Blockchain technology is destined to revolutionize the way we do digital transactions in the future. Blockchain’s bulletproof, like security, has captivated the attention of many sectors of businesses as well as governments. Envisaging the future potential of blockchain, it makes a lot of sense to get “some action” with the dynamic new technology and think about becoming a blockchain developer. Once the scope of becoming a blockchain developer was minimal but, with the introduction of “Ethereum”, the game has completely changed. Thanks to Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is an open software platform, where you can build your decentralized application. It has its own cryptocurrency known as “ether”. Don’t worry; it’s quite easy to get the hang of it.
What does a blockchain developer do?
Before discussing what a blockchain developer does let’s look at the two different types of Blockchain developers; Core blockchain developer and Software blockchain developer. Okay, so now imagine you have to design and build a security system for the proposed blockchain network- here a core blockchain developer comes into the picture. Now, the architecture and the different protocols of the blockchain is designed; Blockchain software developer will use the established structure to build the decentralized apps or Dapps. So, the backend development of blockchain or writing and developing the smart contract will be the responsibility of a blockchain software developer.
“A developer responsible for developing and optimizing blockchain protocols, crafting the architecture of blockchain systems, developing smart contracts and web apps using blockchain technology are commonly called blockchain developers”
How long does it take to become a blockchain developer?
Like learning any other skill, understanding and mastering the know-how of blockchain technology is subjective to a person’s attitude and dedication. Since blockchain is in a budding stage right now, it is new to everyone. What it does is it creates a level fair playing field for everyone who is interested in mastering the skill.
To become a blockchain developer one needs to be excited and conscious enough to stay updated on the latest upgrades in the technology. And if you’re someone from a computer science background and already have a hang of traditional programming languages like Python and C++, then Ethereum’s coding language will come naturally to you. If you’re willing to put in the hours every week, I recommend you to join “Build a blockchain and a Cryptocurrency from scratch” by David Joseph. Blockchain developers who are eager, agile, and are knowledgeable about the crypto programming language will have the distinct advantage of equipping a skill that will revolutionalize the world.
Step-By-Step Guide For People Without a Programming Background
If you’re someone, who is from a non-technical background, to be honest, they are going to be some obstacles you need to overcome. However, don’t get tensed, with a little extra work and dedication you’ll be able to build a strong foundation. Firstly, you have to understand why is there of blockchain in the first place.
The story of blockchain as most of you might know comes from bitcoin. Blockchain was a platform designed for Bitcoin. So an aspiring blockchain developer must have to get comfortable with the basics of cryptocurrency. Don’t worry by the end of this guide you’ll become quite comfy with the blockchain technology.
- Take some blockchain development courses: If you want to get up to speed with the marketable skills, there is no more effective way than taking accredited courses online.
Getting acquainted with the basic terms used within blockchain
Blockchain is a complex web for the uninitiated. The jargon and terms used within cryptocurrencies shall not be a valuable asset here. Let us attempt to familiarize you with the Blockchain lingo:
- Decentralized– Decentralization in blockchains is a process of distributing and taking away the power from a central authority. Most of the financial institutions right now are centralized, meaning, there exists a single higher authority in charge that plays the role of maintaining the institution. Decentralizing it would mean taking away the authority from a single or group of individuals and giving no third party sufficient power to alter the networking.
- Ethereum– Ethereum is an open-source platform launched in 2015, it’s a blockchain-based platform that allows the user to create smart contracts and Dapps that runs without any interference from the third-party.
- Ether– Ethereum miners just like bitcoin miners, create a reward for themselves by complex computations being performed on the blockchain network. Cryptocurrency generated by Ethereum miners is known as Ether.
- Smart Contracts- Smart contracts are the codes that are written by programmers on a blockchain that is executed automatically when the preconditioned terms are met.
- Dapps– Now, since you have a little understanding of smart contracts and solidity, Dapp is the decentralized applications you create using smart contracts that are mostly written in Solidity programming language. Still confused? Don’t worry we’ll go in some-depth to help you grasp at least the basics of how a blockchain development happens.
A successful pathway to becoming a blockchain developer
If you’re coming from a different development platform, and are just getting into blockchain technology, you have got to know where to start. So, if you’re in that position, the first thing I would suggest you do is to get comfortable using blockchain technology before you go on trying to build it.
And the best way to do this is just to participate in the most popular blockchain use case right now, which is Cryptocurrency. You can get started with just learning about how to buy cryptocurrency, send it, receive it and sell it. This process is pretty simple, and it’s a very effective way to get comfortable with the technology.
Building the Basics of Ethereum Blockchain
Ethereum was first proposed in late 2013 and then brought to life in 2014 by Vitalik Buterin, who at the time was a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. Etherium is a ‘Do it yourself’ platform for creating decentralized programs, also known as Dapps– decentralized apps. If you want to create decentralized applications that no single person controls, not even you even though you wrote it, then all you have to do is learn the Ethereum programming knowledge called solidity and then you begin coding.
Once a program is deployed to the Ethereum blockchain, these computers, known as nodes, will make sure it executes the codes exactly as it is written. So, Ethereum is the infrastructure of running Dapps worldwide. It’s not a currency, but it is a platform. The currency used to bolster Ethereum’s network is Ether. “Ethereum allows people to connect directly with each other without a central authority to take care of things.” So imagine, people able to rent Hardrive space directly to someone else anywhere around the globe and make dropbox obsolete. Blockchain developers all around the globe are learning solidity to create decentralized applications for the real world. Ethereum’s goal is to decentralize the internet entirely.
How can Ethereum be used for developing a decentralized application
Ethereum’s coding language solidity is used to write “smart contract”, which is the logic that runs Dapps. So, Ethereum developers work on creating code for their Dapp, and then the Ethereum network executes the code. They are known as smart contracts because they deal with all of the aspects of the agreement; enforcement, management, performance as wells as payments. Although there is one crucial thing to be noted, once a smart contract is deployed on the Ethereum network, it cannot be edited or corrected, even though it is you who have designed it!
Therefore, Ethereum was launched with the idea that “code is law.” That is, a smart contract written on Ethereum is the ultimate authority, and nobody can overrule the contract. So, to sum it all up, Ethereum is a large bunch of computers working together like one supercomputer to execute code that powers up Dapps. However, this costs money; money to get the machines, to power them up, store them, and cool them if needed. That’s why Ether was created.
Hence, when people are discussing the price of Ethereum, they are actually referring to Ether- “the currency that incentivizes people to run the Ethereum code on their network.” This is very similar to the way bitcoin miners get paid for maintaining the bitcoin blockchain network. In order to deploy a smart contract to the Ethereum platform, its inventor must pay to do so. And, that payment is made in the form of ether.
How to deploy smart contracts on Ethereum
Firstly, different Ethereum wallets have distinct features, for example, some Ethereum wallets will only allow you to transfer value or send Ether between accounts just like bitcoin. Other wallets will allow you to deploy a smart contract. Similar to bitcoin, wallets are sometimes referred to as nodes or clients. Right now, there are two types of clients; full clients and light clients; we don’t need to discuss light clients. Currently, there are three popular full clients to help you run Ethereum blockchain.
The first one is Geth, which is short for Go Ethereum, developed by the Ethereum foundation. Geth is the most popular and widely used program, which works as a node and allows users to mine Ether and create decentralized applications that run on the EVM- Ethereum Virtual Machine.
The second is Mist, which is designed mostly for non-technical users to interact with it. Mist provides you a platform that is more user-friendly and easy to interact with.
Lastly, there is Parity, which is a private company based in London. Parity’s mission is to allow businesses and organizations to capitalize on blockchain technology. They have developed software to run full nodes on Ethereum. So, before diving into writing smart contracts in Solidity, one needs to decide which program do you want to work on for creating decentralized applications.
Learning Solidity to write smart contracts
It supports a lot of features like inheritance, libraries, and complex user-defined data. Since now you understand what solidity is, let’s differentiate it with smart contracts.
While Dapp is based on smart contracts, solidity is the primary programming language used for writing smart contracts. Smart contract is a code you write that runs automatically once it is uploaded on the Ethereum network. So, once you deploy the code on the Ethereum blockchain, the system will run automatically and no third-party has the control.
If you want to learn solidity, I would recommend you to read thoroughly the official solidity documentation, for it is the most complete guide out there. There are people who try a different approach by learning solidity with CryptoZombies, it’s a fun game developed to teach the basics of Solidity by introducing zombies in a smart contract. Yeah, you read it right! If you’re interested go check out the game.
Developing a Dapp
Once you understand the essential and most important aspects of Solidity, it’s now the time to apply this theoretical knowledge to build a Dapp. Before you put your game face on, you need to understand how a Dapp works. Just as any developer can build apps for the play store on the Android or Apple IOS operating system, blockchain developers can also build applications on top of Ethereum blockchain infrastructure.
Dapp’s front-end and user interface can be written in any language that can make calls to its back-end. Its back-end code runs on a decentralized peer-to-peer network like Ethereum and all records of the application’s operations are stored on a blockchain. In most cases,the entire code is open source, this means other people can access the code and build on top of it. However, no one person owns the application, meaning they can be improved and built on top of by anyone in the community.
Running the blockchain also offers added security benefits since the transactions are distributed and encrypted across the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, there is no central place for a hacker to breach, and gain access. Some famous Dapps right now are Chainlink, EOS dynasty, Chainyard, etc.
How much does a Blockchain developer earn
Blockchain developers are currently high in demand in the market. There is a rapid increase in the urgent openings for blockchain developers in the country right now. A blockchain developer in a lot of sense is like a software developer who works on blockchain technology. They require knowledge about bitcoin protocols and are responsible for the cycles of blockchain applications, researching, and working on the execution of the application.
Other job duties may include creating a security and firewall system to protect from cyber-attacks. According to data from job platform site Indeed, there is a high demand for blockchain professionals in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai. Moreover, the MD of Indeed, Sashi Kumar, stated that the global market for blockchain services would reach $7.7 billion by 2022!