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Software Engineers: The move from traditional finance to crypto/blockchain.

In response to COVID-19, the FinTech industry was forced to evolve and adapt. The financial landscape changed overnight putting the industry into overdrive, and as a result of its’ innovative resilience, the FinTech space is currently booming.

There has been a flood of investment, capital, and acquisitions in the FinTech space, resulting in astronomical growth. Capital Markets, E-Trading, Data & Analytics, SaaS, Payments, and Blockchain are all areas that have experienced growth, especially within Blockchain/Crypto.

Investors injected $30bn into blockchain and crypto start-ups (according to PitchBook data) and as a result of the catalyst in funding, there has been a massive surge in demand for hiring.

According to research by LinkedIn News, the posting of crypto/blockchain-related jobs with titles containing words such as ‘Blockchain’, ‘Ethereum’, ‘Bitcoin’, and ‘Cryptocurrency’ climbed by around 400% in 2022. Interestingly, when looking at the wider tech space, it only experienced a growth of 98% in 2022. The difference is astronomical!

Many organisations have predominantly focused on engineering roles. According to LinkedIn and 101 Blockchain, titles such as ‘Blockchain Engineer’, and ‘Blockchain Developer’ account for almost 15.6% of all crypto job postings.

Calyptus (a blockchain ed-tech firm) shared that the starting salary for the average blockchain developer is 87% higher than a web developer meaning engineers can walk out of their university lecture halls and into a Blockchain Developer role expecting a starting salary of £60,000.

So, a question I am frequently asked is; How do I get in this space and/or why are people moving from traditional finance to crypto?

Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned engineer, these pointers can apply to all:

  • Read Ethereum documents (to get familiar with specific buzzwords, and further understand the space better)
  • Check out Dapps and learn the ecosystem involved to create a successful application
  • Learn new languages like Rust, Kotlin, and Go lang (and understand why they are useful for blockchain development)
  • Learn the basics of Solidity, and further dive into smart contracts and how they work
  • Try building an application on local Eth environments like Hardhat or Truffle as well as client-side libraries that interact with blockchains like Ether.js or Web3.js

However, I think it’s imperative to mention that although extra learning is important, many of your current skills are transferable. For example:

  • Communication
  • Clean code
  • Working with modern versions of OOP (Java, C#, C++)
  • Working with real-time cloud-based low-latency systems.
  • Team player

Whether you’re a crypto expert or a novice, I’m sure we can all agree that the market has become extremely volatile, but why?

There’s no official or definitive answer, but cryptocurrency is volatile by nature. As crypto generates no cash flow, traders must rely on changes in sentiment to drive the price. That means that the market can swing from rabid optimism, as it did in early 2021, to pessimistic despair, as it did a few months later.

Typically speaking, there are three main factors that contribute to volatility:

  • Rapid news cycles incite individuals to move in and out of trades quickly
  • Increased entry of institutional investors (desire for long-term value, unlike fiat money, cryptocurrency has a limited supply capped by mathematical algorithms)
  • The emergence of derivatives markets (There are a variety of blockchain-enabled cryptocurrency derivatives, including synthetic cryptocurrencies and bitcoin futures, which represent agreements to trade bitcoin at a future date at a predetermined price)

With all of the uncertainty present in today’s crypto market, why are we seeing more and more candidates move into this space?

  • The fascination of crypto/blockchain industry (Pure innovation due to the space consistently evolving)
  • Huge investments which some will say is a ‘bubble’
  • More flexibility in a workplace due to start-ups finding new ways to attract talent.
  • Tokens as equity options and inflation in salaries
  • Competing with the likes of some of the biggest players in the FinTech industry, including tech giants like FAANG

If you’re interested in learning more and would like a conversation on this topic, then I’d love to hear from you.

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