The blockchain job market is booming. The Financial Times reported there were more than 1,000 blockchain-related job advertisements on LinkedIn last week, three times the number posted the same time last year. More than 9,945 LinkedIn profiles list “blockchain” as one of their professional skills. Another job hunting platform, Indeed, currently lists around 367 American blockchain job listings.
Mike Bodson, CEO of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., told CoinDesk in March a lack of qualified blockchain professionals is a huge obstacle, with 70 percent of his clients struggling to fill fintech positions. It appears demand only has grown in the past few months. “It is a hot market at the moment because most of the large corporations want to be able to say they have a blockchain team,” Z/Yen consultancy co-founder Michael Mainelli recently told the Financial Times.
The blockchain market continues gain economic value as it diversifies. One recent industry report estimated global revenue from enterprise blockchain applications will rise from $2.5 billion in 2016 to $19.9 billion by 2025. Blockchain technology is expected to spread from the world of cryptocurrency to industries such as cybersecurity, health care and government services from voting to recordkeeping, and even digital music sharing. CIO.com, an online magazine about the tech industry, listed blockchain among the new skills required for some of the “hottest jobs” in cloud computing.
There’s plenty of room for employees with blockchain skills to work outside of fintech although cryptocurrency is definitely the dominant use of blockchain right now. Several health care companies are already using blockchain systems. A diverse crop of social networking apps like Kik and entertainment industry startups have also followed suit.
Ujo Music, a Cape Town, South Africa, startup backed by Consensus Systems’ blockchain venture capital studio, aims to create what British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap called a “fair trade ” music industry. This system would use distributed ledger technology to help artists sell their work directly to fans and maintain control of the content itself. The goal is to help creative people make a living from their work without exploitation from traditional gatekeepers like record labels.
"We're also collaborating with a lot of similar startups in this space,” ConsenSys engineer Simon de la Rouviere told International Business Times. "If you solve the problems of the musicians, you can also solve the problems of other creators." Ujo Music plans to launch the new version of its platform in July. Rouviere said over 600 artists have signed up so far.
All things considered, it’s important to note there’s still a discrepancy between industry estimates and the real job opportunities. Many of the most influential blockchain companies are relatively small. For example, ConsenSys has 200 employees at most, both LinkedIn and AngelList say. TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans wrote there’s a high ratio of speculation compared to “actual value” in the blockchain marketplace. Companies like IBM dominate blockchain corporate recruiting. Yet IBM director of research Arvind Krishn told Fortune he thinks 90 percent of the firms now investing in blockchain will fail before this technology ever reaches mainstream audiences. It’s clear blockchain experts need to be flexible and learn a wide range of blockchain applications to keep up with the evolving job market.