The use of blockchain, a type of electronic ledger, is expanding at a surprising rate. But because it is so new, there is a huge shortage of people with the skills and experience needed to intervene in jobs that require it.
For the 12 months ended in August 2018, Stack Overflow, an online developer community, saw an increase of over 500 percent in blockchain job offers compared to the previous year, said Sean Bave, general manager and vice president of the New York City community.
The freelance blockchain talent market was also warm white. In the first two quarters of 2018, blockchain was the fastest growing skill in the Upwork database. The annual growth of publications exceeded 2000% in each of the four quarters ended on 30 June.
"Talent is not available today," said Raghav Singh, director of reporting and analysis with Korn Ferry, a management consulting firm based in Los Angeles. "They are extremely in demand."
Blockchain technology allows many users to share a database. Create an unalterable record of transactions. Each transaction is called a block. The data is on servers connected to each other like a chain. A transaction must be authenticated through the network before it can be entered.
Large financial institutions use the blockchain to preserve the integrity and privacy of transactions. The technology allows companies to track shipping containers around the world and allows supermarket chains to monitor every phase of food movement from farms to shelves.
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There is no shortage of clamor around the blockchain.
"It's the new 21st century cloud," said Rich Pearson, senior vice president of marketing for Upwork, based in Mountain View, California. "Sometimes the hype is real – Blockchain is a technology that is here to stay."
"We compare it to the next Internet," said Kian Salehizadeh, senior analyst at Reality Shares, a wealth management company based in San Diego.
In addition to Internet and software services, according to Pearson there is a significant demand for blockchain experts in biotechnology, professional services and telecommunications.
Blockchain on the radar or for human resources professionals, because it can help recruiters to verify candidates' credentials and perform background checks. Furthermore, it can be applied to contracts and payments to people in the growing economy.
Organizations are offering high salaries to blockchain developers, typically around $ 140,000. In the consulting space, "People are reloading upwards of $ 250 an hour," said Salehizadeh.
It is still unclear whether the shortage of blockchain workers is affected by the Trump administration restrictions on qualified immigration. "This could cause some problems, especially from the developer side," said Salehizadeh
Applying Blockchain to the business
Only knowing blockchain is not enough to satisfy some employers. Knowing how to apply the technology to the business line of the organization is essential.
"It is such a new field that companies will hire someone who can train to adapt to the role," said Salehizadeh. He added that when blockchain roles are defined more clearly and workers improve their blockchain skills, companies could use less consultants and freelancers and rely more on full-time employees. He predicts that the blockchain will have an impact on all sectors of the economy.
Martha Gimbel, director of economic research at the factoring laboratory, which provides insights into the global labor market, is not convinced that the blockchain deserves exaggeration. "It's too early to know," he said. "He's young, he's evolving, we'll see what happens."
Gimbel, based in Washington, noted that some companies that have experienced success by implementing blockchains are starting to offer it to other companies in a software-as-a-service-like model.
In mid-2018, blockchain job opportunities were concentrated in large organizations such as IBM and Microsoft. "People who gain experience in this type of technology will work in larger companies," said Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analysis for Sierra-Cedar, an IT services company. "They will learn that technology from a large company and move into a smaller company, but we have not yet arrived."
However, Singh said, "It will be a very hot technology for a very long time."
Steve Bates is a freelance writer in the Washington, DC area.