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Blockchain skills on demand
Blockchain technology is on the rise. Some might presume Bitcoin is the reason behind it. While it was developed for the digital currency, developers are finding other uses of blockchain technology. Most prominently is the open source project Ethereum. The use of Ethereum has brought about smart contracts, which have proven to be quite functional within the financial industry. With its decentralized structure, blockchain technology could be a paradigm shift with vast boundaries.

While that is all well and good, are there companies behind it? Does it deserve the hype that has been bestowed upon it? Ultimately, are developers within the blockchain technology spectrum in demand? The simple answer is yes. Not in any mind-boggling numbers, but the rise is worth taking note of.

When we started accumulating numbers from FLOSS related job postings, the search for “blockchain technology” had 0 search results quarter after quarter. We got our first results back in late 2015. For most of 2016, the results were still miniscule. But, beginning at the start of this year, we have seen incremental strengthening of the results each and every quarter. Albeit low in comparison to more household named open source derived languages or technologies, blockchain technology is something to keep your eye on. Search results are up 150% in this area over the last 6 months, and it is showing no signs of letting up.
When reading up on blockchain technology, from the individuals heavily involved in the technology, 2017 seems to be a pivotal year. Some of the startups, such as BitPesa,Storj or OpenBazaar, that are funded by notable venture capitalists, should start showing some traction for the remainder of this year and heading into 2018. And, these startups are being formed in a cross section of industries, from financial institutions to healthcare to consumer products. In 2016 alone, over $1.4 billion dollars was invested in startups that considered blockchain technology part of their core competency.

For the developers interested in getting a start in this emerging technology, what kind of skill set should one possess? As with a lot of things in life, the answer is it depends. For instance, solidity experience is essential to ones ability to write smart contracts for Ethereum. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being done primarily in C++. Outside of that, one can witness developers using Java, Ruby, Python, etc. Therefore, if you have expertise in a particular language, it would probably just take a simple search to find an area within blockchain technology that could utilize your skills.

As with a lot of emerging technologies, they are always filled with a lot of unknowns. And, this time is no different. In today's world, there is heavy reliance on numbers telling us the story. Statistics is king. If that is indeed the case, then the numbers are telling us that blockchain technology is without question on the rise. And, with this P2P technology permeating other industries outside of the crypto currency world, there appears to be a strong argument that it has staying power. Only time will tell, but the outlook is bright at the moment.

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