Blockchain

7 Steps to Hiring a Blockchain Developer

by Phillip Lew

Blockchain is an undeniably disruptive force within business today as it continues to evolve into products and services that are transforming how we work, live and play. Blockchain refers to an immutable digital ledger or record of data that can be programmed to record valuable information such as financial transactions, payment histories, consumer identities and more. Further, Blockchain is managed by a cluster of decentralised computers hence not owned or controlled by a single intermediary.

Forecasts show that the blockchain industry will experience exponential growth in the coming years. The market is expected to reach USD$23.3 billion in 2023. Most of the technology has primarily been deployed within the financial sector but blockchain startups are increasingly disrupting broader industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, finance, public service and many more.

Currently, finding qualified blockchain developers is not easy. The supply of qualified blockchain development talent is low due to the increasing global demand by blockchain startups and multinational companies looking to deploy the technology’s capabilities within their organizations.

In addition, blockchain technology is still an evolving field, with the opportunities and risks associated with its deployment constantly changing and its capabilities being understood by global IT and business professionals alike. As such, blockchain experts have become a rare breed and many top developers commanding big bucks to developing blockchain technologies. Large institutions experimenting with blockchain technology now offer to pay 1.5 times higher than the median $100,690 paid annually to software developers as documented by the US Bureau of labor statistics. As a result of this, many blockchain startups struggle to find the budgets to hire top tier blockchain talent within their organizations.

The good news is, companies looking to save on costs can always outsource their blockchain development tasks and receive quality talent at a lower price. You can save up to 40% (or more) in payroll costs by hiring qualified blockchain developers in countries such as the Philippines or Eastern Europe.

Hire the best blockchain developer using the following 7 steps:

Step 1: Decide on Your Blockchain Business Strategy

In the first step, identify a relevant business strategy. In most cases, your business strategy will revolve around two main options that will determine the type of talent you need:

  • Option 1: Build your own Blockchain Technology

If you are going to create your own blockchain technology, look for a multifaceted blockchain developer with the ability to think quickly and creatively. Knowledge about C++ is a must. The blockchain developer should also be a technology enthusiast with professional experience developing crypto technologies and deploying blockchain software applications. Moreover, in addition to creating a technology application from scratch, you can also make use of Etherium or other existing Blockchain platforms.

  • Option 2: Build “Soft Applications” on top of an existing Blockchain application

The talent required for this option is a GO or Java blockchain developer. Look for a blockchain developer with an excellent understanding of distributed ledgers. This is because the most suitable platform to use is the Hyperledger Fabric.

Step 2: Plan Your Blockchain Development Hiring Strategy

Before hiring a blockchain developer, decide on the kind of work relationship that you will offer. The decision on whether to hire full-time employees locally within your own office or outsource to remote staff depends on your business strategy and budget:

  • Full Time Staff or Project-Based

The project-based option involves hiring a dedicated team of blockchain developers from third-party companies to complete your project. It involves outsourcing which may guarantee you high-quality services at low costs. Outsourcing is preferred by many as the outsourcing company will have optimized processes to ensure adherence to project requirements and on-time delivery. Moreover, the method is less expensive as you do not have to offer dedicated office space and other related expenses to house your development team. You can also take full advantage of low-cost developers from various countries around the world. This method gives you more flexibility. You can also control the scalability of your project as you can add or remove developers as your project’s requirements change.

Hiring full-time staff may be more expensive due to recruiting and onboarding costs and the entire hiring process may take longer than desired. Using this option also means that you have to provide other human resource benefits such as medical benefits, sick leave, paid vacation and more.

  • Hire Locally or Utilize Remote Employee Staff

You can take the traditional route and find blockchain developers from your local market. You can post your job description on websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn or Glassdoor. Hiring locally is the most direct method but can be very expensive based on blockchain developer salaries in your local market.

Another option involves hiring a remote team via platforms such as Upwork, Toptal or Guru.com. This is a less expensive method due to intense developer competition in the freelancer community but can be very risky for employers. The quality of work you can get is at stake since Freelancers’ skills can be highly variable and freelancer communication skills and work performance inconsistent.

Step 3: Get Clear on Blockchain Position Types

There are various categories in which blockchain talent falls under. Here are the main blockchain position types that you need to familiarize yourself with before building a blockchain team;

  • Software UX Designers

User experience (UX) designers focus on the look and feel of your software applications, omnichannel journeys among other aspects that focus on improving the user experience. By understanding user behaviors, UX designers create optimum experiences for the user. Good UX designers focus on creating an experience that feels natural and intuitive for the user. When incorporating blockchain into your software project, bringing in a UX designer to figure out how they can create a simple and intuitive user experience is critical to ensuring users adopt and consistently use your technology. Learn more on [why your blockchain startup needs UX designers.] (https://medium.com/blockchain-review/why-your-blockchain-startup-needs-ux-design-73b6f158b71d.)

  • Frontend Developers

The role of front-end developers entails converting software design files into computer languages such as C++, JavaScript, CSS code, HTML and more. The frontend developer creates applications that are directly accessible and viewable by the client. A frontend developer ensures the websites visual front end looks exactly as designed and that the software application works across different computers and mobile interfaces.

The developer should have proven experience with CSS, HTML, Node, and Express, including a strong understanding of web applications.

  • Blockchain Application Developers

Blockchain application developers use programming languages and codes to build software applications based on the project’s needs. They work with numerous languages and operating systems. Hiring app developers with fieldwork experience with languages such as C++ or java is suggested. Blockchain application developers work primarly on the backend of the software development process and are responsible for creating the capabilities blockchain is known for such as being decentralized, distributed, public or private as well as any other requirements you may have for your technology.

  • Smart Contract Engineers

This is a group of blockchain developers with the knowledge of smart-contract languages such as Go, Python, and Solidity. They are responsible for:

  • Developing and editing smart contracts
  • Performing end-to-end business process testing
  • Ensuring smooth flow and security in smart contracts
  • Backend Developers

Backend developers perform some of the following functions:

  • Provide technical support
  • Deploy performance testing
  • Establish technology requirements which contribute to better software design
  • Design and develop APIs

Step 4: Make Sure Your Blockchain Developers Have the Core Skills You Require

There are a number of languages that are dominant in the blockchain industry. A highly-skilled blockchain developer must possess a strong foundation in the programming language skills you need. Every language has a particular purpose in creating the building blocks for successful application deployments. Here are a brief summary of the most important programming languages to look out for:

  • C++ – This is one of the most important languages in blockchain development. It changes big data in the form of objects allowing users to view it from their frontend applications.
  • Java – Programmers use Java across every kind of computer, hence its popularity. The language is also simple. It is used to establish links between data blocks and deliver data to users.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript is a programming language used in web browsers. It is the main technology used to power the World Wide Web.
  • Js – This is an open-source server environment that makes the running of JavaScript on a server possible.
  • Pearl – It is a computer programming language used for multitasking and real-time programming. It is a high-level language and can be used across various platforms.
  • Python – It the newest language in the programming world. It is mostly used in blockchain and website development. It allows programmers to perform multiple tasks with a single command.
  • Ruby­ – This is an object-oriented language that allows blockchain developers to use a sophisticated language mix to build blockchain systems that cannot be hacked easily. The use of Ruby is made easy by the Ruby software that can be customized based on individual requirements.
  • Solidity – The language is popular among programmers or blockchain developers as it is fast and convenient in creating and sending messages across users.

Step 5: Get Clear on Blockchain Developer Salary Ranges

Due to talent scarcity, the demand for blockchain developers is abnormally high. Blockchain development talent is as a result very expensive. In startups where there are cash flow concerns, it is important to be clear on the salary ranges for blockchain developers. This can help you to choose a developer that is affordable and that can provide you with the best solution.

On average, hiring a blockchain developer globally can cost you between $73,304 and $139,339 + as per information from Indeed.com. The figure below shows the salary ranges.

The median salary for a blockchain developer is very high in the United States. In the USA, companies spend an average of $158,000 annually for blockchain developers.

In Western Europe, the average base salary per year ranges between $55,000 and $91,000. Employers in Australia are also aware of the cost of great talent and are willing to pay between $90,000 and $110,000 annually. In the Philippines, blockchain developers can cost significantly less with salaries averaging around $4,375 per month, which is approximately $52,500 annually.

Step 6: Recruitment Strategy & Suggestions

With all the above information, finding a blockchain developer does not have to be difficult. The good news is that excellent blockchain developers with varying skills exist and are interested in taking the industry forward. Note that blockchain developers are not searching job boards for your opportunity and to engage them you need to fish where they swim. A large percentage of blockchain talent is remote. You can utilize professional headhunting companies such as C9Digital, to secure top-notch talent that meets your project needs. Remember to focus on the intelligence and versatility of programming languages over field experience.

During the interview process here are some suggested questions you can ask blockchain developers in order to determine if they are qualified for your project:

  • What is blockchain?
  • What types of blockchain do you know?
  • What is a Merkle tree?
  • How does blockchain work?
  • What is cryptography and what is its main goal?
  • How are blocks linked in the blockchain?
  • What types of consensus algorithms are you familiar with?

The right blockchain developer should be aware of the basic trends in the blockchain industry, relevant protocols, vital programming languages, software development, including the currently used tools. The perfect candidate for your organization should have 2-3 years of field experience with Go, Rust, Java, Python, Ruby, C++, Solidity among other skills-sets.

Step 7: How to Retain Top Talent

Blockchain developers are in high demand in the current marketplace. Once you get the right talent for your project you need to keep them happy. Some of the strategies that can help you hold on to your best blockchain talent include understanding and offering them what they value.

This is can often be less about money and more about flexible work schedules, the ability to work remote, and the ability to work on projects they are passionate about. You can also consider giving them some skin in the game as a strategy to entice them and make them stay.

You can also consider building a community. A blockchain community is important for blockchain developers. It comprises of pioneers coming together in a discipline that is still growing. Similar to any other area of technology, and given the fact that the blockchain industry is in the introductory stage of its life cycle, a community can help your team of developers to access the knowledge they need to make the project a success.

Wrap up

As more companies begin to realize the value of blockchain technology we can expect to see further increases in the demand for blockchain developers. As everyone seeks to jump onto the blockchain bandwagon now is the right team to build the team and capabilities to give your business a competitive advantage. If you want to benefit from the blockchain development boom, follow the above guideline to hire and retain talented blockchain developers.

Recommended Readings

CIO. (n.d.). Blockchain Experts, a Rare Breed, May Demand Big Bucks. The Wall Street Journal.

Marascio, J., & Stepanenko, O., (2019). How to Hire the Best Blockchain Developers. Retrieved from https://www.accelerance.com/blog/how-to-hire-the-best-blockchain-developers. Accelerance.com.

Martin, R. (2018). How to Hire a Blockchain Developer. Retrieved from Ignite: https://igniteoutsourcing.com/blockchain/hire-blockchain-developers/

Rosic, A. (2017). How to Hire a Good Blockchain Developer (Ultimate Guide). Retrieved from Blockgeeks: https://blockgeeks.com/how-to-hire-a-good-blockchain-developer/

Statista. (n.d.). Size of the blockchain technology market worldwide from 2018 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/647231/worldwide-blockchain-technology-market-size/

 

Phillip Lew

Phillip Lew

Phillip Lew helps investors, business owners, executives and government agencies all around the world on helping them leverage the power of outsourcing and using exponential technologies to create massive success within their organization. To contact Phillip for consulting, speaking opportunities or to hire C9 Digital, please fill out the online inquiry form at the bottom of this page.