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Skills Needed to Become a Blockchain Developer

Blockchain development is one of the fastest-growing sectors. Companies are looking for blockchain developers to make new implementations, advance their current systems, and get ahead in the industry. 

That’s why it’s the best time to become a blockchain developer.

Blockchain developer skills are a combination of hard skills and soft skills from an abstract point of view. Thinking, how to become a blockchain developer, to start this journey, you should first learn the necessary blockchain developer skills you must have. In this article, we’ll discuss the same. So, let’s get started:

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What Is Blockchain Development?

Before delving into the different skills required for being a blockchain developer, let’s first clarify all your doubts regarding what is blockchain development? Well, blockchain development refers to a unique process wherein unchangeable DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) is created, which is responsible for securely recording transactions and tracking assets. They may be physical assets such as money or other physical assets and can also be non-physical assets such as copyrights. 

Blockchain development carries several advantages for various industries worldwide. Infact, in this technology-driven world, more and more industries are turning to blockchain technology to ensure a secure, accurate mode of sharing information. Blockchain network provides their users with a transparent delivery and shortage, which might include tasks such as tracking orders, accounts, or any other data. Some of the various sectors where blockchain technology is being used vigorously are healthcare, finance, supply chain, and real estate, among others. Thus, you can well imagine that there has been a significant increase in the demand for blockchain developers all around the world. 

Advantages of Implementing Blockchain Solutions

There are a series of benefits a company can derive by implementing this technology in their business. Some of them include

  • Increased Transparency- One of the biggest benefits of using blockchain solutions for your business is that it enables a transparent view of the overall history of every transaction that is stored within the distributed ledger to all the members of the network. 

With blockchain, a permanent record of transactions is shared across the network and cannot be altered. This eliminates issues with record tampering and provides more confidence in the accuracy of the data. Blockchain’s transparency also enables better auditing capabilities and compliance reporting.

Network members can easily verify details and track the origins of transactions. Overall, the transparency afforded by blockchain builds greater trust between network participants by removing information asymmetry and ensuring all parties have access to the same verified information.

  • Boosts Speed And Efficiency- Outdated manual methods can cost a lot of precious time in managing transactional data. However, with the help of blockchain, you can automate and simplify the process, thus not only reducing time wastage but also ensuring that everyone is working from the same up-to-date ledger.

By eliminating manual data reconciliation and record keeping, blockchain streamlines processes and allows transactions to settle much faster. Updates to the blockchain ledger are shared in near real-time across the decentralised network, meaning all parties get access to the latest validated information quickly. This acceleration of transaction speeds significantly improves business velocity and makes companies more agile.

Additionally, the ability to automate transactions through smart contracts reduces friction and human error that can further bog down processes. Blockchain solutions enable faster settlement times, near real-time data sharing, automation to reduce manual efforts, and synchronised ledgers to create substantial efficiency gains.

  • Significantly reducing the risk of fraud- With the help of blockchain, you can have direct access to a complete audit trail, which will further help you to understand the asset’s history. 

The immutable and decentralised nature of blockchain makes it incredibly difficult for any single party to tamper with transaction records. This provides a high level of protection against potential fraud or data manipulation. Additionally, the consensus mechanism to validate blockchain transactions requires agreement between multiple parties, preventing one actor from unilaterally changing records. Smart contracts can encode complex business logic to reduce loopholes.

The transparency of blockchain also acts as a deterrent since all parties can view transaction histories, making it easy to detect unusual activity indicative of fraud. Blockchain solutions minimise vulnerabilities that can lead to fraudulent activities, errors, and falsified transactions by cryptographically securing data and requiring consensus to update. This provides greater assurance and trust in the validity of records for auditors, regulators, and network participants.

  • Decreased costs- You no longer need the help of third-party intermediaries since blockchain takes care of all the tasks. It results in a significant reduction of unnecessary spending and enables faster growth. 

By allowing parties to transact directly with each other through a shared ledger, blockchain removes overhead costs associated with intermediaries that provide centralised verification, clearing, and record-keeping services. Transactions can settle faster without intermediaries, lowering fees. Smart contracts automate complex processes that previously required extensive manual work, legal expenses, and outsourcing costs.

The decentralised blockchain structure also eliminates single points of failure risk that can lead to very high costs. Additionally, the ability to detect fraud earlier based on the transparency of blockchain systems reduces expenses related to reconciling bad data, audits, and potential reputational damage.

The streamlined processes and redundancy blockchain drives cost savings through automation, shared infrastructure, improved security, lower counterparty risk, and enhanced operational efficiency. The cost benefits ultimately accelerate growth by freeing up resources that can be invested in core business priorities.

With that said, let’s take a look at the various roles and responsibilities of blockchain developers, and the skills required to be a blockchain developer. 

A Brief Look at Blockchain Developers

Today blockchain applications transforming the world of technology. Blockchain developers handle the entire life cycle of a blockchain application. This means you’ll be responsible for the research as well as the execution of the application. 

They create the architecture of the system, make smart contracts, and optimize the protocols. As you must’ve guessed by now, they handle a lot of responsibilities, and that’s why they need to learn many blockchain skills to answer all the challenges in blockchain development. 

There are other professionals, too, who help a blockchain developer in their tasks, such as a blockchain engineer. 

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Types of Blockchain Developers

Blockchain developers are of two kinds:

  • Blockchain software developer
  • Core blockchain developer

They both are involved in blockchain development but have different responsibilities. We’ll take a look at them to get a brief idea of what they do.

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Blockchain Software

Blockchain software developers build applications based on blockchain architecture and protocol. Their apps run on the blockchain too. You can compare them with web developers, who use the products of a web architect (protocol and design) to develop web applications. 

Blockchain software developers create Dapps or decentralized applications. They are responsible for the front-end as well as back-end development of Dapps. They also supervise the stack that runs the Dapps. 

What is blockchain developer and how to become blockchain developer? In addition to building the UI/UX and integrating the application with the blockchain network, blockchain developer must handle complex cryptography, consensus algorithms, and peer-to-peer networking logic involved in decentralised apps. The skills for blockchain developer are knowledge of languages like Solidity and Vyper and blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, and Corda.

Testing and debugging smart contracts running on the blockchain is also critical. Besides development, blockchain engineers must consider factors like transaction fees, gas optimisation, and scalability when designing Dapps. Overall, blockchain developer leverages their specialised expertise in decentralised systems to build innovative applications that utilise the advantages of blockchain technology, like transparency, security, and autonomy.

Testing and debugging smart contracts running on the blockchain is also critical. Besides development, blockchain engineers must consider factors like transaction fees, gas optimisation, and scalability when designing Dapps. Overall, blockchain developers leverage their specialised expertise in decentralised systems to build innovative applications that utilise the advantages of blockchain technology, like transparency, security, and autonomy.

Our Learners also read: Blockchain Career!

Core Blockchain

These developers focus on the architecture development of a blockchain system. They design their consensus protocol and make most of the vital decisions related to blockchain. They supervise the network and design the architecture of the same. Core blockchain developers are responsible for the security of their blockchain network as well. 

How to become a blockchain developer? Core blockchain developers are the architects of the foundational layers of blockchain platforms. They design and implement the core protocol, including aspects like the consensus algorithm, incentive structures, cryptographic primitives, and network stack. Core developers contribute heavily to open-source blockchain codebases that are the backbone of decentralised applications. They possess deep expertise in distributed systems, cryptography and advanced protocols like Byzantine fault tolerance.

Core blockchain developers make technical decisions related to hard forks, upgrades, node incentives and governance mechanisms that steer the evolution of blockchain networks. They continuously analyse network security and performance to identify vulnerabilities and make improvements. Given their critical role, core blockchain developers significantly influence the roadmap, features and trajectory of blockchain platforms through their contributions.

Roles And Responsibilities Of Block Chain Developers

Below are some of the basic roles and responsibilities of a block chain developer. 

  • Optimizing blockchain applications with the help of the latest technologies and tools.
  • Cooperating with managers to find out the actual need for blockchain technology and envisaged functionalities.
  • Staying up to date with the latest innovations in blockchain technology and cryptography methods.
  • Sharing the various use of blockchain technology with sales personnel for a digitized and secure mode of payment.
  • Protecting digital transaction data against threats such as information hacks or cyber attacks with the help of cryptology techniques.
  • Using programming languages to create application features and interfaces. 
  • Designing and implementing blockchain network architecture and infrastructure components like nodes, peer-to-peer layers, consensus protocols, etc.
  • Developing and deploying smart contracts and ensuring they are safe, efficient and meet business requirements.
  • Creating APIs for blockchain integration and building interfaces for applications interacting with blockchain networks.
  • Testing blockchain applications thoroughly including writing unit and integration tests for code.
  • Troubleshooting issues in blockchain networks and applications and identifying bug fixes and optimisations.
  • Maintaining detailed documentation for blockchain systems and protocols to assist other developers.
  • Participating in the blockchain open source community by contributing code to repositories and sharing knowledge.
  • Advising stakeholders on strategies for decentralised data storage, tokenisation models, and compliance considerations.
  • Tracking emerging blockchain standards, protocols and frameworks to incorporate into application development.
  • Mentoring junior developers on blockchain architectures, cryptographic principles, consensus rules, and programming languages used.

Top Blockchain Developer Skills 

As you must’ve noticed, blockchain developers have many responsibilities. To handle those responsibilities well, they need to possess a few skills as well. There are certain blockchain developer skills one need to develop and master in order to become a successful. Here are the primary blockchain developer skills you should have to face and manage blockchain development. 

Cryptography

Cryptography is the study of protocols that prevent unwanted parties from accessing your data. There are many essential concepts in cryptography you should be familiar with as you’ll need them during blockchain development.

For example, public-key cryptography is a crucial topic of blockchain. It forms the basis for the transactions we make through cryptocurrencies.

To make transactions of cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to have a wallet and the key to that wallet. That key proves your ownership of the wallet, that’s why it’s essential. Save transactions of cryptocurrencies take place through encryption and decryption of public and private keys. 

Another essential concept of Cryptography is cryptographic hashing. Hashing refers to producing an output of a specific length from an input of any length. The hash function could have information with 20 characters or 200 characters, but its output would only be of the length you’ve chosen. 

Certainly, cryptography is vital for the proper workings of blockchain technology. You should learn about it and its various aspects, including the topics we’ve discussed here. With its knowledge, you’ll be able to keep your blockchain data safe. 

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Smart Contracts

Since the day Ethereum entered the market, smart contracts have become a popular term in the blockchain industry. Almost every blockchain solution wants to use smart contracts for their benefit. So you can see how powerful this technology is. 

Smart contracts let two parties exchange goods or services without needing an intermediary. You can compare smart contracts with a vending machine. You put in the payment, choose the product you want, get the product along with the remaining change. There isn’t a third party involved in this transaction as it’s just you and the vending machine. 

Smart contracts finish only when the involved parties fulfill both of their conditions. It’s so effective because blockchain is decentralized. This means hundreds of users monitor your smart contract, and because they work on an IF-Then basis, there’s a possibility of error. 

You can use smart contracts in many areas of different industries, such as law, construction, and many others. It can remove the middlemen from contracts and help in saving money and resources. 

To become a blockchain developer, you should make yourself familiar with smart contracts. It is one of the essential blockchain developer skills. Multiple languages specifically focus on smart contract development, such as Chaincode and Viper. 

Data Structures

You’ll need to have extensive knowledge of data structures to become a blockchain developer. That’s because blockchain developers work with various data structures regularly as they have to build networks and implement them. 

The entire blockchain network is made up of data structures, as even a block is a type of data structure. A block clusters transactions for the public ledger because so it is a container data structure, whereas the public ledger is the blockchain. 

A block also contains a header, and the former is around 10,000x larger than the latter. As you can see, data structures are the fundamental concept of blockchain. You’ll need to master this topic to understand blockchain technology effectively. 

Learning about data structures will ensure that you know the basics of blockchain. Having a strong foundation helps you in understanding the advanced concepts more quickly. We’ve already mentioned cryptography; you’ll be using both of these technologies to build reliable, useful, and secure solutions. 

Also read, Blockchain career and its future growth 

Blockchain Architecture

To become a blockchain developer, you should be familiar with blockchain architecture. You should know what a ledger means in blockchain, what is consensus, and how smart contracts work. 

Blockchain architecture has three kinds; they are:

  • Consortium architecture

The consortium architecture isn’t wholly decentralized. Here, the members of a group have full authority. In these cases, the group is made up of multiple organizations. The Energy Web Foundation is a stellar example of such blockchain architecture types.

Consortium blockchains operate under the control of a group of predetermined organisations or entities rather than being fully decentralised. Participants must be granted admission to join the network. This architecture keeps the decision-making power in the hands of a select group while still taking advantage of blockchain’s benefits. It maintains privacy and allows for efficient transactions between the known group of participants, unlike public blockchains where anonymity prevails.

Consortium blockchains are well suited to specific use cases like cross-border payments between a fixed group of banks or supply chain tracking between business partners. By limiting decentralised control to a curated set of verified nodes, consortium blockchains can balance the decentralisation of public networks with the centralisation of private networks.

  • Private architecture

In a private blockchain architecture, only a few people are part of the system. It’s a popular application within organizations. Sawtooth and Fabric are famous examples of such architecture. Another essential quality of such architecture is that they are not decentralized.

Private blockchains operate within a single organisation where network participation and consensus are controlled by one entity. They differ from public blockchains, which have open, permissionless networks. The central authority restricts user access and mining/validation abilities. Private blockchains provide organisations with the benefits of blockchain technology, like immutability and cryptographic security, while retaining greater control over network rules.

They are well-suited for regulated environments or use cases involving sensitive data. Private crypto wallet development can execute transactions faster without needing distributed consensus since a central authority approves all blockchain updates. However, they are less resistant to tampering or manipulation since their decentralised nature provides robust protection on public blockchains. Private blockchains allow centralised entities to reap blockchain advantages in a closed ecosystem with trade offs around full decentralisation.

  • Public architecture

Public architecture is the most decentralized type of blockchain architecture. Here, you can become a part of the network by mining or by making transactions. The most famous example of public blockchain architecture is Bitcoin, which you must’ve heard of by now. 

You should read the whitepaper of bitcoin on blockchain to become familiar with this topic. It requires a little effort, but be sure that it’s worth it because you’ll get familiar with all the fundamentals and the advanced concepts altogether. 

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Web Development

As a blockchain developer, you’ll be developing web apps in most cases. Learning web development will make you acquainted with all of its aspects, and you can use this knowledge to create robust web apps that use blockchain technology.

You’ll have to learn web design, development, and programming of apps, all of which will help you in developing better Dapps. Web development is crucial because most organizations require blockchain developers to create apps that people with no or minimal knowledge of blockchain could use. Having a vast experience of design will help you considerably in this purpose.

Strong web development or blockchain developer skills are indispensable for blockchain developers building user-friendly decentralised applications. Frontend web development using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript enables crafting intuitive web interfaces that abstract the complexities of blockchain interactions. Familiarity with web programming languages like JavaScript and TypeScript allows integrating web apps with blockchain platforms through RPC APIs and client libraries.

Knowledge of backend web development and frameworks like Node.js facilitates the development of performant web services for blockchain applications. Following web design principles creates more accessible DApps for all users. Since DApps rely on web technologies for the front and back end, proficient web development capabilities are vital for blockchain programmers to deliver complete solutions. Blending blockchain mechanisms with appealing and functional web apps is key.

 

Languages You Must Know

Blockchain development is vast. Apart from the topics we’ve discussed, you should also consider learning a few programming languages. A common question among beginners is, ‘What languages should I learn to become a blockchain developer?’ 

The following are the main languages you should learn as a part of your blockchain skills:

Java

Java is popular among blockchain developers because of many qualities. It’s easy to learn, but it’s capable of developing many complex solutions. NEM, a popular cryptocurrency is based on Java. Java has more than 9 million developers as a part of its community. Moreover, it’s been present in the industry since 1995. Even though Java is old, it is still crucial so mastering data is important for blockchain development.

Java is a foundational language for many blockchain platforms and applications due to its versatility, object-oriented nature, and vibrant development community. The capacity to write portable code that can run on any Java Virtual Machine makes it a practical choice for cross-platform blockchain solutions. Java enables complex cryptographic implementations required for blockchain, such as public/private key encryption and digital signatures.

Smart contract languages like Solidity have a syntax similar to Java, easing the learning curve. Java skills allow developers to contribute to blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger, build decentralised applications, create APIs, and handle back-end operations. Given Java’s maturity, stability and wide adoption, it will likely remain a mainstay language for blockchain development for the foreseeable future.

C++

C++ is a popular language among blockchain developers. You can perform a lot of tasks related to the blockchain with its help. The creators used C++ to create bitcoin core, so it’s certainly a must-have for any aspiring blockchain developer.

C++ is critical for blockchain development due to its speed, efficiency, and ability to interact with system resources directly. As an object-oriented language with low-level memory access, C++ enables performance-intensive blockchain capabilities like cryptographic functions, consensus algorithms, and peer-to-peer networking. Developers rely on C++ to implement the core nodes and mining software that underpin blockchain networks due to its processing power and minimal runtime overhead.

Projects like Bitcoin, Ethereum clients, Ripple, Stellar, IoTA, etc use C++ for the protocol implementations. C++ is also ubiquitous in building cross-platform blockchain applications and tools. Given its legacy usage for systems programming and in financial applications, mastering C++ unlocks the ability to contribute to core blockchain infrastructure and scale decentralised systems.

Python

Python is among the most popular programming languages on the planet. It’s versatile, and its various libraries enable you to use it for both front-end as well as back-end development. That’s why you should make yourself familiar with Python as well. 

Python has a significant community of more than 4 million developers. Such a thriving and supportive community can help you out with many problems and doubts.

Python is a critical language for blockchain development due to its readability, flexibility, and extensive libraries. As a high-level language, Python allows developers to prototype and iterate on blockchain applications rapidly. Python has libraries for essential blockchain capabilities like cryptocurrency APIs, smart contract deployment, and cryptographic key creation.

The simplicity of Python enables developers to build user-friendly interfaces and abstract complex blockchain interactions. Many developers leverage Python for back-end services and DevOps tasks as well. Python is commonly used in major blockchain platforms like Hyperledger and Ethereum. Python’s versatility, scalability and concise nature make it a pragmatic choice for all blockchain application development and tooling aspects.

You can also learn JavaScript, Ruby, and C#, along with the languages we’ve mentioned above. Ability to learn and work on multiple languages is one of the important blockchain developer skills. 

Learn Blockchain Developer Skills

Becoming a blockchain developer and get into blockchain development is quite easy. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can browse through our blog. 

We hope you liked our article on top blockchain developer skills. What do you think of blockchain skills? Out of the skills we’ve mentioned above, which one would you learn first? There is a rise in careers in blockchain development and blockchain has tremendously changed the very face of the technology industry forever. If you’re interested to become a blockchain developer and build smart contracts and chaincodes, checkout IIIT-B & upGrad’s Advanced Certificate Programme in Blockchain.

How long does it take to become a blockchain developer?

The time it takes to become a blockchain developer may vary depending on your level of experience and expertise. If you are a beginner, you will need training or education to develop the necessary skill set. It all depends on whether you want to master it or learn the basics. With this in mind, you will likely need to invest at least a few months (if not longer) in becoming proficient in blockchain development. But if you want to become a master, it may take you as much as three years to internalize all the knowledge.

Is it possible to become a blockchain developer without a formal degree?

It is possible to become a blockchain developer without a formal degree. Many resources are available online to teach you the basics of blockchain development. Learning the required skills will enable you to become a developer, but already being adept with the programming languages will save you a lot of time. It is essential to note that blockchain development is a complex field, and it may be challenging to learn everything you need on your own. While it is not completely necessary, a formal degree in computer science or a related field may help you become a successful blockchain developer.

Is learning Blockchain worth it?

Blockchain has infinite potential. It is a relatively new field, so the awareness is still spreading. With this field's high potential and growth rate, more and more job opportunities are rising. Many well-known companies hire blockchain developers. Learning these skills right now is the best choice you can make. When the market completely internalizes blockchain, you will already be ahead of the competition.

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