By Robert Viglione, CEO of Horizen
Despite the uncertain state of the cryptocurrency market, demand for jobs in blockchain remains at an all-time high. According to a new report by hired.com , global demand for blockchain engineers is up 517 percent from 2018, with more than 5,700 blockchain jobs currently available on the recruiting website Glassdoor alone.
This is certainly welcome news for blockchain’s long-term health; however, it comes with an unfortunate caveat. Currently, there are more jobs available than there are people capable of filling them.
As is the case with many emerging industries, aspiring professionals in blockchain don’t have access to the resources required to learn industry-specific skills, leaving job listings open, companies scrambling, and the industry at a loss. As we prepare for the coming year, blockchain projects should make a concerted effort to create educational programs that foster the next generation of blockchain developers.
Following the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
In many ways, blockchain expertise is a disruptive skill, meaning it’s both fast-growing and hard to find. Blockchain recruiters cast a wide net for every position and only have a limited number of experts in blockchain-focused practice areas (e.g., consumer technology, privacy, or the supply chain) to choose from.
For blockchain companies, this is why developing and conducting education programs is so important. By teaching aspiring developers about the intricacies of the decentralized economy, companies can expedite the hiring process, creating a direct link between top-tier talent and their top line.
Newer generations of blockchain professionals may take solace in the fact that 42 percent of colleges and universities have started offering blockchain classes in their curriculums. However, there are still a substantial number of developers, both up-and-coming and experienced, that don’t have access to the time or capital necessary to enroll in expensive postgraduate programs.
Offering free or low-cost educational programs may seem fiscally counterproductive on its surface, but blockchain companies upskilling developers are already reaping the benefits of deeper and more diverse talent pools. These educational initiatives can be as simple as asking current employees to hold after-hours programs or online classes, and the results will have a lasting impact on both the company and the industry at large.
Some projects are already setting an important precedent here. B9lab Academy has launched online coursework that deals with the nuances of the Ethereum, Hyperledger, and Tezos protocols and development. Truffle, a smart contract suite, has created Truffle University, a training program purposed to help software developers become professional blockchain engineers. At Horizen, we recently announced the Horizen Academy, a comprehensive educational experience focused on blockchain technology, privacy, and the Horizen platform — all free of charge. By presenting industry-specific material to developers at any skill level, we aim to make radical usability and widespread adoption of privacy protocols a reality.
Amid rapid advancements in the blockchain industry, it’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that talent remains our most important asset. At present, 40 percent of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training leave their positions within their first year. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that 68 percent of workers say that professional development is the most important workplace policy that a company can implement.
If we truly wish to attract some of the best and brightest minds in the world to this emerging space, we will have to be willing to teach them how to walk before they can run. It may take time and effort, but the results will ultimately pay dividends in the creation of an aspiring generation of developers ready to reimagine the world today with the power of blockchain technology.