Hiring Blockchain Developer Talent Is the New Industry Challenge

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We’re just over halfway through 2018 and already more than $6 billion has been raised through hundreds of ICOs. Alongside this, big firms are starting to explore the use of blockchain in areas such as financial services and the supply chain. Experienced blockchain developers are now in high demand–and recruiters hiring blockchain developer talent have their work cut out for them.

The war for blockchain talent is on. Here, we explain the extent of the problem and include some ideas for recruiters looking to attract the best minds in the industry.

Talent Wars for Blockchain Developers

Freelancing website Upwork maintains a Skills Index that ranks the top 20 fastest-growing skills. Upwork reports that blockchain as a skill grew by a mind-blowing 6,000% in the first three months of 2018 – impressive growth compared to the same period last year.

Upwork Quarterly Skills Index Q1 2018
Infographic from Upwork, showing their Q1 2018 Quarterly Skills Index

With such a high rate of skills growth, it would be easy to think that the market is flooded with blockchain talent. However, the same report says that demand for the top ten skills on the list also grew by more than 400%. At the same time, 53% of hiring managers reported access to skills as being their biggest hiring challenge.

Even a cursory search for “blockchain jobs” on LinkedIn shows that developer talent is in the highest demand. The average salary for blockchain developers in the US is around $130,000, and higher than that in tech hubs such as San Francisco or New York City.

But even this number is skewed by the fact that there are so many new entrants to the market–experienced developers can command far higher than that. In May, David Schwartz of Ripple Inc told the WSJ that he had seen one developer on his team receive two separate job offers that came with a cool $1 million signing bonus each.

Why Money Isn’t the Answer

Making ever-higher offers of salary and bonus packages may not help to attract the best talent in blockchain though. Many experienced blockchain developers have been in the game for a few years now and were early investors in crypto.

Additionally, many experienced developers are also working on their own blockchain projects. Let’s face it–if you were already swimming in cash generated from your own efforts, would you sign up for a life in the nine-to-five?

Hiring Blockchain Developer Talent – How to Find and Attract the Best

So, how should recruiters who are hiring blockchain developer talent go about it if advertising a hefty package isn’t going to pull in the best by itself?

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this, there are a few ways that companies and recruiters can still find the brightest minds in the blockchain world.

Finding Talent

Firstly, standard job ads are unlikely to work. People who are in demand for their skills do not spend time perusing job boards for potential opportunities. The best strategy for hiring blockchain developer talent involves going out there and finding it. There are a few places to look.

1. Blockchain Conferences and Networking Events

Meeting people face to face is the best way to create meaningful connections. There are now many events staged around crypto and blockchain, but the developer community will attend those which focus on tech rather than investment. A couple of good bets are the Blockchain Developer Conference or Consensus.

Blockchain developer conferences
Conferences and events are a great way to connect with blockchain developer talent

2. Ask for Referrals

Existing network connections can provide contacts and tips for finding the best developer talent. Make the most of social channels and any informal opportunities to let people know there are open positions for blockchain talents.

3. Use a Professional Blockchain Recruiter

Some recruiters are now starting to specialize in the niche of hiring blockchain developer talent. It will come with some cost, but it outsources the legwork of finding suitable candidates. Two examples are Blockchain Developers Inc and CryptoRecruit

4. Dive into the Online Communities

There are specific online channels that exist purely to hire blockchain developers. If there are candidates actively seeking work, they will be more likely to use these channels than any generic job ad platform. Blocktribe is one such example, and BountyOne is another.

5. Check out the Freelancing Sites

Freelancing platforms like Upwork or Toptal have a search functionality so that users can find candidates based on specific skills or experiences. This is a great option as well for hiring on a more flexible basis (see below why this is important).

Attracting Talent

When you’ve established a suitable talent pool, the next challenge is to make the offer attractive enough to get the right candidate through the door. Here are some ways that employers can generate interest in their blockchain roles. None of them involve resorting to offering wads of cash.

1. Be Flexible

Offers for remote working opportunities or flexible hours will likely result in more interest in the role. Blockchain engineers are not the most traditional of folk. Commuting to spend a rigid 40 hours per week at a desk will be likely to put off potential candidates. Hiring on a freelance basis may also offer a good compromise.

2. Stage a Hackathon

By nature, blockchain developers are problem solvers. Therefore, staging a hackathon is a great way to pull together a bunch of creative problem solvers. It also gives potential developer candidates some insights into the kinds of original problems that they would have the opportunity to solve.

Developer coding mug
Many developers love a good coding problem to solve with their morning cuppa

3. Offer Interesting Projects

It stands to reason that creative problem solvers would want some assurance that the projects in their new role will offer intellectual stimulation and have some impact on the world. If the project provides particular skills development or makes a tangible difference to a specific sector or group, make it known.

4. Build Great Teams

Smart people want to work with smart people. Joining a strong team of like-minded, knowledgeable people is an excellent selling point in attracting blockchain developer talent.

Challenge for Some, Opportunity for Others

Hiring blockchain developer talent continues to be a challenge for recruiters. But it creates huge opportunities for any coders and programmers looking for pastures new.

By taking courses in blockchain languages like Solidity, whole new career avenues will open. There are also plenty of other blockchain roles that are popping up onto the job market thanks to the current boom. Blockchain tech is proving its ability to serve many purposes right now, and job creation is certainly no exception.

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