With recent news of tech giants like Facebook seeking blockchain talent – including a Senior Lawyer with blockchain experience and a team of at least 60 software engineers specializing in blockchain – it’s clear that global companies are beginning to explore the system and embracing its disruptive technology. Job listings for blockchain engineers have skyrocketed by 517% in the past year alone, according to employment site Hired, and other major players like Visa and The New York Times caused a stir when they recently posted blockchain positions. As other companies follow suit, the need for specialized cryptocurrency talent is adding to the growing global talent shortage, now ranked the top concern for organizations. Here are five blockchain jobs for which you can expect to see more and more demand as the industry shifts.
Of course, a new form of currency means a new world of legal and compliance challenges, and in 2019, Facebook isn’t the only company investing in blockchain-savvy legal counsel. The need for blockchain lawyers right now is so great, in fact, that Duke University professor of international business Campbell Harvey recently noted, “Law students that are trained in blockchain don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.” That’s less surprising when you peer into the complex mechanics of blockchain law; fundamentally, the distinction between smart contracts, which establish a relationship through cryptographic code, as opposed to the traditional contracts on which most businesses are used to operating, is stark.
Furthermore, when you consider how a distributed ledger can reshape the legal industry – from securing confidential materials and public records to combatting property fraud and data theft – it makes sense that prominent law schools are rapidly expanding their blockchain curriculum. Many have even launched blockchain exploratories and programs, like the dedicated working group established by Stanford Law’s CodeX organization. As Aaron Wright, a professor at Cardozo School of Law, predicts, “We can use blockchain as a ‘spine’ to manage the entire legal industry, build more efficient systems, decrease the cost of legal services, and make sure people get the legal services they need.”
It stands to reason that such a burgeoning and unpredictable industry has created multiple strategy roles that did not exist in decades past – whether specializing in investing, security, software development, marketing, risk assessment or any number of new blockchain-specific focus areas. Blockchain strategy at this level is beginning to happen on a global scale; Australia unveiled its national blockchain strategy just days ago, outlining a wide range of focus areas for policy development and a plan to work closely with blockchain technology experts to move forward strategically. “The national strategy puts us on the front foot in exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of blockchain and its uses,” said Karen Andrews, Australia’s Minister of Industry, Science and Technology. Similarly, the German government has reportedly been consulting many blockchain companies and groups and are slated to introduce their national blockchain strategy by mid-2019.
It’s part of a wave of blockchain exploration sweeping EU-member countries, with France seemingly soon to follow. Attending the International Agricultural Fair in Paris, France President Emmanuel Macron noted how blockchain could vastly improve supply chain management. “Let’s do this in Europe,” he said, according to a translation, “the avant-garde of agricultural technology, by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing. The innovation is there, and it must be used in the agricultural world, it must be fully used because it is at the service of shared excellence and it will serve the consumer.” Adding to the many blockchain strategy opportunities surfacing in the government space, there is an entire industry of traditional trust-based, centralized companies – banks, creditors, accounting firms, and many others – who are feeling the impending interference of blockchain’s decentralized “trustless” system and seeking expert talent to help them remain established and adapt to a changing system.
You may have expected that the positions of blockchain engineer or developer would represent the most sought-after blockchain talent right now. What you may not have realized (although it’s incredibly logical) is that some major companies, including payment processor Square, are offering talent the option to be paid in Bitcoin. Square CEO Jack Dorsey (also of Twitter) confirmed this as he announced 5 open crypto positions for a new open source project this week. “This will be Square’s first open source initiative independent of our business objectives,” he tweeted. “These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free.” Square is one of many major companies making swift adjustments in response to blockchain’s boom. According to LinkedIn’s latest U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, listings for job candidates who can create blockchain ledgers grew 33-fold in a single year, with the highest demand for such talent surfacing in San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta.
This shift is also evident in recent data from recruiting site Glassdoor, as reported by TNW; of the nearly 5,711 blockchain jobs posted globally at the time of their research, the most popular title was “Blockchain Engineer,” followed by “Senior Software Engineer” and “Blockchain Developer.” U.S. employers are responsible for roughly half of those job listings, echoing the aforementioned data from Hired, which showed U.S. companies like IBM leading the pack in hiring for blockchain positions. However, top executives expect the tables to turn in the next few years, according to recent surveys, predicting that China will be the global blockchain leader by 2023. Demand for blockchain skills has gone “through the roof,” as Hired CEO Mehul Patel put it. “It’s staggering growth,” said Patel. “I think there’s a deep feeling here that blockchain is the next wave of technology innovation that will underpin almost every industry one way or another – sort of like the first wave of the internet in the 1990s. So no, I don’t think this is a temporary thing.”