We are in the midst of a bitcoin gold rush: Jobs related to the cryptocurrency have soared in 2017, as its value hit record highs.
Job site Freelancer said cryptocurrencies have been one of the fastest growing online jobs this year, with 82% growth in the last three months alone. Cryptography, the practice of code breaking central to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has also seen a 59% increase in interest on the site in the third quarter.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies run on the blockchain, a decentralized technology that creates a public ledger using a crowd-sourced system of computers. The value of bitcoin jumped from $969 in early 2016 and now hovers around the $7,000 mark, stoking interest from Wall Street and big banks. In addition to currencies, smart contracts and other non-financial services can run on the blockchain, leading to a jump in start ups in the realm.
Companies are even searching en masse for qualified developers near blockchain conferences, according to Twitter reports, promising salaries of more than $250,000 per year.
So how do you cash in on this trend? Here are some tips from experts in the field:
Brush up on the basics
Not every blockchain-related job requires a comprehensive understanding of the technology, said David Johnson, CEO and Founder of Latium a tasking platform based on a cryptocurrency.
“There aren’t a lot of people who have the specific skills needed, so they’ll have to hire people who can be trained,” Johnson said. Most of these companies also need people in marketing, human resources, and communications, he said, “just like any other business would have.”
Brush up on specialized skills
Still, being aware of the basics is helpful, said Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for non-profit bitcoin advocacy group Coin Center. “Appreciation of the both the fundamentals and larger vision for these technologies is something I would be looking for in my hiring,” he said. “That already eliminates most eligible candidates.”
“Exposure to this is not that hard,” he said. “There are thousands of websites out there, and it will really give them an edge if they can actually explain what blockchain technology is — most people can’t.”
An extra edge would also be given to job seekers who understand initial coin offerings, a method of capital raising in which a new virtual coin is put up for public sale, said Tim Keough — founder and CEO of WythMe, a bar and restaurant platform with a blockchain-based payment network. Knowing about Ethereum, another blockchain-based system, and how to write smart contracts is another skill worth sharpening for the job search.
Seek out the right job listings
Although the number of jobs in cryptocurrencies is booming, there are few unified locations to find them, Johnson said. They are probably as secure as the cryptocurrency itself, for which the future is uncertain. (Billionaire Mark Cuban called it “more religion than asset.”)
Johnson suggested looking at specific bitcoin forums. They include v/bitcoin, The Cryptotrust Group on Facebook
and Bitcoin Talk both to keep up on what is happening in the industry and to find job listings. Reddit also has some very active bitcoin forums, including r/Bitcoin, r/bitcoinxt and r/CryptoCurrency.
Simply searching on Google for token sales and ICOs will bring up a number of startups in the blockchain space. Monster.com and LinkedIn are flooded with jobs, Johnson said, and suggests looking beyond them.
Traditional job-listing sites do not yet have the infrastructure for the specific needs of this booming field, Keough said. Being involved in the community creates more reliable and authentic means of networking and finding positions, he added.
“With a lot of the folks that have the experience we are looking for, there is no degree program or certification that is widely accepted, so a lot of it is through word of mouth and friends of friends,” Keough said. “We’ve had a lot of success that way.”