Blockchain is an elusive technology. It is rife with protocols, terminologies that are hard to comprehend. If you’ve just started, this could be overwhelming as well. Consequently, how to become a developer for the technology gives a hard-time too. This post dissects roles and responsibilities of blockchan developers, for developers and tech enthusiasts who aim to get into blockchain development.
Before you get started, here is what you need to know first.
Who are blockchain developers?
Blockchain is a protocols-intensive technology. The useful of the blockchain technology is due to its consensus-driving protocols, which adds security, transparency, and other benefits that benefit a business. Blockchain developers manipulate to optimize consensus protocols, design architecture for blockchain systems, and build decentralized web apps.
The role of blockchain developers is further divided into --
- Core Blockchain Development
- Blockchain Software Development
Core Blockchain Development
Core blockchain development typically involves working with protocols and optimizing consensus protocols to as per the need of the required applications. As described earlier, consensus – how the network will arrive to a consensus – is the crux of building a blockchain-based application. How other high-level decisions will be made is the responsibility of these developers as well.
In a nutshell, the role of a core blockchain developer involves –
- Designing consensus and security protocols
- Designing network architecture and supervising the network
Blockchain Software Developers
These are primarily software developers who use the protocols and architecture designed by core blockchain developers to build decentralized apps using blockchain technology like Ethereum. Understanding how various blockchain technologies work and software development is crucial to excel in this role.
This is role is similar to web developers, where developers use web architect to build web applications. Similarly, blockchain developers build decentralized applications (D apps) by implementing protocols, design, and algorithms created by core blockchain developers.
In a nutshell, Blockchain Software Developers, are responsible for-
- Building front-end of D-apps
- Building and maintaining backend of the D-apps
- Develop smart contracts
Skills to become a blockchain developer
So what do you need to know to become a blockchain developer?
Blockchain development requires a blend of technical expertise. As you may imagine, fundamentals of software development are crucial in the mix of skills required to become a good blockchain developer.
Blockchain architecture – Cryptographic hash functions, distributed ledger technology, and cryptography should be at your fingertips. Understanding these terminologies is crucial to get the fundamentals of blockchain clear. Reading Bitcoin Whitepaper serves as a good point to get started and understand these terminologies and their function. Alternately, taking short-term courses and certifications for a blockchain engineer is helpful too.
Data structures – Understanding data structures is important in aspects of development. For blockchain, it is even more important. Blockchain uses several data structures in conjunction with cryptography to build scalable and immutable records. Further, you will use merkle trees, petrecia trees, other data structures frequently while working with blockchain. Blockchain engineers including core developers and software developers are expected to have hands-on knowledge of data structures and algorithms.
Cryptography – SHA256, KECCAK256, and asynchronous cryptography is used to develop digital signatures, which help in identification. Without understanding how these cryptography algorithms work, it is nearly impossible to work effectively on blockchain development.
Web development – Blockchain development uses a plethora of web-based services and APIs. The fundamentals of APIs, user-experience design, request handling, among other concepts is important to blockchain development. Most blockchain developers start as front-end or backend developers.
Smart Contract – Increasingly smart contracts have become an integral part of blockchain. This is because implementing business logic is easier with smart contracts. Therefore, upcoming blockchain technologies are necessarily incorporating smart contract functionalities.
Now that you know what’s needed to be a blockchain developer, go ahead and get started learning.