How to become a blockchain developer?
Recently, it seems as if whenever people ask a question about what an industry will look like in ten years, the answer will be, “It will be run by blockchain technology”.
What is blockchain technology?
Proof of Work (what many people would refer to today as Blockchain) is a distributed ledger system, which has chain of blocks. Each block has a number of transactions in it that can be between wallets, smart contracts, or running share data.
The idea of Blockchain is that the user based community will agree that a certain block would be first, and another block would come next, and another block would be third, and so on and so forth. There is, however a setback in this system. In order for the community to stay in control of the system and avoid two blocks being placed at the same time, we have to slow down the system (on purpose) so that the entire system as a whole can be balanced and checked. Therefore, every member that would like to add a block has to solve a math problem below the block if he wants to add his block, by doing so block – chains are created (hence the name blockchain).
The growing demand for blockchain technology in the market is followed by a growing demand for blockchain developers, but how can a developer become a blockchain developer?
First, we need to understand that there are two types of blockchain developers:
- Blockchain developers– focuses on implementation and application programming.
- Core blockchain developers– focuses on blockchain technology & blockchain protocols.
Another big difference between blockchain developers is that, either they focus on public blockchains like Ethereum stream or Bitcoin, or they focus on private blockchains like Hyperledger fabric or Ethereum, which have different consensus protocols than the “Proof of Work” (blockchain).
In order to dive ever deeper into how to become a blockchain developer, I met a friend of mine Thomas Zeinzinger, the incumbent CEO of BlockchainHub Graz & Chairman of lab10 collective, in order to understand what blockchain devs do into his company lab 10 collective.
What is BlockchainHub Graz?
BlockchainHub Graz is a tech community in Graz, Austria, which is run by lab10 collective.
The idea of the community is to engage the general public and provide a clear and coherent message about what blockchain technology is, through workshops, trainings, conferences, meetups, and consulting.
Their vision is to spread the message of decentralized technologies such as blockchain and other technologies that are built on top of, and around blockchain. By doing so, they empower a more efficient, transparent, peer-to-peer economy & peer-to-peer society.
What is lab10 collective?
Lab 10 collective is a cooperative blockchain incubator – where every member owns a share in the company. The company’s aim is to build a free, fair, and educated society. “We believe that blockchains offer a new and revolutionary way to transact freely, generate wealth and financial independence as well as happiness for a sustainable society” said Zeinzinger.
Currently, the company is raising capital for their ICO (Initial Coin Offering), while introducing ARTIS, a new blockchain system, which supports the goal of a sustainable society. The system will give access to free transactions, and will involve hundreds of millions of people. While people will get a reward, it will be most beneficial for businesses to access a big customer base and implement new business models when using the revolutionary feature of streaming money.
Why should developers move into the blockchain space?
According to Zeinzinger the blockchain space, like the Internet, is undervalued in the early stage. Currently it is mainly used for speculation, but it will generate millions of new use cases. This is because, for the first time, we can have digitally transferable value (financial and other assets) along with ownership without any intermediary helping to avoid duplication. This will cause a complete paradigm shift and can be used to support the formation of a sustainable future.
How can a developer become a blockchain developer?
Zeinzinger claims that it depends on the sort of interest and skill level you have. You can get into the development from: node software, consensus protocols, gossip protocols, programing languages or applications – just to name a few. This is a very exciting space and it looks as if history is going to be “developed”.
The simplest access is through Ethereum and there are many courses to get started – e.g. Thomas Wiesner on Udemy. From there on, you might set up your own node and run your local Blockchain with which you will interact, if you decide to do application development. It will be a lot less frustrating if you find someone that can give you valuable advice how to solve the problems you encounter.
Many people also like to build the basic logic of a blockchain themselves and therefore typically use the programing language they are most familiar with.
What type of blockchain developers are you working with in ARTIS?
Which program languages they are using?
According to Zeinzinger, ARTIS uses modified Parity node software, which is built for Ethereum. That node software is written in Rust and is outperforming the Go implementation for the Ethereum protocol (geth) by huge margins.
For applications, we currently use various Java Script frameworks (e.g. React) and of course Solidity for smart contracts. Native implementations are also done in Kotlin. We also did a Proof-of-Concept blockchain with Clojure and have deep experience with C++, Haskel, Go and several other languages.
To conclude, this revolutionary technology is fast growing, with more industries entering the blockchain space every day. The higher the demand for blockchain applications in the market grow, the higher the demand is for skilled developers that understand it, and are able to develop blockchain applications, implement changes, or keep protocols. It is undeniable that the blockchain space presents new opportunities for developers to grow and thrive along with it.
Special thanks to Thomas Zeinzinger, Chairman of lab10 collective & CEO of BlockchainHub Graz for sharing the information, and help in introducing and educating the general public regarding blockchain technology.