Curious How to Learn Blockchain Development? Start Here.
There’s no denying the presence of blockchain around us; from tracking food through the supply chain to securing patient data in hospital systems, the revolutionary technology is taking hold in almost every industry. Some have likened it to the invention and evolution of the internet, both in terms of its explosive growth and endless use cases.
As blockchain becomes increasingly popular, its value is increasing as well. ABI Research predicts that revenue from blockchain will reach $10.6 billion by 2023.2 The job outlook for blockchain developers is equally promising: the median salary is $109,766 and has a projected 22% growth rate between 2020 and 2030.3,4 With soaring hiring rates and impressive job stability, there’s never been a better time to begin training in this field.
Before we detail the paths, you can take for how to learn blockchain development, we first need to revisit the basics of blockchain technology
What is Blockchain?
As its name implies, blockchain is a shared, digital record of transactions and assets stored in groups called “blocks.” These blocks are then linked together through a network of hundreds of computers that host and protect the data that’s stored on them. Anytime something is added, removed, or traded on a network, the blockchain transcribes it using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). DLT is completely unchangeable (or immutable) yet entirely accessible by all network members.1 Virtually anything of value can be tracked on a blockchain.
It’s likely that you’ve heard about blockchain and Bitcoin before, perhaps even used interchangeably by those who are unaware of the differences between the two. To be sure, blockchain is vital to the booming cryptocurrency market and is a key reason why many people seek out how to learn blockchain development. This is because every cryptocurrency is built on the DLT mentioned above, and blockchain is the most popular form of it.
Blockchain is as complex as it is exciting. Compared to other digital transcription services, blockchain has some unique features that have propelled its meteoric rise and indisputable value. Here are some of the fundamental characteristics that make this technology so elaborate and exciting:
- Decentralized: Unlike a company server or a private hard drive, blockchain isn’t stored in one place. Rather, it’s stored across many computers, called nodes. The nodes aren’t owned by any major corporations (e.g., Google or Microsoft), so no single entity has control over the information stored on them. To upload, transfer, or share data, blockchain developers communicate directly with each other in a peer-to-peer network.
- Transparent: No one, not even a network owner, can change or hide a transaction after it’s been recorded on the shared blockchain ledger. All members have the same view of the blockchain and can see all the details of a transaction from beginning to end.
- Consensus driven: Before any new information can be added to a blockchain, all of the nodes act as a sort of “judges’ panel” to decide whether it’s valid or not. If more than half of the nodes accept, the new data passes through. In this way, the nodes act as a defense against fraud and corruption.
- Permanent: Once information passes through the nodes and is added, it can’t be altered in any way or removed. The rigorous encryption process for blockchain makes it nearly impossible to alter or hack.
Prerequisites for Learning Blockchain
Similar to learning basic math before moving on to calculus, there are some foundational concepts and skills you need to know before you can dive deeper into learning blockchain development.
To understand blockchain and all of its nuances, any software or blockchain developer will need to be proficient in at least a few programming languages. The most popular languages for blockchain are C++, Python, and Java, but you might hear a bit about R and Vyper as well.5
One language that stands out from the others but is just as important to learn is Solidity. Solidity is the proprietary language for the blockchain development platform Ethereum, which is used to write smart contracts in order to build decentralized applications (or dApps). Ethereum is one of most popular platforms today (alongside NEO), so learning Solidity is highly beneficial for a prospective developer. Luckily, Solidity is similar to C++ and Java, so those who are familiar with those languages will find it relatively easy to learn and deploy. As a high-level coding language, Solidity can be read and used by human beings, unlike the low-level coding languages that we’ll describe below.1
It’s vital to understand smart contracts on your path to learn blockchain development since they’re such an integral part of blockchain systems and processes. Similar to how exchanges occur in the real world, every transaction on a blockchain has a set of “rules” to which they must adhere. These rules or guidelines are laid out in smart contracts on the blockchain, and they automatically decide whether or not a transaction can be completed.6
For example, if a smart contract states that a seller cannot be paid until the asset (physical or intangible) is in the buyer’s possession, then the transaction won’t go through until the asset’s arrival is recorded on the blockchain ledger. If the seller decides not to send the asset at all, then the smart contract will void the transaction.
Decentralized Applications (dApps)
As previously mentioned, you can use a blockchain to build dApps, or computer programs that interact with and rely on the blockchain. There’s enormous potential in dApps because anybody can create a fully functional, decentralized dApp anytime that they want.7 Since the dApps run on smart contracts, they also require very little supervision or maintenance and don’t only benefit one corporation in the way that a regular app, like Uber, would.
High and Low-Level Coding Languages
On paper, the difference between high and low-level languages is extremely obvious; high-level languages can be read by programmers and contain recognizable words, while low-level languages are made up of binary, or a series of 1s and 0s, and require an assembler.8 There are further details that distinguish the two, but it’s important to be aware of both and know their role in building dApps, writing smart contracts, and generally navigating blockchain development.
The Best Ways to Learn Blockchain Development
If you didn’t major in IT, computing, or a similar degree, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to learn blockchain technology in other ways. Thankfully, there are a lot of affordable and accessible options for beginning or continuing your education.
- Conduct Independent Research
Beginning your introduction to blockchain development is as easy as opening your computer. Renowned companies like IBM, Microsoft or Amazon usually post articles or guides on their websites, and there are hundreds of blogs, forums, or social media groups dedicated to the topic. From blockchain basics to complex strategies, you’re bound to find a resource that answers your initial questions.
2. Take Online Courses
Because of its growing popularity, there are a lot of opportunities to learn blockchain development outside of the classroom. Some universities will offer bootcamps or certificates through one of their degree programs, but you may have to travel to the campus or adhere to their class times. Choosing an online course, like the ones from EmergingEd, will ensure that your learning doesn’t interfere with your current schedule. This way, you can build the skills that will propel your career without having to stall or abandon it.
3. Stay in the Know
The more exposure you have to blockchain terminology, best practices and current events, the more you’ll consciously and subconsciously soak up the knowledge that the field demands. Subscribe to newsletters (e.g., 101 Blockchains or Off the Chain), play industry games (e.g., Space Doggos, CryptoZombies, and Crypto Kitties), visit community forums (e.g., Reddit threads), listen to podcasts (e.g., Blockchain Insider, The Blockchain Show, and Life in the Fast Chain), and actively seek out others who are interested or knowledgable in the subject.9
Find Your Future in Blockchain
For as detailed and complex as the blockchain and cryptocurrency market can be, finding a resource to build those skills is simple: start with EmergingEd. With 100% online technology courses that you can complete whenever and wherever you prefer, you can take the first steps toward becoming a skilled blockchain developer with endless potential.
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from bitdegree.org/tutorials/how-to-become-a-blockchain-developer/
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from abiresearch.com/press/spurred-digital-transformation-and-smart-technologies-blockchain-revenues-hit-us106-billion-2023/
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from glassdoor.com/Career/Blockchain-Developer-career_KO0,20.htm
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from geeksforgeeks.org/top-10-programming-languages-for-blockchain-development/
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from ibm.com/topics/what-is-blockchain
- Retrieved on February 8, 2022, from ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/dapps/
- Retrieved on February 8, 2022, from geeksforgeeks.org/difference-between-high-level-and-low-level-languages/
- Retrieved on February 7, 2022, from blog.feedspot.com/blockchain_podcasts/