Blockchain technology is only a decade old but has made tremendous disruptions comparable to the Wide World Web in the 90s. Blockchain technology carries the potential to change the way transactions are conducted and records stored by eliminating intermediaries and delivering utmost ease, transparency, and accessibility of transactions
. It offers a safe, secure, and fast platform that is not regulated by any central governing authority, for transactions and storage of records. Early adopters of the technology like the financial, healthcare, supply chain, and real estate industries are already reaping from the benefits that this emerging technology has to offer.
At the same time, several job roles have come up with continuing development in the blockchain technology field including blockchain developer, blockchain data scientist, blockchain project manager, and blockchain UX designer among others. Currently, blockchain-related skills are some of the most sought-after in the field of technology. Therefore, whether one wishes to upskill or launch a career in blockchain, it makes sense to consider undertaking a blockchain course.
Blockchain is the technology underpinning bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As the name suggests, it is a chain of blocks containing digital transactional records saved on a peer-to-peer network of computers.
With every verified transaction, a digital record is added to a block. As the records grow, new blocks are joined to the previous ones by a cryptographic hash function. Thus each block contains a hash function that links the previous, timestamp and the digital information contained within it.
Once records are verified and stamped, they are viewable by the public and cannot be altered. The blocks of digital information are organized in such a way that while they are viewable publicly, they are immutable which is by far the greatest advantage associated with blockchain technology.
Another essential feature of blockchain technology is decentralization. In a blockchain network, records are not stored in a central location to mean that control of operations from a single point is eliminated.
Information is stored across a distributed network of computers all of which are programmed to automatically update any addition of a new block into the network. Where human involvement is limited, compromising records becomes difficult.
Does blockchain require coding?
Several roles have been created in the blockchain field including administrative, development, legal, and other roles. Depending on the role that a professional intends to pursue, coding skills may or may not be a requirement. For the professionals who intend to pursue a blockchain developer role, coding skills will be necessary before undertaking a blockchain course.
As a blockchain developer, one can either pursue the blockchain developer or DApp developer roles. The role of a blockchain developer is to develop and implement secure blockchain solutions.
DApp developers, on the other hand, develop blockchain-powered applications. All these systems and applications facilitate and secure digital transactions. As a general rule, any role requiring the development of systems, applications, or features requires a programming background.
Blockchain programming languages
For developers intending to get into the blockchain field, it is essential for them to have hands-on knowledge of the programming languages that are used for blockchain systems and application development.
First things first, bitcoin is written in the C++ language while Ethereum source code is written in C++, Rust, and Go languages. However, other languages and frameworks can be used to develop blockchain-powered solutions.
- Solidity is one of the most popular languages particularly among Ethereum developers and is used for writing smart contracts that run on Ethereum Virtual Machine. Solidity was developed by Ethereum.
- Go, also commonly known as Golang, was developed by Google and is mostly used when creating smart contracts on Hyperledger Fabric.
- Java has been used widely to develop popular blockchains like Ethereum IOTA, and Hyperledger Fabric.
- C# used to develop portable code that will run across multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. It is an OOPs language for developing high-performance blockchain and has been used for projects such as Stratis.
- Vyper, the new blockchain language derived from Python 3, is already gaining traction as an alternative to Solidity for writing smart contracts on the Ethereum platform.
- Kotlin when working with Corda distributed ledger platform
Popularly used libraries include:
- BitcoinJ which is the Java Bitcoin library
- PyBitcoin tools which is the Python Bitcoin library
- EthereumJ which is the Java Ethereum library
- Pyethereum which is the Python Ethereum library
Core blockchain skills
Blockchain ranks high among the highly demanded technology skills of the 20th century. According to Glassdoor, the demand for blockchain skills rose up 300% in 2019 compared with the previous year.
In addition to learning to code with the above languages, particularly Solidity which has become the standard in blockchain, possessing the following skills will build a professional’s competency in blockchain technology.
- Distributed systems and networking
- Data structures
- Knowledge of programming languages like C++, C-Sharp, C, Scala, Java, and Python
- Smart contracts
- Decentralized applications (DApps)
- Blockchain security including concepts like elliptic curve, digital signatures, cryptographic hashing, Merkle proofs, and private keys
Blockchain technology offers three key benefits which are high performance, high-level security, and greater transparency. The demand for blockchain developers remains high with businesses initiating more blockchain projects to leverage its benefits.
While it is important to develop competency in programming, it is equally important to build other blockchain skills to be able to execute blockchain projects effectively.