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The rise of crypto and blockchain companies

Posted on December 2021

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5 trends you need to know about

​The cryptocurrency/blockchain space has progressively grown to be one of the hottest spaces in the software engineering and technology industries due to its extremely disruptive potential. Over the last 5 years, venture capital invested in Crypto/Blockchain start-ups has grown aggressively, and in the last year here at Selby Jennings we have developed 30+ new crypto clients alone.

In 2021, we have witnessed a massive demand for engineering talent across the cryptocurrency industry. Some of the best engineers and researchers in the world have already joined the space, but there is still massive opportunity for further growth. Here are five key trends we’ve spotted across the space this year.

1. Flexible working is here to stay

Many keynote cryptocurrency/bitcoin firms believe in the ability to successfully work in a decentralized/distributed nature, meaning flexible, hybrid working is here to stay.

Work from home has taken the world by storm, out of necessity, but many of these firms see a future where this will be a staple. With that being said, it is less important for you to live in a certain location to get involved in the cryptocurrency/blockchain world. What is most important is your technical ability and passion to build something new. If you are interested in working in an office with one of the prominent firms in the space, you can look towards NYC, Miami, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley as major hot spots for jobs.

2. Traditional versus new technology

Many firms are still using traditional technologies like Java, C++, Python and JavaScript. Therefore, to professionally break into the space from a development vertical, you don’t need to have the deepest understanding of the different blockchain protocols and their underlying technologies (e.g.- Ethereum/ Solidity) - although, it certainly doesn’t hurt! All you really need is an intellectual curiosity in the sector and in the different solutions/products being created by adopting these revolutionary technologies. Many firms are still using traditional technologies like Java, C++, Python and JavaScript.

If you are interested in learning about new blockchain technologies, then you can look towards Ethereum as the main protocol to dive into. Ethereum’s main language is Solidity, an object-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts. Solidity is said to be similar to JavaScript, which is why many frontend and full-stack engineers may find it easier to make the transition.

Ethereum may be the most widely built upon blockchain at this time. However, many researchers and technologists in the industry believe that a multi-chain future is in store due to the different use cases and solutions provided. Another up-and-coming blockchain is Solana, which is said to solve the issues of speed and lower transaction fees that plague Ethereum. Solana is written in Rust which will be an important language for developers to know in order to get involved in the Solana ecosystem.

3. Microservices in the mix

From an IT infrastructure standpoint, the rise of crypto/blockchain firms has only accelerated the demand for top talent across Cloud DevOps and Reliability Engineering. While investment banks were among the first to take the plunge into the cloud; hedge funds, asset managers, and even systematic trading firms have recently followed suit as the world was forced into working remotely in 2020. By introducing new Crypto/Blockchain players into the mix, the competition over the already shallow talent pool has led to quicker and stronger offers than ever.

Some infrastructure candidates looking to reap the benefits of this shift in demand are expanding their knowledge of different microservices offered by each public cloud vendor (AWS, Azure, and GCP). Whether it be at a Crypto/Blockchain firm or in traditional finance, understanding how to then use existing container tools to host and deploy these microservices can help companies reduce operational costs while helping them scale out their environment. Familiarizing yourself with these necessary skills/tools becomes key to setting yourself apart as these firms push forward into the newest complexities of cloud tech.

For additional information around the challenges of getting quant talent in crypto, read our blog here.

4. Observability is king

One of the biggest SRE trends we’ve seen due to this push towards cloud is the notion of “observability” since traditional monitoring tools can’t keep up with the nuances and complexities introduced by these hybrid cloud environments. SRE teams have therefore begun to dedicate their efforts to building new sets of tools to better understand “why” and “where” breaks are occurring as opposed to just “when”. This year alone, 30% of enterprises who have implemented Cloud/Distributed System architectures are incorporating observability strategies for the upcoming years, which has increased by a factor of 3x since 2020.

As an SRE candidate, understanding the intricacies of the different cloud and container services can help individuals properly analyze logs using the variety of SIEM tools on the market. Adding Python development and automation skills into the mix can also help individuals build custom observability tools to help push production along. This push for observability will ultimately help developers better understand where code is failing, where to make improvements, and overall result in faster development cycles.

5. An astronomical uptick in jobs

As mentioned in every other trend point, demand for top talent is sky high. The cryptocurrency/blockchain realm is truly the next frontier, and we have seen massive upticks in hiring and interest from engineering candidates across the board in this realm. The space is only just over a decade old, so it is still fairly nascent. However, it is maturing at an incredible rate. If you are a software developer or infrastructure engineer, we will recommend that you look into the space.

With one of the most active markets in recent history, and talent in high demand across these sectors, having a talent partner is critical in the search for new career opportunities. Selby Jennings serves as a career partner, connecting candidates with opportunities in industry-leading organizations, and providing career advice through every step of the interview process.

Connect with the Selby Jennings team today to learn more about how we can help you navigate this hiring landscape.