How To Become A Blockchain Developer – A Beginners Guide

The advent of Bitcoin and its underlying tech, Blockchain changed the world, particularly the Banking and Finance sectors. However, with Bitcoin, the scope of development is quite constrained. Then came Ethereum – the world’s first programmable Blockchain. It took the Blockchain game to a whole new level, creating scope for developers around the world to build innovative applications on top of Ethereum. As a result, the craze for Blockchain tech only continued to escalate, thus, making Blockchain skills one of the hottest skills today!

‘Blockchain Developer’ is one of the most popular and emerging jobs now, and hence, it isn’t surprising that an increasing number of youngsters are steering toward it. But the most challenging part comes at the very beginning of the journey –

Who is a Blockchain Developer?

A blockchain developer is an expert in the field and is capable of developing cutting-edge decentralized applications (DApps), as well as crafting intricate smart contracts. Utilizing programming languages such as Solidity, Python, and JavaScript, these tech-savvy professionals possess an expansive knowledge of blockchain technology and the underlying principles for its use. Exploiting its immutability and transparency, these engineers are able to construct solutions that utilize the powerful functionality of blockchain to ensure secure and trustless data storage and user experiences.

What Exactly Does a Blockchain Developer Do?

If you’re wondering how to become a blockchain developer, you should first know what is it that a blockchain developer does. The following are some of them:

Developing Smart Contracts and dApps: Blockchain developers serve a central task – creating smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). Smart contracts are digital agreements that self-execute without the need for intermediaries, utilizing programming languages such as Solidity – Ethereum’s own programming language. Experienced developers use their proficient programming skills to ensure transparent and secure transactions across the distributed blockchain network. 

Security and Auditing: Maintaining the security of blockchain networks is critical; developers must implement a variety of sophisticated cryptographic techniques and security measures. From hashing and digital signatures to asymmetric cryptography, various encryption strategies are utilized to keep user data safe and secure.

Moreover, blockchain developers are responsible for ensuring the resilience of the network; regular audits must be conducted to proactively discover any existing vulnerabilities. Through a process of code analysis, penetration tests, and rigorous security protocols, blockchain developers help protect the network from malicious attacks. By staying abreast of industry best practices and continuously updating their understanding of blockchain security, developers can effectively secure transactions and data stored on a decentralized ledger.

Collaborating and Architecting Solutions: Blockchain developers work closely with cross-functional teams to design and develop innovative solutions using blockchain technology. They collaborate with project managers, designers, and other developers to understand business requirements and propose suitable blockchain architectures.

These professionals analyze various use cases and determine the most effective implementation strategy for a given project. They assess different blockchain platforms and frameworks, considering factors such as scalability, consensus mechanisms, and interoperability. By evaluating these aspects, blockchain developers can architect robust and scalable solutions tailored to the specific needs of the organization or project.

What Skills Does a Blockchain Developer Need?

Now that you know what what a blockchain developer does, let’s look into the skills needed for how to become blockchain developer.

Programming Languages: Proficiency in programming languages is paramount for a blockchain developer. A comprehensive understanding of Solidity, a key language used for Ethereum smart contracts, is essential. Other valuable languages such as Python, JavaScript, or Go can be beneficial for developing decentralized applications and integrating blockchain with existing systems. 

Blockchain Frameworks and Platforms: A sound knowledge of blockchain frameworks and platforms is critical in order to excel as a blockchain developer. Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, and Corda are three of the most commonly used platforms. A deep comprehension of their structures, consensus mechanisms, and processes of smart contract deployment are necessary for effective development. 

Cryptography and Security: A mastery of cryptographic algorithms and security protocols is of the utmost importance for every blockchain developer. This includes cognizance of encryption techniques, digital signatures, and hash functions. Furthermore, staying abreast of changes in the domain of cyber security and conducting regular security audits of blockchain networks is also critical. All of these concepts work together to safely process and protect sensitive data as well as promote secure transactions. 

Distributed Systems and Data Structures: Having expertise in distributed systems and related data structures is imperative for the successful use of blockchain. Concepts such as consensus algorithms, peer-to-peer networks, and distributed databases, to name a few, are integral to establishing reliable and long-lasting blockchain networks. Gaining a thorough understanding of such concepts is essential for taking full advantage of this revolutionary technology. 

Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills: Blockchain development is not without its complexities, and thus, problem-solving and analytical skills are paramount. This involves identifying roadblocks, maximizing performance, and resolving issues swiftly. Furthermore, the aptitude to discern business requirements, analyze the data associated with them, and propose viable solutions is essential for successful blockchain engineering.

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How to Become a Blockchain Developer?

In this post, that’s what we’re about to address! We’ll take you through a step-by-step journey of how to become a blockchain developer from scratch.

Let’s begin!

1. Define and establish your goals.

For a beginner, Blockchain is a complicated technology. While Blockchain and cryptocurrencies can bring you a lot of profit, first you must understand what you wish to accomplish with Blockchain tech. So, you must ask yourself the following questions and find answers to them:

• Do you want to work for a Blockchain company, or do you want to be an entrepreneur and create your own Blockchain products/services?
• Do you want to disrupt and dysfunctional industries through Blockchain?
• Do you wish to transform governance through the decentralization aspect of Blockchain?
• Do you want to be a Blockchain Developer who works on Blockchain software or do you want to build applications on top of Blockchain tech?

If you work as a Blockchain Developer for a reputed company, you can earn extremely high salary packages. This is because there is a significant shortage of adequately skilled Blockchain Developers. However, if you are an independent entrepreneur developing Blockchain applications, you can raise a lot of money for your projects via funding. Answering these questions will help you understand what exactly you want out of your Blockchain career.

2. Choose one Blockchain network.

It’s not necessary to master all the Blockchain networks inside-out – you can choose one and specialize in it. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and EOS are the most popular Blockchain networks out there. Bitcoin is undoubtedly the most stable and widely used Blockchain tech for processing valuable transactions, but then it can handle only simple transactions. On the contrary, Ethereum was designed to overcome the limitations of Bitcoin by running ‘smart contracts.’ Smart contracts can run any arbitrary computation, unlike Bitcoin. EOS too can run smart contracts. However, EOS is much more scalable than Ethereum, and unlike Ethereum, it allows for free transactions.

While EOS may look like the best choice, remember that it is more scalable which leads to a centralization of sorts (contrary to the decentralization feature of Blockchain).

Thus, the smart choice here is Ethereuem since it is highly programmable, supports Ethereum tokens, and is backed by an active community of talented developers.

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3. Get familiar with Dapps.

After choosing your focus of study (Blockchain network), you should get familiar with Decentralized Apps or Dapps. More than 2,000 applications built on Ethereum (for example, Marketplaces, Decentralized Exchanges, and Gambling Dapps) already exist. So, you can get a headstart there. To explore the different kinds of Dapps, you can check out Dapp list websites like StateOfTheDapps and DappRadar.

Now, it’s time to decide what you want to build. Is it a gaming Dapp or a decentralized exchange or something unique? Once you figure this out, you should figure out how you wish to develop your Dapp. For developing a Dapp, you must learn how:

• The Ethereum protocol works
• To write smart contracts in Solidity
• To assemble all the pieces in a Dapp

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4. Get familiar with the different libraries and development tools.

To successfully write smart contracts and develop Dapps, you must learn to use the following development tools:

• Truffle – it is one of the most widely used frameworks for building Ethereum Dapps. Truffle is written in Nodejs and is backed by a strong community.
• Web3 – it is a library that can communicate with Ethereum clients like Geth, Parity, etc. The advantage of Web3 is that it can dynamically create abstractions (objects) to represent a smart contract.
• Solc – it is the compiler of the Solidity programming language and is written in C++. It comes with its distinct Github repo.
Remix – it is an online IDE for writing Solidity smart contracts.
Ganache – it is a local Ethereum Blockchain for developing Dapps. It allows you to run a command to trigger a local Ethereum node and get ten addresses pre-funded with Ether.
Metamask – it is an Ethereum wallet designed to act as a browser extension. Dapps uses Metamask while requesting a user to sign a transaction and sanction it.

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5. Learn Solidity to write smart contracts.

While smart contracts make up the foundation of Dapps, Solidity is the primary language choice for writing smart contracts. Solidity’s is a compiled and typed language with a syntax similar to that of Javascript.

Smart contracts are nothing but small programs that can run autonomously once deployed on the Ethereum network. So, once you implement them, you don’t have to do anything else – the system runs them automatically, thereby giving the admin control to no individual.

Most people resort to learning Solidity with CryptoZombies, a game designed to introduce and teach the fundamentals of Solidity by generating an army of Zombies in a smart contract. While this is an exciting way to learn Solidity, you should also be thorough with the official Solidity Documentation for it is the most comprehensive guide on Solidity. It is updated regularly and will teach you the basics of Solidity, including the primary variable types, the main control structures, and the overall structure of a smart contract.

6. Develop a Dapp.

Once you’ve learned the nitty-gritty of Solidity, it is time to put your theoretical knowledge to test by building a Dapp.

Smart contracts aren’t exactly user-friendly, and hence, the requirement of Dapps. Dapps allow users to interact with them seamlessly. Before building a Dapp, you must understand how it works. Let’s demonstrate this through a game – Cryptokitties, an Ethereum-based game that allows players to buy and trade kitties.

When you visit the Cryptokitties website, you land on the main user-interface – the frontend part looks just like a standard web app, and the backend is deployed on private servers. Then begins the Blockchain layer with Metamask. The players use Metamask to transfer Ether to Cryptokitties. After this comes to the smart contract that stores all the game data. Since the smart contract is deployed on the Ethereum network, it is hosted by multiple machines simultaneously.

This is precisely the design of a Dapp. First, there’s the frontend and backend. Then you have the browser extension (here, Metamask), and then finally, you have the smart contracts. To successfully develop a Dapp, you must ensure that these three layers can communicate with one another seamlessly.

There are various articles, videos, and ebooks that teach you how to build a Dapp from scratch. EatTheBlocks Pro is an excellent resource for tutorials on Ethereuem and Solidity.

The last step – prepare for Blockchain interviews. As you progress through these six steps, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of Blockchain technology, Bitcoin and Ethereum, Solidity, smart contracts, and Dapps. And as a beginner in the field, that’s all you need to get started with – the rest you can learn as Blockchain advances.
We hope this helps!

If you are interested to create blockchain applications from scratch, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s Executive Certification in Blockchain from IIITB.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is a digital, decentralized ledger used to facilitate the process of recording transactions. It provides immediate, shared, and completely transparent information stored in an immutable ledger which can be accessed by those having permission to access it. Blockchain is reliable, secure, fast, and efficient. There are different types of blockchains which provide for varied needs of the users, and one can choose the blockchain type which best suits their requirements.

How do I choose a blockchain network?

When deciding on a career in blockchain technology, there are a few things to keep in mind, like choosing a blockchain network. Its growing market has presented a number of networks that one can choose from. Some of the most popular ones are Bitcoin, EOS, Ethereum, etc. with each having its own speciality and advantages. Before choosing a network, it is not necessary to have mastered it inside-out, but having a basic idea of blockchain networks helps in deciding which one to specialize in and then work on. Further, one should also check the market trends to understand which network is more profitable at the time.

What is a dApp?

Decentralized Application, or dApp, refers to a type of distributed open source software application that runs on a peer-to-peer (P2P) blockchain network instead of on a single computer. Its decentralized nature lets other users build up on it once the developer has released a dApp’s codebase. Using blockchain enables dApp in processing data through distributed networks and executing transactions.

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