Woman against a pink background holding binoculars, searching for blockchain engineers
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Looking for blockchain developers? Here’s where to find them

14 Jun 2018

Blockchain developers are becoming part of the talent gap that recruiters need to fill. Here, Karel Striegel talks about where recruiters can find this talent.

Data gathered by Blockchain.info shows that the total number of blockchain wallet users has experienced exponential growth since 2011.

2017 came to a close with 21m plus wallet users and, at this blistering pace, that number could reach 50m by the year’s end.

Blockchain companies fared quite well, too. According to Coinschedule, almost $3.9bn was raised across 210 different ICOs, blowing 2016’s numbers – $95m raised across 43 ICOs – right out of the water. Yet despite this astonishing growth, some projected that 2018 would be a lacklustre year for the hottest new method of fundraising.

Stefan Thomas, the chief technical officer at Ripple, called for the “death of the ICO token” in December 2017. Thomas commented: “I expect the exuberance around ICOs to fizzle in 2018. What’s more, I also expect regulators and authorities worldwide to come down hard on fraudulent ICOs in the new year.”

Thomas was right about a 2018 regulatory crackdown but if he thought this would slow down ICO and blockchain platform creation, he was dead wrong.

Already, more than $10bn has been raised this year through ICOs.

As a result of the ongoing boom in blockchain development, blockchain developers are in high demand. According to some reports, demand for blockchain-related talent has soared more than 35,000pc.

The demand has also caused an increase in the number of blockchain developers, though not all deserve a job. Unfortunately, some companies have hired developers through freelance websites only to find that their new hires are lacking in skills and knowledge.

In response to these recent developments, several firms have launched freelance networks, beginning a blockchain initiative where companies can find the best freelance developers. It provides several competitive advantages over traditional hiring platforms and should be considered by blockchain developers and businesses alike.

Evaluating freelance networks

Mainstream websites and platforms are known for their ease of use and variety of services offered. Employers can search these sites for jobs in all industries, from freelance writing to website design to manual labour.

The problem, however, is that these websites don’t always do a good job of vetting employees. As a result, the work may not be high-quality or, at minimum, up to an employer’s expectations.

On the one hand, these sites provide a great entry-level opportunity for new workers. They can also help employers find top talent.

Yet on the other hand, the lack of specialisation and low barriers to entry sometimes hurt businesses. For an industry as complex and technical as blockchain development, this simply can’t happen. This is why recruiting top talent should be at or near the top of a blockchain company’s HR list.

Some hiring platforms specialise in connecting businesses with the best freelance software developers, designers and financial experts. By focusing in on a few industries, their teams can properly vet each applicant, rather than letting the average Joe sign up.

Each potential freelancer must fill out an application, rather than simply create a login and password. Because these programmes are in their beginning phase, some companies offer a ‘no risk trial’ – for the time being – where they only have to pay if they are satisfied with the work the contracted employees receive.

What’s more, several of these firms have the pedigree that hiring companies should look for when considering independent contractors and freelancers. Many have been reviewed favourably by stalwart business papers such as Bloomberg, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

World-renowned organisations such as JPMorgan Chase and the United Nations have hired freelancers from these platforms – though not necessarily for blockchain-related work.

Though this doesn’t guarantee the performance and capabilities of each candidate, businesses can rest assured that the pools they are searching in are adequate for the world’s most important entities.

Another key feature of these blockchain-focused initiatives is that they are specifically designed to meet the future demands of the industry. Though blockchain demand cannot be expected to continue to grow at these heights, demand will likely be strong for the foreseeable future.

In anticipation of this, teams are working on a blockchain academy and training programme so that aspiring developers can learn the skills they need to grow in the industry. Companies can rest assured that anyone who comes out of the programme will be the best of the best. Quality is an emphasis throughout the entire process.

One of the main downsides of these programmes is that it will cost companies a premium to hire top talent. This isn’t necessarily due to the platforms themselves, but rather is part of the nature of being in the blockchain industry.

In economic terms, it is the opportunity cost that businesses must consider when employing specialised, top-quality developers and designers. For some businesses, the freelancers’ prices might be too high and therefore not be worth the cost of capital.

They could get away with using a mid-tier developer found through traditional hiring platforms, without having to pay for a top-notch vetting process. At the end of the day, this is a choice each business must make.

By Karel Striegel

Karel Striegel is a certified Linux systems engineer with a strong background in DevOps. Recently, he co-founded FundRequest, a new blockchain platform built specifically for the funding, claiming and rewarding of open source contributions.

Updated, 10.22am, 14 June 2018: This article was amended to provide updated figures and clarify that more than $10bn has been raised so far this year through ICOs, according to Coinschedule.

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