If you want to gauge interest in an emerging technology, try checking the help wanted ads.
Take cloud: Today, you’ll find tens of thousands of cloud-related job openings. A decade ago? Not so much. Ditto with DevOps jobs: Try a search for “DevOps engineer” on any major jobs site and you’ll see what we mean.
Job-related numbers for blockchain, on the other hand, reflect that we’re much earlier in the adoption curve, especially in larger, established businesses. This also fits with the general sentiment that, while there’s plenty of buzz around blockchain and some compelling early use cases, CIOs aren’t necessarily stampeding toward significant blockchain adoption in their organizations.
[ Where is blockchain making tangible progress? See our related story: Blockchain in action: 5 interesting examples. ]
Checking in on the blockchain-related job market also reveals a story of scarcity: Not so much of the jobs themselves, which seem likely to grow in number in the coming months and years, but in talent. For example, one firm’s data (which you’ll find below) indicates that employers looking to hire blockchain talent are more likely to consider a remote-working arrangement than other companies, a sign of the flexibility necessary to get people on board.
Freelance hiring for blockchain skills is also booming, according to Upwork – we’ll dig into their numbers below, too. The company wrote in a recent press release: “Blockchain is on pace to be the new ‘Cloud’ of the 21st Century.” That’s a pretty bold claim, given the massive (and still growing) role cloud plays in IT. It’s much earlier days for blockchain in the enterprise.
Blockchain-related jobs do exist, but in much smaller numbers than cloud or other major categories. Let’s dig into 11 stats (and then some) – all of which were current as of this writing – as a measure of the overall state of blockchain jobs and blockchain projects in the enterprise.
Top 6 blockchain job categories: As an indicator of where most of the current blockchain-related hiring is happening, consider the top six job categories on the Coindesk site based on the number of open listings: Infrastructure (152), Professional Services (67), Trading & Tools (61), Consulting Firms (54), Financial Services & Products (51), and Payments 2.0 (46). (Note: The numbers here reflect that jobs can be cross-listed in different categories, which is why they add up to exceed the total of 372 jobs.)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the finance and payments side of blockchain – most evident in the fever pitch around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – dominates, as does the need for the underlying infrastructure necessary for blockchain applications.
So does, too, the apparently budding ecosystem of cottage industries around blockchain, such as consulting firms.
12: The number of jobs posted in the Enterprise Blockchain Platforms category on the Coindesk Career Center.
$120,000-$160,000: The salary range for one of those enterprise positions, a product architect / full-stack React developer at the supply chain startup Skuchain. Interesting note: The company is also advertising a DevOps engineer position at the same pay scale.
$250,000: The top end of the annual salary range (which begins at $90,000) for a blockchain research scientist position at San Francisco-based SeeleTech. The figure (and wide range) seems to reflect the wish-list for the position, which notes preferences for someone with a Ph.D. and research experience not only in blockchain but also in A.I. and algorithms and programming ability in at least one language. Cryptography experience and prior scientific publications are listed as “a plus.” Oh, and if you’ve been camped inside of a university lab for the last seven developing this combination of research and technical abilities, you might also want to note: They seek someone with good communication skills.
9,577: The number of positions returned for a worldwide search for the keyword “blockchain” on LinkedIn’s jobs search tool. That number shrinks to 2,019 when you search “blockchain engineer." It skyrockets to 39,810 if you search “blockchain developer,” but don’t let that fool you: The results include thousands of developer positions that aren’t actually blockchain-focused.
37 percent of jobs at blockchain-related companies are remote-friendly, compared to roughly 15 percent at other companies, according to data from AngelList. The site specializes in jobs at tech startups as well as connecting angel investors with startups seeking funding. That’s a likely indicator of a lack of qualified talent.
#1 in-demand skill: Blockchain skills rank number one on freelance hiring site Upwork’s list of the fastest-growing skills in demand in Q1 of 2018; that’s out of more than 5,000 skill categories on the site.
6,000 percent: The year-over-year growth in demand for blockchain skills on Upwork, according to the company, which also notes that the category had grown more than 2,000 percent per quarter for three straight quarters as of Q1 2018.
23 percent: The percentage of 293 CIOs, according to a recent Gartner survey, who were either already investing in a blockchain project (or in the near-term planning stage of launching an initiative,) who said that among tech categories, blockchain requires the most new skills to implement.
18 percent: The percentage of CIOs in the same Gartner survey that said blockchain skills are the hardest to find of any technology. Interestingly, 13 percent also said a blockchain implementation would require changing the very structure of IT department.
[ Read also: How to tell when moving to blockchain is a bad idea. ]
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