggered a snowball effect of sales that resulted in rapidly falling values.
Will the market bounce back? Almost certainly. To what degree? No one can say. New coin types could drive an uptick in value, or broader acceptance of crypto for payments could push the market forward. There’s even talk of a federal digital currency that could help streamline monetary disbursements nationwide.
The caveat? There’s no guarantee.
Big benefits of blockchain
Why would companies want to invest in blockchain development if crypto can’t be counted on? The answer is easy: While blockchain underpins the secure functionality of cryptocurrency, this isn’t the only application. This is because blockchain provides a method to secure transactions at scale, which can be used in a host of other operations.
Blockchain works by creating a linked “chain” of transactions — or blocks — that are shared across a public ledger. This effectively makes the chain immutable; because the details of the chain are publicly available, attempts to change it are noticed immediately, and comparisons with the details of the chain at large make it easy to spot potential problems. Blockchain also enables the anonymity of transactions. While details about the exchange itself are shared, vetted parties in the system don’t have to expose personal data.
This means blockchain has potential in many industries and applications that have nothing to do with cryptocurrency. For example, financial firms are now leveraging “decentralized finance,” or DeFi, to create cloud-based blockchain frameworks capable of processing large-volume transactions quickly and securely. There are also potential use cases for blockchain in industries such as healthcare. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) points to the blockchain as the basis for secure patient and provider information systems that could be cheaper and more efficient than current frameworks.
At scale, blockchain-based solutions have the advantage of removing intermediaries. Consider financial firms, which often use clearinghouses and other third parties to verify transactions before processing them. The public, decentralized, and secure nature of blockchain makes it possible to eliminate these third parties, saving companies time and money.
See More: Top Five Blockchain Attacks & DLT Vulnerabilities to Know in 2022
Developers in demand
The result? Blockchain developers are in demand regardless of the changing crypto future. While cryptocurrency providers will continue to leverage the expertise of blockchain devs, their skillsets are now applicable across a wide range of industries.
A recent report pegs blockchain as one of the top five technologies to be the “next big thing,” while the Silicon Republic points to the blockchain as a great opportunity for upskilling. Staff can expand their skill sets with blockchain courses, and companies would be smart to facilitate this training to drive increased efficiency and improved security. A quick search of job sites such as Indeed shows a wealth of blockchain developer jobs available — the vast majority come with starting salaries north of $125,000.
For companies, these signs are a bellwether of what’s to come. Blockchain skills demand will also quickly ramp up like cybersecurity and data analytics. But, right now, there’s not enough talent to go around. To make sure they’re on the cutting edge rather than falling behind, businesses should consider:
- Encouraging skills development
As noted above, growing interest in blockchain makes it an ideal option for upskilling. As the number of instructor-led and self-directed courses continues to grow, it’s worth encouraging staff to pursue blockchain development on the company dime — and time — to help lay the foundation for new frameworks.
- Finding full-time alternatives
If teams are already stretched thin, upskilling may not be possible, and budgets may not allow the hiring of new full-time staff. Here, managed service providers offer a path to technology talent without the same time and resource investments that recruit new IT professionals.
- Building a blockchain base
Finally, it’s worth ensuring that current IT environments are prepared for potential blockchain projects. This means evaluating current cloud adoption rates, data storage solutions, and infosec program maturity to assess blockchain readiness. If not, invest here before bringing in developers.
Bottom line? There’s a growing demand for blockchain skills, both as part of and beyond the current crypto landscape. Current conditions and emerging trends mean it’s not time to wait and see for businesses. Instead, it’s worth taking action to invest in blockchain as soon as possible.
Do you think honing your crypto skills is worth a shot? Comment below or let us know on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. We would love to hear from you!
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